published Monday, May 16th, 2011

Walker Valley ‘chucking ducks’

Walker Valley took a different approach to today’s region baseball semifinals.

The Mustangs spent the weekend “chucking ducks” as a team fundraiser.

Working Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Chattanooga Retriever Club at its field trials at the Hiwassee Refuge, the team worked as “bird boys,” throwing ducks for the dogs to find and return to their owners.

“Our boys throw the ducks or shoot them out of a big slingshot,” Mustangs coach Joe Shamblin said. “It’s neat to watch the dogs at first, but then it gets monotonous. One test for one dog might last 10 to 15 minutes.”

The District 5-AAA champions also got in some practice for their game at home tonight against District 6-AAA runner-up Cookeville.

District 5 runner-up Soddy-Daisy is playing at Coffee County. The winners will meet Wednesday.

Williams has record

East Hamilton’s Brandon Williams became a state record-holder last week in the District 6-AA tournament when he received five intentional walks in six plate appearances.

“One time was enough. We weren’t going to pitch to him again,” said Central coach Glen Carter, who ordered Williams walked after the senior doubled in his first at-bat.

“Coach Carter is a real competitive guy, and he went with his plan,” Hurricanes coach Steve Garland said. “Brandon bats second and it worked at least twice.”

The record of four intentional passes was set in 2005 by Creek Wood’s Cody McCanless in a game against Fairview, according to the Tennessee Baseball Report records section.

East Hamilton will be playing today at District 5-AA champion Sequoyah, while 6-AA winner Red Bank hosts Polk County.

Tornado moving on

McCallie came back from a 12-3 loss late Friday night at Battle Ground Academy to get its seventh and eighth wins of the season and earn a trip to Christian Brothers for a Division II state quarterfinal series.

The Blue Tornado (8-22-1) beat BGA 5-1 and 12-2 on Saturday behind Brian Viscomi and pitchers Sam Campbell and Mitch Dolinger. Viscomi was 7-for-7 with five RBIs in the two wins, and Campbell pitched a three-hitter and had two hits in the first of those and matched Viscomi’s four hits and scored four runs in the final. He and Dolinger each doubled twice.

Davis tried St. Paul

Jason Davis made a brief return to pro baseball.

The former Charleston High and Cleveland State pitcher signed a contract earlier this month with the St. Paul (Minn.) Saints of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, although he no longer is listed on the Saints’ roster.

Davis was a 21st-round choice of the Cleveland Indians in the 1999 draft and pitched for the Indians, the Seattle Mariners and the Pittsburgh Pirates. His last major league appearance was in 2008. He left pro ball with a 22-26 big-league record and a 4.82 ERA.

Turner in coaching

Brandon Turner recently finished his first season as a graduate assistant at Carson-Newman College. A slugging second baseman at Walker Valley and the son of former Charleston and Walker Valley coach Mike Turner, Brandon signed with Mississippi State and starred for the Bulldogs for three seasons before giving pro ball a shot.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do. He might be back at Carson-Newman next year. He’s working on his master’s,” Mike Turner said last week.

Brandon is holding a couple of camps at his old high school, the mornings of June 6-7 for advanced hitting and June 8-9 for advanced infield play.

Masterful record

South Pittsburg has one of the best records of any Tennessee baseball team still in the postseason. The Pirates enter tonight’s home game against Grace Academy with a 27-2 record. The losses were to Notre Dame, which wound up winning District 7-AA, and Cleveland, which lost an elimination game to 5-AAA semifinalist Rhea County.

South Pittsburg, the 6-A champion, played every 5-A team during the regular season except Grace, which was the 5-A runner-up to Boyd-Buchanan.

Gearrin pays visit

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Cory Gearrin was in Cleveland last week to watch part of the District 5-AAA tournament at Walker Valley.

The Braves were off last Monday and Gearrin drove up from Atlanta to support Rhea County, his alma mater.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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