Unaka, HV garner bevy of accoladeson annual squads

from staff reports

   With a crop of young talent returning for their 2003 season, Coach Mike Ensor knew the Unaka Ranger baseball team could have a special season.
   Led by solid young pitchers and crafty mechanics, the Rangers battled their way to the state tournament, leading Ensor to recognition as the annual All-Carter/Johnson Baseball Coach of the Year.
   One of Ensor's coaching counterparts at Unaka, Ronnie Hicks, took a young squad to the state sectionals -- a feat not many thought was possible -- giving him another Coach of the Year award in softball.
   Happy Valley softball coach and last year's Coach of the Year, Karri Killen, came in a close second after guiding the Lady Warriors back to the sectionals.
   There were many successful players in Carter County this past season, but on the baseball diamond, few were as accurate as Unaka's Rusty Chambers.
   The junior second baseman earns his first All-Carter/Johnson MVP award after hitting well over .400 during his season, also earning a spot on the TSSAA all-state squad.
   Joining Chambers on the team as the Most Promising Underclassman is Happy Valley's freshman ace, Todd Caldwell. Caldwell posted big numbers on the mound and with the bat during his first campaign with the Warriors.
   Sharing the MVP award on the softball squad were Happy Valley's dynamite pitching duo Alicia Dick and Kortney Goulds.
   Both Dick and Goulds hit over .300 and pitched perfect games with winning records on the mound during their junior season
   The Most Promising Underclassman slot on the team could've gone to many players, but one swing stood out: Unaka's Julie Roberson. The sophomore was a power hitter for the Lady Rangers and a key reason in their post-season success.
   On the baseball squad's first team: Milligan signee and former county MVP Cody Cannon took the catcher's position, while Elizabethton's B.J. Miller (1B) and Travis Bowers (3B), Unaka's Chad Lewis (2B) and Hampton's Joss Moss (SS) wound out the infield.
   The squad's outfielders were stars in three sports, particularly in baseball as Warrior Lamar Rollins, Bulldog Kevin Harrison and Cloudland Highlander Mark Byrd field the slots.
   On the mound are Unaka's Randy Swearingen and Tee Blevins, Cyclone Joseph Vines, Happy Valley's Ryan Toney and Johnson County Longhorn Jon Arnold.
   Unaka's Thomas Guess serves as the team's designated hitter, while Warrior Cody Whitlock serves as the utility man.
   Lady Warrior leader Mandy Byrd heads up the softball squad as catcher, with teammate Leanna Howell at third base. Lady Longhorn Andrea McQueen (1B), Lady Bulldog Nicole Huggins (2B) and Lady Cyclone Michelle Collins (SS) wound out the first five.
   In the outfield for the ladies are Elizabethton's Sarah Smith and Katie Hubbard, as well as Unaka's Medora Carrier.
   Unaka's Danielle Williams heads the pitching staff, while Johnson County's Laura Peters, Elizabethton's Kristie Keys and Lady Ranger Kristi Moffitt fill out the rotation.
   Happy Valley's Kate Powell earns a slot at designated player, while Unaka's Jessica Moffitt takes the utility slot.
   Making the second-team baseball squad are Unaka's Chris Arnold (1B), Elizabethton's Zach Stipe (P), Happy Valley's Britton Brummitt (P), Hampton's Adam Miller (3B), Johnson County's Michael Reid (2B) and Cloudland's Mark Barnett (C).
   The second softball team features Lady Longhorn Rebecca Boney (OF/C), Cloudland Lady 'Lander and A.F. Bridges Scholarship Winner Ashley Timbs (OF) and Hampton's Heather Chambers (P/SS).