PREP SOFTBALL | One step from state: Tennessee High hosts Gibbs Saturday with trip to Murfreesboro for the winner

PREP SOFTBALL | One step from state: Tennessee High hosts Gibbs Saturday with trip to Murfreesboro for the winner

Up until three years ago, Tennessee High’s softball program had never won a regional tournament game.

On Thursday night the Vikings won their second regional championship in three years as the gals from Bristol are building a burgeoning juggernaut.

Saturday at 2 p.m., THS hosts the Gibbs Eagles from Corryton, Tennessee, in a TSSAA Class AAA sectional round (most commonly referred to as the sub-state) and it is the fourth straight spring in which the Vikings have reached this point of being among the state’s final 16 teams still standing.

Oh yeah, Tennessee Middle School placed third in the state tournament earlier this week. 

“I am very proud of where the program is and the direction it is headed in,” said second-year Tennessee High head coach David Boggs, who was a longtime assistant coach before taking over at the helm. “There is a lot of pride in the players and coaches at both the middle school level and the high school level. The future for Viking Softball is looking bright.”

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While Tennessee High (24-4) is new to statewide softball success, Gibbs is not.

The Eagles (26-13) have won 10 state championships with the last coming in 2017. Gibbs dropped a 5-1 decision to Carter in the Region 2-AAA title game.

“Gibbs is a perennial powerhouse,” Boggs said. “I have a lot of respect for that program. I think it will be a great ballgame between two very good teams.”

This also marks the third consecutive season in which the Vikings and Eagles have met in the postseason.

Gibbs defeated Tennessee High in the opening round of the 2022 state tournament and then earned a 4-0 victory over the visiting Vikings in a sectional game last season.

THS managed just one hit in that contest last May.

“I remember that we could have won,” said Tennessee High first baseman Maddi Hall. “We, as a team, weren’t playing our best. We didn’t hit the ball like we can. I know we are excited to prove ourselves again this year. Looking forward to a rematch.”

Of course, Tennessee High has a different look than it did a season ago.

Ace pitcher Carly Compton transferred from Tazewell, where she starred as the Bulldogs won the 2023 VHSL Class 2 state championship.

Crossing state lines hasn’t stopped her dominance.

The right-hander who has committed to the University of North Carolina, has a 21-1 record with a 0.88 ERA.

Oh yeah, she’s also hitting .478 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs.

The transition associated with her arrival has been seamless.

“How easy it was for all of us to click,” Hall said. “It’s like we have known her forever. We share the same goals as Carly and we are truly a big family.”

Freshman Addie Wilhoit has also impressed with both her bat and fielding ability at shortstop. She has 12 homers and 40 RBIs.

There are also mainstays like Abby Haga, Katy Granger, Kaylie Hughes, Lily Ware, Macie Strouth, Mazzy Wilson and Addison Glover who have all had key hits at some point this spring.

“I think the key to that success is fundamentals and consistency,” Boggs said. “All of the players and coaches hold themselves to a higher standard.”

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