The softball teams from Friendship Christian and The King’s Academy will play at Starplex in the DII-A winners bracket finals at 10 a.m. Thursday.
To say the squads know each other very well would be an understatement.
FCS and TKA battled seven times last year, including three times in the state tournament. A two-game sweep by Friendship in the state title games came after The King’s Academy had come out of the winners bracket, knocking off FCS in the process.
This season the two teams have played five times, with The King’s Academy having won three thus far.
Last chance: Despite making four previous Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association state championship game appearances, Franklin Road Academy senior Kenny Cooper has never won a state title.
Thanks to the Panthers’ 9-1 Division II-A state baseball tournament win over Davidson Academy on Wednesday, the senior two-sport standout has earned one last shot at a gold ball.
In what has become an impressive high school career, Cooper, a Lipscomb basketball signee, has helped guide FRA to a pair of runner-up finishes in both baseball (2015, 2013) and basketball (2015, 2014).
Objection: Montgomery Bell Academy advanced to Thursday’s Division II-AA soccer state title match against Christian Brothers with a 1-0 win over McCallie on Wednesday, but not all was well on the Big Red sideline.
MBA coach Giles Cheevers said after the game that while he was happy to be moving on to the state championship game, he expressed his concern and objections to playing the semifinal and final matches less than 24 hours apart.
“I still don’t understand how you expect young kids to play a semifinal and a final within 20 hours,” Cheevers said. “It needs to change because I think the standard of the game and what we’re looking for, I really feel it’s supposed to be a showcase, and instead you’re going to have 22 exhausted kids on the field.”
Record-setting game: Wednesday evening’s Division II-Class AA State Tournament game between Pope John Paul II High and St. Benedict tied a state-tournament record for most runs in a single game. The record was previously set in 1988, when Memphis Skyview claimed an 18-13 win over Richland.
Pope John Paul II High senior Alley McDonald — a Southeastern Louisiana University signee — hit for the cycle, including a three-run home run and a two-run triple in St. Benedict’s 17-14 victory.
Cecil Joyce, Michael Murphy, Craig Harris and Sam Brown contributed to this report.