Austin Peay senior baseball player Jon Clinard from Bradley Central High School is this year's male recipient of the Ohio Valley Conference's Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award. Voting is by the OVC's athletic directors and sports information directors. Playing outfield, infield and designated hitter for the Governors, Clinard has started 57 of their 60 games this year and batted .272 with 10 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs and 42 runs scored going into NCAA regional play tonight in Eugene, Ore. He ranks in the top 20 in Govs history in stolen bases, hits, runs, triples and walks. He made the OVC all-rookie team in 2009 and the All-OVC second team in 2010 and has helped Austin Peay win back-to-back league titles. A math major with a 3.3 grade point average, he has been president of the Clarksville, Tenn., school's FCA huddle group and an officer in the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
• Former Baylor School and Chattanooga State player Zeth Stone from first-time Southern Conference champion Samford is another area player taking part in NCAA baseball regionals this weekend, along with Jon Clinard and Zane Leffew at Austin Peay and Dylan Craig, Chase Brookshire and Scott Moses at Belmont. In the SoCon final against Georgia Southern, Stone went 4-for-6 with four RBIs and had the winning three-run triple in the 10th inning after his third error of the game allowed GSU to tie the game in the ninth. He made the Southern Conference all-tournament team. Samford's first NCAA regional game is set to start at noon EDT today at Tallahassee, Fla., against Mississippi State; it can be seen on ESPN3 (espn360.com). After graduating from Baylor in 2008, Stone made the SoCon all-freshman list for an Elon team that went to an NCAA regional. He then redshirted one year at Tennessee before transferring to Chattanooga State for the 2011 season.
• LEWISTON, Idaho -- The fourth-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan baseball team beat top-seeded LSU Shreveport 17-10 Thursday night in the Avista-NAIA World Series and will face Rogers State tonight at 9:35 EDT for the championship. Shreveport ended TWC's 17-game winning streak with a 7-3 defeat in Wednesday's late game, but the Bulldogs (52-12) regained some momentum by scoring their three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and continued that with a four-run first inning, a four-run third and a five-run fourth in the rematch. They led 13-2 after four innings, but the Pilots totaled seven runs in the fifth and sixth before TWC scored four again in the eighth. Wesleyan's Jordan Guida was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run Wednesday and added three homers Thursday night. He hit a three-run blast in the first, homered again after Stephen Branca doubled and Jake Stone and Taylor Oldham both homered in the third and added a two-run shot in the eighth. Stone and Oldham had RBI hits in the fourth, when Anthony Boix and Drew Levi were hit by pitches and Branca and Guida walked. Travis Burnside was 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs, and Guida and Stone each was 3-for-5 with six and three RBIs and four and three runs. Greg Friesen had a two-run homer and another RBI for LSU Shreveport (54-6).
• Before leaving for Norway and academy play this summer, Ooltewah High School defender Bjorn Hayden Croxall signed to continue his soccer career at Lee University. He was the first home-school student to play a TSSAA sport for a Hamilton County system school, and he was an all-district and all-region contributor to the top-ranked Owls' 18-3 season. All their losses were 1-0, including to Riverdale in a Class AAA sectional. "He really came in and solidified our backs," Ooltewah coach Rick Adolph said. "He's a really smart defender -- probably our best one-on-one defender -- and he reads the game very well and communicates very well. He's patient, he's very quick and he's a great kid who works hard every day. He'll do well at Lee." Croxall is a dual citizen of the United States and Norway. "Hayden is a quality young man who brings many of the intangibles to any team," Lee coach Paul Furey said. "He is an outstanding student and a hard worker. ... His integrity, character and work ethic, along with his deep-rooted faith, will make him an inspiration on the team and around the campus."
• The Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip is beginning its 2012 season Saturday with six classes of competition. Gates will open about noon (normally 3 p.m.), and admission is $10, free for ages 10-under. Steve Farrow has taken over operation of the strip for the club, and he said fans will quickly notice a number of renovations that have delayed the season start. He said competition will include heads-up and bracket classes every Saturday, weather permitting, until deep into the fall.
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