published Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Tigers top player, pitcher in TCCAA

Chattanooga State shortstop Dylan Coleman from McMinn Central was voted the baseball player of the year in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association for 2011, and Tigers teammate Patrick Merkling from Woodstock, Ga., was the pitcher of the year. Outfielder J.D. Pullen from Lilburn, Ga., joined those two on the all-conference first team, and the Tigers’ Seth McClure, Tyler Roach, Zeth Stone and Gabe Herman made the second team along with Cleveland State catcher Galen Smith. Coleman batted .423 with 77 hits, 17 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 48 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 15 tries. Merkling was 11-1 with a save, a 2.0 earned run average, a 0.170 opponents’ batting average and 103 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings. Mullen hit .421 with 74 hits, 14 for extra bases, 65 runs, 38 RBIs and 26 steals. Chattanooga State was ranked as high as No. 2 in NJCAA Division II and lost a heartbreaker in the state/region tournament final.

* After coach Billy Berry’s Tennessee Wesleyan baseball team made sure there would be a new NAIA national champion this year, the Bulldogs (40-19) were seeded 10th out of 10 teams in the World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. They get to face seventh-seeded host Lewis-Clark State (36-14), a 16-time champion, at 10:30 p.m. EDT on May 27, with the winner challenging second seed Oklahoma City (46-10) at 10 EDT the next night. Lee (47-12) is seeded fifth and plays at 3 p.m. EDT May 27 against No. 4 seed LSU-Shreveport (45-13), after fellow Southern States Athletic Conference member Faulkner (48-13) opens the tournament against Concordia of California (38-19) in a matchup of the eight and nine seeds. Lee coach Mark Brew has guided his Flames to the World Series all five of his seasons as a head coach, and they finished second, third and second the last three years. The Faulkner-Concordia victor will face top-seeded Embry-Riddle (50-9) on May 28, and that winner will take on the Lee-LSUS winner on May 30. The tournament will end June 2 or 3. TWC has won 10 of its last 11 games, including two of three last weekend against 2010 NAIA champ Cumberland. Lee whipped its three NAIA opening-series foes 32-4.

GOLF

* GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — Lee and Tennessee Wesleyan were among the teams that did not complete their rounds Tuesday in the first day of the NAIA women’s golf tournament at Link Hills Country Club, because of a four-hour rain delay. Only half the field got through, led by California Baptist at 319, British Columbia at 321, Northwood at 323, Lubbock Christian at 325 and Shorter at 326. Lee’s Geandra Almeida was 5 over par when play was suspended, while Kristin Bourg was 6 over and Courtney Shelton and Sloane Skinner each was 7 over.

GENERAL

* Red Bank High School graduate Steve Fassino from Signal Mountain is the Tennessee men’s representative on the Southeastern Conference track and field community service team announced Tuesday. Every team in the SEC gets one community service slot, and Baylor School graduate Harris English was Georgia’s selection for men’s golf, announced earlier this month. Fassino has helped in the UT Thank-a-Thon, Popsicles on the Pedestrian, Christmas Memories and the Knoxville Rescue Mission holiday dinner. English, a senior from Thomasville, Ga., has volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club of Athens, worked on a Habitat for Humanity project, visited with patients at a local hospital and helped in the Salvation Army’s Christmas work.

BASKETBALL

* Georgia Northwestern Technical College recently signed guard Houston Moon and forward Robby Chitwood from Dade County’s 25-5 basketball team to letters of application for 2011-12. Dade went 77-13 the past three years, and GNTC coach David Stephenson expressed delight in getting more players from Wolverines coach Glen Hicks. The Bobcats are losing all-conference selection Jesse Moore from Dade after his two years, as well as leading scorer Kyle Wilson from Armuchee. “Kyle and Jesse, our two co-captains this season, provided our team with true leadership. And now with them moving on, we are absolutely thrilled to be getting two more out of Coach Hicks’ program,” Stephenson said. “One thing you hear about Robbie and Houston is that not only are they good athletes, but they are good students. They are truly good kids.” Chitwood, who plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy in two years, is a 6-foot-4 “banger,” said Hicks, who added that he “never disappoints” in handling whatever tough court assignment he’s given. The 6-1 Moon will join another former Dade sharpshooter, Ben Patton, on the Bobcats’ perimeter.

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