District 6-AA opponents Central and Hixson have already gotten their regular season home-and-home meeting put behind them. And to meet again this weekend in the Wildcat Classic, each would have to emerge from its four-game round-robin to play in Sunday's championship game.
In fact, Hixson (0-2) and Central (2-0) are sharing hosting duties for three of the tournament's four days, beginning Thursday at 6 with a trio of first-round pool meetings. A third field at Ooltewah will be employed for games Thursday and Friday as well, but day-long play Saturday will be split between the Wildcats and Purple Pounders home fields.
Both Central coach Glen Carter and new Hixson head coach Shane Roberson question whether their teams have what it takes to get to the finals because of the dandy field. On top of other 6-AA rivals who just held their district regular season home-and-home, East Ridge (0-2) and East Hamilton (2-0); 7-AA's Signal Mountain (0-0), local Class AAA schools Ooltewah (2-0) and Bradley Central (2-0), there are two out-of-town teams with gaudy credentials.
Tullahoma (2-0) right-hander Jordan Sheffield is ranked the nation's No. 7 prep prospect for the upcoming 2013 June Amateur draft by Baseball America. Jordan is also committed to Vanderbilt, but his younger brother, Justis, throws from the left side and figures as a top draft pick in 2014. But an even bigger wild card is GCB (the Gwinnett Christian Barons), a team of home schooled athletes that is playing a 40-game schedule this spring.
GCB most recently won the Home School World Series in 2010.
Signal Mtn. at Hixson, 6
East RIdge at Central, 6
East Hamilton at Ooltewah, 6
Signal Mtn. vs. GCB at Hixson, 4
GCB at Hixson, 6:45
Bradley Central at Central, 4:30
East Hamilton vs. Bradley Central at Central, 7:15
Tullahoma vs. East Hamilton at Ooltewah, 4
Tullahoma at Ooltewah, 6:45
Tullahoma at Hixson, 10 a.m.
East Hamilton vs. East Ridge at Central, 10 a.m.
Bradley Central at Hixson, 12:45
East Hamilton vs. GCB at Central, 12:45
Bradley Central vs. Tullahoma at Hixson, 3
Ooltewah vs. Signal Mtn. at Central, 3
GCB vs. East Ridge at Hixson, 5:45
Ooltewah at Central, 5:45
GCB vs. Tullahoma at Hixson, 8
Pool A winner vs. Pool B winner at Hixson, 2