Lady Jackets squeeze out district win over Monterey

Trousdale County’s Lady Jackets faced a big test in district play on April 16 but passed with flying colors in a 3-1 home victory over Monterey.

“It was a must-win game for us,” said coach Blake Satterfield. “We are undefeated in district play at home with a 6-0 record. Our girls take pride in playing on the Creekbank.”

The Lady Jackets racked up 10 hits to just five for Monterey.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County second baseman Kinley Brown takes a tumble after making a catch against Monterey.

Sophomores Kinley Brown and Faith Winter each had two hits while classmates Hannah Hailey, Kirsten Eversole, Rebecca Chapman and Sidney Gregory each had hits. Senior Camyron Hurd and freshman Elyssa Chapman had hits as well.

Hailey was the winning pitcher as she recorded 10 strikeouts.

“Being 6-1 in the district halfway through our district schedule is a big accomplishment for TCHS softball in 2019, especially with all the players that we have had out,” Satterfield added.

On April 15, the Lady Jackets stepped out of district play and brought in a solid Class AAA opponent in Station Camp. Satterfield took the opportunity to get some experience for some players in different positions and the Lady Jackets lost 16-0.

Rebecca Chapman and Eversole had the lone hits for the Lady Jackets.

Scheduled games Friday with Clarkrange and Saturday with Friendship Christian were casualties of the wet weather last week.

The Lady Jackets are scheduled to host district-leading Gordonsville on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Trousdale County lost 6-3 at Gordonsville earlier this season on a walk-off home run.

Jackets baseball extends district winning streak to four

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets won two district baseball games last week, giving them four wins in a row and keeping them at the top of the standings.

The Jackets thumped Jackson County 20-1 on April 15, scoring 20 unanswered runs to post their third consecutive victory over the Blue Devils.

Leading 12-1 entering the bottom of the fourth inning, the Jackets put up eight more runs on the scoreboard to send the Blue Devils home after five innings.

Junior Chandler Barton enjoyed his best game of the season, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Senior Houston Stafford, junior Ben Chumley, junior Kobe Pridemore and sophomore Taylor Ellis each added one hit.

Ellis also picked up the win on the mound, striking out six batters while allowing just two hits and one walk.

On April 18, the Jackets made the long drive to Pickett County and returned home with a 15-2 victory.

Trousdale County ran out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, then added four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to end the contest early.

Trousdale pounded out 14 hits in claiming its fourth consecutive win over the Bobcats.

Stafford was 4-for-4 at the plate, while sophomore Robert Butcher had three hits. Chumley and sophomore Eli Henderson each had a pair of hits, while sophomore Cameron Rankins blasted his first career home run. Ellis and junior Will Holder had the other two hits for the Jackets.

Henderson earned the win on the mound, striking out 13 batters along the way.

Trousdale County (10-12, 7-1 6-A) was to host Senior Night on Tuesday against Monterey, then will have three road games to close the regular season. The Jackets will play at Macon County on Friday, at Westmoreland on Saturday and at Smith County on Monday.

Larry Woody: Meet the mussels man

Mt. Juliet’s Jason Wisniewski, who recently joined the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency along with wife Jenifer, is noted for his mussels.

He’s not a bodybuilder. He’s a malacologist – a biologist who specializes in the study and management of freshwater mollusks, commonly known in Tennessee as mussels.

“Lots of people don’t realize they are one of our most imperiled species,” says Wisniewski, who works at the TWRA’s aquatic species hatchery at the Cumberland River Aquatic Center in Gallatin.

Why do mussels matter?

Submitted photo
TWRA biologist Jason Wisniewski checks a stream for mussles.

“They filter impurities from the water and are good ecological ‘early warning systems’ because they are so sensitive to pollutants,” Wisniewski says. “However, by the time we discover a pollutant is adversely impacting mussels, it’s probably too late to prevent the damage in that particular water.”

He adds: “It’s possible mussels have uses we haven’t discovered yet. That’s part of our research. But we never want to lose any species. We have to assume it has some purpose and function.”

Mussels have long been an important part of life in the Southeast.

They provided food, tools and ornaments for Native Americans. The oyster-like mussel was eaten, and the sharp shell was used for cutting and scraping. The iridescent shell was also fashioned into pendants, beads and earrings.

More modernly, mussels are harvested by divers for sale to the button industry, including foreign markets. Mussels are commercially farmed to produce freshwater pearls. One such farm is located at Birdsong Marina on Kentucky Lake.

Wisniewski earlier this year joined the TWRA with his wife, who serves as the Agency’s Chief of Communications and Outreach. They settled in Mt. Juliet because of the quality of life and split proximity to their new jobs – Jenifer’s at TWRA headquarters in Nashville and Jason’s at the TWRA’s Aquatic Center in Gallatin.

Both previously held similar positions with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Wisniewski, a native of Pennsylvania, moved to Tennessee in 2001 to attend Tennessee Tech, where he earned a Master’s degree. He joined the Georgia DNR and quickly gained a reputation as an authority in his field, authoring 15 technical papers, assisting with a Supreme Court lawsuit, and most recently spending time at the Smithsonian to assist a mollusk research project.

Wisniewski says he “stumbled into” his mollusk career.

“I was interested in fisheries management, and the only openings at the time were in mollusk studies,” he says. “I took what was available, and the more I got into it, the more fascinating it became.”

The Aquatic Center was built decades ago by TVA, and in 2006 the TWRA opened an aquatic species hatchery program. Today the TWRA manages and operates the Center in partnership with TVA, Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“It’s a great facility and we’re fortunate to have it,” Wisniewski says.

During his free time Wisniewski likes to hunt, fish and trap. He is a member of the Fur Takers of America Grant Committee. He was a licensed “nuisance trapper” in Georgia and plans to eventually resume trapping nuisance animals here, in addition to his TWRA duties.

Lady Jackets walk away with victory over Red Boiling Springs

Hannah Hailey belted a three-run, walk-off home run with two outs on April 9 to lift the Trousdale County Lady Jackets to an 11-8 win over Red Boiling Springs in Hartsville.

The finish was dramatic and the outcome even more so as the Lady Jackets were trying to stay toward the top of the District 6-A standings.

Amanda Carman / Trousdale County Schools
Teammates greet Trousdale County’s Hannah Hailey (6) at home plate after the first of her two home runs against RBS. The second was a walk-off winner in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“It was the biggest win I have been a part of in high school softball since I have been coaching,” said TCHS coach Blake Satterfield. “After coming off a tough district loss the previous week and to turn right back around and go seven innings and pull through really shows how far these girls have come.

“Last year we wouldn’t have showed that mental toughness. We are still young and still have some people out, but finding ways to win is the name of the game. I’m so proud of this group of young women.”

In addition to the winning homer Hailey, a sophomore, also went yard in the first inning, singled in the second and doubled in the fourth. She had three RBIs and scored three runs in addition to being the winning pitcher with nine strikeouts.

Sophomores Makayla Crook and Faith Winter each added two hits while senior Camyron Hurd and sophomore Kirsten Eversole had the other hits for TCHS.

Red Boiling Springs got a grand slam plus 10 strikeouts on the mound from senior Allison Deckard, a Motlow State signee.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak to RBS for the Lady Jackets and improved their record to 6-2, 5-1 in district.

Trousdale County is scheduled to travel to Clarkrange on Friday for a doubleheader, then will host Friendship on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Yellow Jackets sweep doubleheader with Red Boiling Springs

Trousdale County hosted a baseball doubleheader on April 9 against Red Boiling Springs and the Yellow Jackets flexed their muscles with two decisive district victories.

Amanda Carman / Trousdale County Schools
Trousdale County coach Travis Humes talks with his infield during the doubleheader with RBS.

In the opener, the Jackets won 11-0 in five innings after scoring three runs in the first, four in the second, three in the third and one in the fifth to take down the Bulldogs.

Junior Kobe Pridemore went 3-for-4 at the plate while classmate Ben Chumley had two hits, including his first home run of the season. Senior Houston Stafford and sophomore Eli Henderson each had two hits while the Jackets also got hits from junior Will Holder, sophomore Taylor Ellis, sophomore Robert Butcher and sophomore Cameron Rankins.

Ellis also got the win on the mound, going four innings and recording six strikeouts.

In the nightcap, Pridemore hit his first career home run and picked up the win on the mound as the Jackets won 10-0. Pridemore and Butcher each had two hits as the Jackets extended their winning streak over the Bulldogs to 21 games.

Stafford, Chumley, Rankins and senior Keyvont Baines had one hit each as the Jackets raised their district record to 5-1.

Trousdale County is scheduled to travel to Pickett County on Thursday and will host District 6-A leader Monterey on Tuesday for Senior Night.

Larry Woody: Lebanon man reports on fishing in area lakes

Submitted photo
Lebanon’s Joey Mallicoat writes a fishing report for Mid-South Hunting and Fishing News, which hopes to expand circulation in Middle Tennessee.

Mid-South Hunting and Fishing News magazine hopes to expand its presence in Middle Tennessee with increased coverage, including monthly fishing reports by Lebanon’s Joey Mallicoat.

Mallicoat currently reports on fishing in Percy Priest and Old Hickory lakes.

The magazine has a strong presence in West Tennessee and neighboring states, and hopes to include more Midstate news and features.

A one-year, 12-issue subscription costs $12. Subscriptions can be made online at mshfn.com or by calling 731-772-9962.

Youth hunt: Area wildlife officers recently guided youngsters from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Muddy Bayou Archery Team on turkey hunts in Trousdale and Sumner counties.

Anglers weigh in: Tennessee fishermen are invited to submit comments and suggestions about the state’s fishing regulations to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. They will be taken into consideration when regulations are drawn up for 2020-22 seasons.

Comments can be emailed to FishingReg.Comments@tn.gov. They also can be mailed to:

Fisheries Division,

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

P.O. Box 40474

Nashville, TN 37204

The deadline for submissions is April 23. The TWRA will pass along the comments, along with other input for the Agency, to the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission which establishes the regulations.

Outdoors women: The annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop is set for May 31-June 2 in Crossville.

Participants will receive instruction in firearms safety, fishing skills, archery, outdoor cooking, photography, canoeing, turkey hunting and numerous outdoor activities.

The workshop is organized by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The fee is $225, including meals, lodging and a hunting/fishing license.

For registrations or other information contact Don Hosse at don.hosse@tn.gov or 615-781-6541.

Elk cam: A TWRA “elk cam” provides 24-hour viewing of herds on the North Cumberland and Sundquist Wildlife Management Areas. The elk cam can be accessed at tnwildlife.org.

Last-minute license: Turkey season is underway and runs through May 12, and anyone who failed to complete a mandatory hunter education class can still obtain a restricted license.

Details about the required licenses and other information is posted on tnwildlife.org and listed in the Tennessee Hunting & Trapping guide. There is also information about hunter education classes, including some online.

TWRA, CoreCivic team to sponsor youth turkey hunt

Area youth were able to get their first shot (no pun intended) at hunting Saturday morning thanks to a joint venture between state and local agencies.

Wildlife officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency brought 11 youth from Sumner and Trousdale counties to Hartsville to experience a morning turkey hunt on local farms.

Warden Russell Washburn of CoreCivic’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Center and Robby Atwood of Trousdale Comfort Heat & Air also helped organize the event and went with the kids, who all were hunting for the first time.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

“As wildlife officers, part of our job is outreach and education,” said Eric Anderson, TWRA wildlife officer for Sumner County. “We saw a need in this area for youth, to teach and give them opportunities to hunt.”

All the youth were members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or the Muddy Bayou archery team out of Gallatin, Anderson said. The group met at the Hartsville Community Center at 4:30 a.m. for breakfast and then went to various local farms with the permission of the landowners.

Five of the 11 youth hunters had the chance to shoot at a turkey and all participants spotted at least one. Anderson said the shot rate was impressive for a group of novice hunters.

“It was a teaching experience in this sport and hopefully they’ll grow from there,” Anderson said.

TWRA and CoreCivic wish to thank the landowners of Trousdale County who offered their properties for the youth hunt: Martha Dixon, Julie Chaffin, Tommy Thompson, Lewis Beasley, Blake, Jason and Stanley Holder.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Yellow Jackets snap six-game Gordonsville skid

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets came up with a key district win last week when they went to South Carthage and took down the Gordonsville Tigers 12-7 on April 1.

The Jackets trailed 1-0 after the first inning but scored four runs in each of the next three to take control of the game and snap a six-game losing streak to the Tigers.

The Jackets pounded out 10 hits led by a 3-for-4 effort from sophomore Eli Henderson, who also had two RBIs and scored a run. Classmate Robert Butcher went 2-for-2 and Trousdale also had hits from senior Houston Stafford, senior Keyvont Baines, junior Kobe Pridemore, junior Will Holder and sophomore Cameron Rankins.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Robert Butcher (34) tags out an Antioch runner attempting to swipe third base.

Sophomore pitcher Taylor Ellis went six inning to earn the victory.

The next day, the two teams met in Hartsville but the Jackets lost 4-0. Gordonsville senior Hunter Mann, an MTSU signee, went the distance and recorded 10 strikeouts.

Henderson, Stafford and Baines had the only hits for the Jackets.

On Thursday, the Jackets hosted Antioch but fell 13-5. Trousdale had 10 hits but committed seven costly errors.

Pridemore had three hits for Trousdale County while Henderson and senior Dyson Satterfield each had a pair of hits. Stafford, Ellis and senior Stetson White each had one hit.

Trousdale is scheduled to host Cannon County on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Jackson County at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Lady Jackets softball falls to Gordonsville

Trousdale County’s Lady Jackets played twice last week and split their games, with the loss coming in a key district matchup.

The Lady Jackets (5-2, 4-1 6-A) lost 6-3 at Gordonsville on April 4 after having early leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. In the bottom of the seventh, Gordonsville tied the game before hitting a three-run walkoff home run with two outs.

“We were in position to beat the 2018 district champions heading into the last inning with a lead, but just didn’t close it out,” said coach Blake Satterfield. “It’s a tough loss and one that’s hard to come back from.

“Very draining both mentally and physically. It’s game like these though that show you where you really are.”

Sophomore Kirsten Eversole had her best game since returning from injury as she went 2-for-3, including her first career home run. Classmate Makayla Crook added her first homer of the season, while sophomores Erin Hix and Hannah Hailey had the other two hits for the Lady Jackets.

The result leaves Trousdale County, Gordonsville, Red Boiling Springs and Monterey each with one district loss.

On April 2, sophomore Rebecca Chapman hit her first career home run and the Lady Jackets rallied from behind to win 18-6 over visiting Mt. Juliet Christian. The Lady Jackets trailed 4-1 in the third inning before the bats came to life.

Senior Camyron Hurd had three hits and scored three runs. Rebecca Capman had two hits as did freshman Elyssa Chapman, Eversole, Crook and sophomore Faith Winter. Hailey and Sierra Stafford also had hits for TCHS.

Hailey picked up the win on the mound, adding seven strikeouts to her season total.

The Lady Jackets are scheduled to host Monterey for Senior Night on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

TCHS basketball teams hold awards banquets

Photos by Amanda Carman & Heath Chasse / Trousdale County Schools

TCHS basketball coaches Jared Hawkins and Ryan Sleeper held their team banquets on April 3.

Lady Jackets coach Hawkins handed out the following awards: MVP – Shelby Jane Petty; Best Offensive – Chloe Donoho; Best Defensive – Josie Garrett; Horizon – Kailen Donoho; Hustle – Kinley Brown; Coach’s Award – Tori Simmons; Yellow Jacket Award – Morgan White; Most Dedicated – Claire Belcher.

Yellow Jackets coach Sleeper presented the following awards: MVP – Keyvont Baines; Best Offensive – Kobe Ford; Best Defensive – Tarvaris Claiborne and Hayden Clark; Hustle – Houston Stafford; Yellow Jacket Award – Brandon Ramsey; Most Dedicated – Cameron Rankins; Most Improved – Trent Pharris and Landon Carver; Horizon – Andrew Ford and Kane Burnley.

Larry Woody: Striper club feeds off success

Members of the Percy Priest Striper Club specialize in catching big stripers (rockfish) and hybrids in area waters, and they play a significant role in making sure there are plenty of fish to catch.

The club helps buy food for the fish that are raised at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Normandy and Springfield hatcheries, a contribution termed “huge” by TWRA fisheries biologist Todd St. John.

“The donations allow us to purchase the best food available,” says St. John, who attended the club’s recent tackle-sale fundraiser at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet. The club’s share of the proceeds go toward the annual purchase of some 2,000 pounds of high-protein fish food for the hatcheries.

Submitted photo
A local club provides food for stripers.

“This more expensive food (ground fish meal and vitamins) promotes a faster growth rate in the hatchery fish,” St. John says. “When they are released they have a higher survival rate and get a faster start on their natural growth.”

St. John says the Normandy and Springfield hatcheries use about 14,000 pounds of fish food per year. The Percy Priest Striper Club is the only organization that donates to the hatchery program.

In addition to raising stripers and hybrids, the TWRA’s various hatcheries also raise walleyes, black-nosed crappie and trout for release in area waters. Because of increasingly-heavy fishing pressure, natural reproduction alone could not sustain the species’ populations in most waters.

“Our hatchery programs are vital,” St. John says. “Without them, fishermen wouldn’t be able to enjoy the quality of fishing we have.”

“We’ve been donating to the TWRA for about 15 years,” says Striper Club vice president Joe James, who offers guided trips for the big fish on Percy Priest Lake and Old Hickory Lake.

“We have a vested interest in stripers and hybrids, but we also support hatchery programs for other species,” James says. “In addition to the fish-food program, we work with kids and others to promote interest in striper fishing.”

Club dues are $20 a year, and include a picnic and fish fry, in addition to other activities.

“We’re just a bunch of guys who like to fish, and want to get others involved in it,” says club member Tommy LaCroix.

The club holds nine tournaments a year from February through October on Priest, Old Hickory, Cordell Hull and Cheatham lakes.

James uses live bait to catch stripers, some of which tip the scales at 30 pounds. The club-record catch weighed 38 pounds.

James supplies the bait and the heavy tackle necessary for landing the hard-fighting fish.

For information about a guided trip, or about the Percy Priest Striper Club, contact James at 615-804-5140.

Hartsville’s Garrett Dies racing toward the top

Young Hartsville racer Garrett Dies says he has a “winning mind-set.”

But even when he doesn’t win, he tries to look on the bright side.

“I didn’t win a feature race last season, but I think it was still a successful year,” says Garrett, a 17-year-old Trousdale County High junior who wrapped up his first full season in Highland Rim Speedway’s tough Lake Model division.

“I won three heat races and had two top-three finishes and two top-fives, and I learned a lot,” he says. “From that standpoint it was a good year. We’ve got a lot of positives to build on going into this season.”

Garrett’s dad Roy, a retired racer, agrees.

Submitted photo
Hartsville’s Garrett Dies, with help from his dad Roy, is preparing for a new racing season.

“I was very pleased – and surprised – by how well he did,” says Roy, who competed at Highland Rim, Fairgrounds Speedway and Beech Bend, Ky., from 1987-2001. “Garrett did a great job in a new division. I thought it would take him longer to adjust, but he’s a fast learner.”

Reflecting on his own career: “I get a bigger kick out of watching Garrett race than I did when I was racing myself,” Roy says.

Garrett says his mom Ann shares the father/son enthusiasm, although “she gets kinda nervous when she watches me race.”

Garrett says one of the highlights of the season was being paid a compliment by Mark Day after a close finish. Day, a veteran driver from Clarksville, has arguably been Middle Tennessee’s top racer for the past two decades.

“Mark came over and congratulated he on how hard I raced him,” Garrett says. “Coming from a great driver like him, that was pretty special.”

The past season was also special because it marked a comeback for Garrett after he sat out most of the previous season with an injury. He broke a leg early in 2017 in an ATV accident.

“I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed racing until I had to sit out,” he says. “I couldn’t wait to get back on the track. I didn’t go to any races while I was out. I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a spectator.”

Garrett is so consumed by racing that he forgoes competing in other sports. Between going to school, working on his race car and holding down a job at a local grocery, he has little time for anything else.

“It keeps me pretty busy,” he says, “but I like it.”

“He’s a hard worker,” Roy says, “which is why I try to support him in every way I can. If he’s willing to work this hard, I want to help him. Right now we’re re-building the car and making some changes that I think will help us run better.”

Among the top competition Garrett will face at the Rim this season is young Lebanon racer Hunter Wright who last year captured championships in two divisions.

“Hunter is a great racer,” Garrett says. “He and drivers like Mark Day are tough to beat. That’s what makes it challenging.”

Garrett began racing Quarter-Midgets at age eight and advanced through the ranks to the Late Model division. He remains as enthusiastic as ever.

“I’ve always enjoyed racing, and I get more into it every year,” he says. “This could be a big season for us, and I’m anxious to get started.”

Highland Rim Speedway: Track owner Jerry Criswell, who bought out partner Roger Cunningham of Mt. Juliet, is optimistic about the track’s future as he prepares for this spring’s season opener.

He says young racers like Garrett and Hunter Wright account for much of that optimism.

“They represent the sport’s future,” Criswell says. “They are great kids as well as great race drivers, and I’m proud to have them representing our track.”

Meanwhile at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway, negotiations are underway to finalize a lease agreement between Metro and a new partnership with a Bristol Motor Speedway management team. Track operator Tony Formosa says the partnership will signal some major renovations at the 60-year-old track and return some NASCAR races.

TCHS baseball, softball teams return to action

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets were missing four players last week who were on the Senior Trip, but the team saw plenty of action with six games during spring break.

The action started with a March 28 doubleheader at Watertown, where the Jackets lost those two games 9-3 and 5-3.

Trousdale County then faced some top-notch Class A competition in the Class A Classic, winning one of four games.

The Jackets fell 19-2 to Summertown on Friday, then rebounded with a 6-5 win over host Middle Tennessee Christian.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Faith Winter is tagged out at home during Monday’s softball game against Mt. Juliet Christian. The Lady Jackets won 18-6.

The next day at Forrest, the Jackets fell 12-7 to the Rockets and then came up short 6-5 to Loretto, who was the state runner-up in 2018.

Trousdale County split a pair of games with Gordonsville earlier this week, winning 12-7 at South Carthage on Monday to end a six-game losing streak against the Tigers. Gordonsville returned the favor with a 4-0 win in Hartsville on Tuesday.

The Jackets are scheduled to host Antioch on Thursday for a 6 p.m. game and Smith County on Friday for a 4:30 p.m. start.

Trousdale will return to district play on Monday with a game at Red Boiling Springs. The Jackets will then host the Bulldogs on Tuesday.

Softball: After taking last week off for spring break, the Lady Jackets returned to action Monday with an 18-6 victory over Mt. Juliet Christian.

The Lady Jackets will next play at Gordonsville on Thursday in a game that was originally scheduled to be played Monday.

Trousdale will travel to Smith County on Monday, then host Red Boiling Springs on Tuesday in a key District 6-A matchup.

Yellow Jackets put four on all-district basketball team

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

Trousdale County had four players named to the All District 6-A team.

Senior Keyvont Baines was a first-team selection, as was senior Shelby Jane Petty (not pictured).

Kailen Donoho (center) shared the district’s Freshman of the Year award, while junior Chloe Donoho (right) was named to the all-tournament squad.

Larry Woody: Dennis Gardner brings outsider’s view to Fish & Wildlife

Lebanon’s Dennis Gardner describes himself as “an average guy.”

That’s why he jumped at a chance to serve on the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission.

“I’m just an average guy who likes to hunt and fish, and I want to represent other average guys,” Gardner says. “I’m a blue-collar person who grew up hunting mostly on public land, and I want to represent blue-collar folks.”

Gardner, a native of Millington, moved to Wilson County after retiring as an air-traffic controller. He spent 30 years directing air traffic at the bustling Memphis airport.

Submitted photo
Lebanon’s Dennis Gardner represents the ‘average outdoorsman’ on the Wildlife Commission.

After such a high-stress job, Gardner was ready for some peace and quiet.

“That’s the main reason why my wife and I chose Wilson County to move to after I retired,” he said. “It’s a great area, and we enjoy the small-town environment. We had an opportunity to buy some land here, so we did, and built a house on it.”

Gardner was appointed to the 13-member Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission by then-Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell. His term began in 2017 and runs through 2021.

Another Wilson County resident, Jamie Woodson, retired from the Commission earlier this year after serving a six-year term.

“Since I was retired, I was glad to serve,” Gardner says. “Serving on the Commission can be time-consuming, and I’m fortunate to have the time to devote to it. It’s something I’m interested in, and something I enjoy doing.”

Gardner grew up hunting and fishing with his father in West Tennessee. Today he describes himself as “mostly a shotgunner,” hunting ducks, quail, doves and turkeys.

“I’m not much of a deer hunter,” he says. “My favorite is ducks.”

Gardner says he used to duck-hunt a lot on the Mississippi River, “and these days I hunt in Arkansas and on a few places I lease. The reason why I enjoy duck hunting so much is because of my dogs. They give me a lot of pleasure.”

As for his favorite fish to catch?

“Whatever’s biting,” Gardner says with a laugh.

The Wildlife Commission determines the policies and regulations regarding Tennessee’s wildlife management, boating, and commercial fishing, with oversight from the State Legislature. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides input to the Commission and carries out the policies.

With Tennessee’s growing population and shrinking private-land opportunities, more and more strain is placed on the state’s natural resources. That increases the need for prudent management in order to meet changing needs.

Along with shrinking public lands, other new challenges are constantly rising – most recently the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD can decimate a deer herd and could devastate the state’s multi-million-dollar deer hunting industry.

There are also ongoing concerns about a decline of quail and wild turkeys in some areas.

“There are a lot of challenges,” Gardner says. “That’s why I wanted to be part of the Commission – to help solve problems and preserve the outdoors opportunities that have meant so much to me all my life.”

Lady Jackets power way atop district standings

The Trousdale County Lady Jackets won both of their softball games last week, and in the process raised their District 6-A record to 4-0.

Senior Camyron Hurd went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and scored a run in the Lady Jackets’ 5-4 home win over Clay County on March 18. Junior Sierra Stafford had a hit for TCHS, as did sophomores Hannah Hailey, Erin Hix and Faith Winter.

Hailey was also the winning pitcher and struck out seven Lady Bulldogs.

Amanda Carman / Trousdale County Schools
Hannah Hailey, left, hit a home run against Jackson County and Faith Winter, right, hit two during a 17-7 victory.

“We had a solid night pitching, but our defense has got to cut back on the errors and finish ballgames,” said TCHS coach Blake Satterfield. “Who knows the outcome of the game without the crucial double play to end it in the top of the seventh inning.

“It’s early in the season, but we must have better plate appearances to compete at the level we want, especially when our defense isn’t playing at the level I expect it to be.”

The next day, the Lady Jackets were home against to play the Jackson County Lady Blue Devils.

The Lady Jackets dug themselves into a 7-0 deficit before running off 17 unanswered runs to take the victory.

“Down 7-0 heading into the bottom of the second inning was the first time we have been challenged in district play this year,” Satterfield explained. “I had to make some changes and take some risks and the girls executed it to perfection. Our bats came around and 17 hits later we won.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished so far. After having a little taste of success this early in the season, it just makes our ladies hungry for more.”

Winter put up impressive numbers, going 4-for-5 with two home runs, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Hailey also had a home run among her four hits, plus a pair of RBIs and runs scored.

Freshman Elyssa Chapman and sophomore Rebecca Chapman each had multiple hits with three and two respectively. Hurd, Stafford, sophomore Sidney Gregory and sophomore Makayla Crook each had one hit.

Hailey again got the win on the mound, striking out seven along the way.

Trousdale County is off this week for Spring Break and will resume play on Monday when the Lady Jackets travel to district rival Gordonsville.

Jackets baseball picks up pair of district victories

Trousdale County’s baseball team had a successful week in district play, picking up a pair of victories over Clay County.

At home on March 18, sophomore Eli Henderson went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs as the Jackets beat the Bulldogs 11-4. Seniors Houston Stafford, Keyvont Baines and Dyson Satterfield each had hits, as did junior Will Holder, sophomore Taylor Ellis and freshman Thomas Brown. Baines’ hit was a home run.

Ellis went four innings on the mound, recording nine strikeouts and giving up just one earned run. Holder, Baines and sophomore Robert Butcher each pitched an inning in relief.

George Page / Lebanon Democrat
Trousdale County catcher Tytus Mann tags out Mt. Juliet’s Sam Simonson as he attempts to score on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.

The next day, the Jackets traveled to Celina to play the Bulldogs again. Trousdale broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with six runs and went on to capture a 9-3 victory.

Trousdale County collected nine hits with Stafford, Baines and junior Kobe Pridemore having two each. Henderson, Holder and Chandler Barton had the other three hits for the Jackets.

Pridemore faced 29 batters, striking out nine and allowing two earned runs.

Trousdale County also took part in the Wilson County Invitational over the weekend, going 0-4 in two days.

On Saturday, the Jackets dropped a 4-2 decision at Watertown despite having 12 hits. However, Trousdale could not overcome four errors.

Barton had three hits, Henderson and Pridemore two each, while Stafford, Baines, Butcher, Holder and junior Ben Chumley also had hits.

Later that day, the Jackets played at Friendship Christian. Coach Travis Humes’ boys scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 3, but the Commanders got a walkoff home run in the bottom of the inning for a 5-3 victory.

Chumley had two hits for TCHS, while Stafford, Henderson, Pridemore, Holder and Butcher each had one.

On Friday, the Jackets dropped a 13-2 decision to Mt. Juliet Christian and a 19-0 game to Class AAA Mt. Juliet, who hosted both games.

Humes pointed out to The Vidette that some starters missed time last weekend with minor injuries, helping contribute to the Wilson County results.

Trousdale County will be shorthanded this week with the annual Senior Trip, but will play a doubleheader at Watertown on Thursday.

The Jackets will take part this weekend in the Single-A Classic with two games at Middle Tennessee Christian on Friday and two at Forrest on Saturday.

Trousdale will return to district action on Monday with a trip to South Carthage to face the Gordonsville Tigers.

Contributing: Chris Gregory, Hartsville Vidette

Larry Woody: TWRA hires Jenifer Wisniewski as outreach chief

New Mt. Juliet resident Jenifer Wisniewski has a complicated title but a simple goal, as the new Communications & Outreach Chief with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency:

Getting the positive messages, latest news, and other information distributed to the state’s hundreds of thousands of outdoors-persons.

The best story in the world is lost if nobody knows about it, and Wisniewski’s mission is to spread the word.

Submitted photo
Jenifer Wisniewski is the new TWRA communications director.

“Tennessee has so many great outdoors opportunities,” Wisniewski says, “and we want to make everyone aware of them and how to be able to enjoy them. Our effort is part of a nationwide movement to recruit and retain hunters, fishermen, boaters, campers and others to the outdoors.”

Wisniewski, a native of Anniston, Ala., and graduate of the University Alabama, joined the TWRA after gaining widespread recognition for her work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

During her six years in the communications department, Georgia was one of only a few states in which the sale of hunting and fishing licenses increased. That success attracted the attention of the TWRA, which lured Wisniewski away from the Peach State.

“I was poached,” she says with a laugh.

The TWRA over the years has enjoyed excellent public relations, thanks to some of the best in the business, including recently retired Doug Markham, Agency veteran Don King, Lee Wilmont, Barry Cross and Tennessee Wildlife Magazine editor Austin Bornheim. All are media-friendly, efficient and accommodating.

Therefore, Wisniewski doesn’t see her task as re-inventing the Agency’s various communications outlets, but more a matter of enhancing them and expanding them to serve a constantly-changing landscape.

She plans to emphasize up-to-date news and features on the TWRA’s website, pod-casts, e-mailings and TV programs, and utilize social media to its fullest.

While enhancing the various “new media” components, Wisniewski says she will not abandon the TWRA’s traditional print outlets, such as the popular Tennessee Wildlife Magazine and the Tennessee Fishing Guide and Hunting & Trapping Guide. Many Tennessean outdoorsmen – especially those of an advanced generation – are not internet-connected or social-media savvy.

Wisniewski promises they will not be left out.

“We don’t have to sacrifice one outlet for another,” she says. “We will utilize them all.”

Wisniewski grew up hunting and fishing in Alabama with her dad. As a little girl she went with him on dove shoots, and one of her duties was to collect the birds.

“I was the retriever,” she says, again with a laugh.

Wisniewski and husband Jason – who joined his wife on the TWRA staff as a fisheries biologist stationed in Gallatin – selected a home in Mt. Juliet because of its quality of life.

“It’s a great area, we love our new home, and we both have jobs we thoroughly enjoy,” she says. “We couldn’t be happier.”

Paul Pitts hired as Trousdale assistant football coach

Photo courtesy of Cumberland University

Trousdale County has added a new assistant football coach as Paul Pitts came on board last week.

Pitts, a native of Newnan, Ga., served as offensive coordinator at Cumberland University in 2018. Prior to coming to Lebanon, he coached in the same capacity at the University of the Cumberlands. Pitts also honed his skills for eight years at Shorter University.

Cumberland averaged 324.9 yards of total offense in 2018 and 20.0 points per game. At University of the Cumberlands, his 2016 team ranked 10th nationally in the NAIA in rushing offense. At Shorter, his teams ranked second and third nationally in rushing in 2010 and 2011 respectively. He also has served as an offensive line coach.

“Coach Potts will fit right in,” said Trousdale coach Blake Satterfield. “He is a hard worker, holds high expectations and simply knows how to produce a solid football player.

“He is a great coach and an amazing person who I feel very comfortable surrounding our young student-athletes around each and every day. Hiring Paul is a step in the right direction for this program.”

Pitts is married to his wife Abby and the couple has two daughters.

Contributing: Staff reports

Jackets baseball wins two of first three games

Trousdale County started baseball season last week, going 2-1 in three games.

The Jackets opened on March 11 with an 8-5 home victory over East Nashville in which Trousdale scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Jackets managed to win despite committing eight errors and collecting just six hits.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Kobe Pridemore (45) celebrates after hitting a triple against Mt. Juliet Christian.

Junior Kobe Pridemore went five innings and recorded nine strikeouts. Sophomore Eli Henderson recorded the save in the season opener.

Junior Ben Chumley and sophomore Robert Butcher were each 1-for-3 at the plate, while Butcher also drove in a pair of runs. Henderson, Pridemore, senior Keyvont Baines and junior Chandler Barton had the other hits for the Jackets.

The next day, Trousdale County jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings against Mt. Juliet Christian, then put up five runs in the sixth inning to claim an 11-1 win.

Baines went-3-for-4 with two RBIs and scored twice. Pridemore had a triple and a single, while senior Houston Stafford, Henderson, Chumley and sophomore Cameron Rankins each had hits.

Sophomore Taylor Ellis got the win on the mound, recording seven strikeouts in his five innings of work. Chumley pitched the final inning and struck out two of the three batters he faced.

On Friday, the Jackets hosted Macon County and took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning before falling 6-5. Macon scored five times in the sixth and won despite being outhit by the Jackets, who committed two errors.

Stafford had three hits, while Henderson and Butcher each had two. Chumley, Pridemore and senior Stetson White also had hits for the Jackets.

Trousdale County is scheduled to take part in the Wilson County Invitational on Friday and Saturday with games against Mt. Juliet Christian, Mt. Juliet, Watertown and Friendship.