Baseball America includes Lee University pitcher Kris Hall among the top 100 college players eligible for the June 2012 baseball draft. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander is listed 81st by the publication and is 25th among those who have not been drafted before. Hall, a junior from Strongsville, Ohio, transferred to the NAIA power in Cleveland, Tenn., after his freshman season at NCAA Division I member Cleveland State University in Ohio. He appeared in 22 games and worked 26 innings as a Flames sophomore, recording eight saves with a 4-1 record. He struck out 40 batters, walked 17 and allowed 16 hits. "This is an amazing honor for Kris," Flames coach Mark Brew said in a Lee release. "We knew he was getting a lot of interest, but to see his name listed as one of the top 100 draft-eligible collegiate players speaks volumes about what scouts see in him. If he pitches well in the spring, this should solidify him as a high draft pick. He enjoyed a super fall and has made the adjustment from the bullpen to the front of our rotation." No. 1 on the Baseball America list is Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, who was drafted by the Tigers in 2009. The only other players from Tennessee schools in the top 100 are Vanderbilt left-hander Sam Selman 69th, Memphis righty Dan Langfield 70th and Vandy outfielder Mike Yastrzemski 98th.
- Sewanee's conference, the Southern Athletic Association, has added the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis as affiliate members for football, beginning in the 2015 season. Chicago is ranked No. 5 and Washington is No. 13 in the U.S. News and World Report's "national universities" category, and both have significant football traditions going back to the early 1890s. "We are thrilled to add two schools held in such high regard," said Oglethorpe University president Lawrence Schall, who chairs the SAA's Council of Presidents. "Their commitment to fostering athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective liberal arts colleges is a perfect fit for our league's mission." The SAA includes Berry College and Oglethorpe in Georgia, Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, Centre College in Kentucky, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Millsaps College in Mississippi and Rhodes College as well as Sewanee in Tennessee.
- Baylor School assistant football coach Frank Murphy, who played four seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Miami and Houston, will be signing copies of his recently released book, "The Man Behind the Helmet ... and the God of Second Chances," this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble store at Hamilton Place mall. The 25th and 50th people to have books signed will get footballs autographed by Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, who wrote the foreword for Murphy's book.
- Lee University softball coach Emily Russell recently signed left-handed pitcher Jessa Watts from Niceville, Fla., to join the Lady Flames next semester and play in the 2012 season. Watts was 22-2 in 25 games for Niceville High School last season, with a 0.87 earned run average and 225 strikeouts with 37 walks in 145 innings. She batted .419. Niceville High was the Florida Class 5A state runner-up in 2010 and the champion last year, and Watts was the Northwest Florida Daily News big schools' area player of the year both seasons. "Jessa will be a big part of our team this spring," Russell said in a Lee release. "She will fit right in with the team and strengthen us in the circle. She is a strikeout pitcher with great movement and a changeup that will keep people honest. She is a lefty, which will give us more variety in our staff, and is also a great hitter." West Alabama, West Florida and Mobile were among the other universities Watts considered.
- Demontray McCormick scored 27 points and Blair Austin added 21 as West Georgia Tech defeated Georgia Northwestern 84-72 in NJCAA Region VII basketball Tuesday at the Rossville Athletic Center. The visitors took control with pressure defense in the second half. Alex Miller scored 22 points and Randy Boyd had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who got 15 points from Bud Todd and seven assists from Matt Woods.
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