The delivery

Matthew Habich pitches in the 2018 Will Dicus Memorial Baseball Tournament. The 2019 tournament starts June 15-16.

BOONE — It’s almost time for the Will Dicus Memorial Baseball Tournament to start. Organizers of the event have looked for volunteers, umpires and baseball teams in anticipation of the tournament, which goes for two days June 15-16 and again June 22-23.

The 12-under games will be played at the Watauga Parks and Recreation Complex fields and the 15-under bracket will be played at Watauga High School June 15-16.

“You’re never ready,” co-tournament Director Bill Dicus said. “The nice thing about the calendar is it just moves right along, ready or not. One thing is come Saturday, we’re going to play baseball whether we’re ready to play or not.”

Heavy rain has fallen in the area, but that’s not high on Dicus’ concerns list. Having enough umpires and volunteers available to allow the tournament run smoothly is more important to him.

“I prefer to worry about stuff that I can control and make it as good as I can, but I can’t really do much about (the weather),” Dicus said. “We want it to be nice. We’ve had a real good track record about getting games in, but if you play outdoor sports in the summer time you get some rain.”

A total of six teams, two from Watauga County, are scheduled to play in the 12-under division. Watauga Blue opens the tournament with a game against the Ashe Aces at 8:30 a.m. on June 15. The Watauga White plays the Caldwell County All-Stars at 10:15.

All of the 12-under games will be played at Complex 3 Field.

The 15-under bracket, which will be played at Watauga High School, begins at 8:30 a.m. on June 15 when the Watauga All-Stars plays Equip, which is from Watauga. Watauga also plays the Diamond Elite at 12:30 p.m. and Equip plays the Elite Baseball team.

Pro soccer

BOONE – Professional soccer is coming to the High Country.

The inaugural Ted Mackorell Soccer Classic takes place at 5:30 p.m., July 9, pitting the Tri-Cities Otters (Johnson City, Tenn) against Tobacco Road FC (Durham).

The match will take place at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex in Boone and is organized through the Boone Area Sports Commission.

The Tri-Cities Otters and Tobacco Road FC each compete in the USL League Two South Atlantic Division. USL League Two is the leader in pre-professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada. The League holds a vital role as it continues to provide the elite platform for those pursuing professional careers domestically and internationally.

“We are excited to bring this type of showcase for the sport of soccer to the High Country,” Roachel Laney, executive director of the Boone Area Sports Commission said in a statement. “We’ve been working with a local soccer council that includes representatives from High Country Soccer Association, Watauga County Parks and Recreation, Watauga High School and Appalachian State to enhance the visibility of soccer in our area. In one of our first meetings, the idea of hosting a professional game was discussed.”

Pro baseball

TIGERSVILLE, S.C. — Former Watauga baseball standout Utah Jones was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft June 6.

Jones, who transferred to North Greenville College, hit .403 with the Crusaders and was a Division II Postseason All-American.

“I have no words to describe this feeling right now,” Jones tweeted. “Been dreaming about this moment my whole life. Incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”

Jones is the second in his family to be drafted by a major league team. His brother, Ryder, was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by the San Francisco Giants. Ryder Jones reached the major leagues in 2017.

Jones’ father, Billy Jones, was the head coach of the Appalachian State baseball team from 2013-16.

Prep football

MARION — The McDowell Board of Education hired former Avery football coach Darrell Brewer to be the McDowell High School new head football coach.

The McDowell News reported that Brewer takes over for Andy Morgan, who resigned after posting a three-year record of 11-24.

Brewer takes over a program that has struggled in recent times. The Titans have an overall record of 44-124 since the 2006 season. McDowell’s last winning season was 2012 when the Titans finished 8-4, which was an improvement after they hit a low point in 2010 with a 0-11 mark.

App State volleyball

NEW ORLEANS — The Sun Belt Conference announced June 7 that Appalachian State would host the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship Tournament.

The tournament will be held in the Holmes Center where the Mountaineers play their home matches.

“We wanted to host the 2019 but Texas State got that one,” App State coach Matt Ginipro said. “When the bidding process came out again, I asked (Appalachian State Athletic Director) Doug (Gillin) if we could put in another bid to host in 2020, so we’re pretty fired up that we got it.”

Ginipro found out about hosting the tournament June 4 and told the players, who he said were excited about the news.

“It’s good,” Ginipro said. “Any time you get to host a championship, it’s a huge advantage. We have to make sure we take full advantage of it.”

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