Tuesday will be a big day in the Tri-Eastern Conference — in various sports.
Once again, when Northeastern and Centerville’s tennis teams meet, the TEC lead will be on the line.
For Hagerstown baseball, a visit from Centerville has become an almost must-win in order to keep the Tigers’ hopes of a third straight TEC title alive.
And in Liberty, Union County softball hosts Lincoln in a battle of TEC unbeatens with the top spot at stake.
Centerville and Northeastern are both 6-0 in the girls tennis TEC race, while both have just one loss, and both came to a state-ranked opponent.
Northeastern is 12-1 overall with the lone loss coming at the hands of Delta, currently ranked No. 13 by the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association. Centerville is 11-1 with the loss coming to IHSTeCA No. 26 Richmond.
“We’re excited about Tuesday with a chance to play for the conference title,” Northeastern coach Mike Esposito said. “It seems to be a commonplace, whether it’s boys or girls, it’s us and Centerville and it’s a credit to Centerville to always be there and a credit to our girls, too. We find a way to win.”
The two teams have shared the overall title for two straight years, while Centerville has a claim to four straight titles, including the outright title in 2010 and 2011.
The Knights have won the TEC tournament two straight years and Centerville has gone 7-0 in regular-season duals.
Hagerstown and Centerville’s baseball teams have just one loss each in TEC play — both of which came to Northeastern.
“That’s a big one,” Hagerstown coach Brad Catey said following last Tuesday’s loss to the Knights. “Just like (against Northeastern), they’re coming over here and they’re going to want to give us everything they have. They’re going to come play a good game, they’ve got (Eli) Callahan, they’ve got (Sam) Shaw, a set of good pitchers so we’ve got to be able to put some runs on the board.”
Northeastern edged Centerville 4-2 in eight innings last month and handed Hagerstown its first TEC defeat since 2012, 4-0, last Tuesday.
Northeastern lost to Union County, which lost to Hagerstown. The Knights, Tigers and Patriots have a three-way tie for first atop the conference.
The last time the TEC baseball title was shared was in 2004, when Centerville, Lincoln and Union County finished in a three-way tie.
Hagerstown, Northeastern and Union County tied for the title in 2003.
As far as softball goes, just one TEC title has not had Union County’s name on it, and that came in 2011, when Northeastern went 7-0.
The Patriots shared the inaugural 2005 crown with Lincoln and the two teams tied for the top spot again in 2012.
Union County won it outright every other year, and both teams enter Tuesday’s tilt in Liberty undefeated.
Lincoln has defeated Union County two straight years in TEC play.
“You don’t want to get caught looking past anyone, but we feel that if we were to win that game, we’re dictating what happens with us,” Lincoln coach Scott Griffin said. “We’re not waiting on anybody to get beat or hoping things happen to somebody else, our approach is to dictate.”