published Monday, May 14th, 2012

Around the Region: Jackets' Culberson now in big leagues

The San Francisco Giants promoted former Calhoun (Ga.) High School standout Charlie Culberson from their Class AAA affiliate in Fresno and started him at second base Sunday, and he was 1-for-4 in a 7-3 win at Arizona. The 23-year-old Culberson flew out, grounded out, singled to left field and struck out swinging. Already on the big-league club's 40-man roster, he was batting .284 with five home runs, 11 doubles, two triples and a team-high 24 RBIs for Fresno. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Culberson will start against left-handed pitchers and sometimes against righties. "He's doing a good job at second with the pivot and his range, and he's swinging it well," Bochy said, as quoted by Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Baggarly noted that Culberson had averages in the .230s and .240s while still a teenager at Low-A Augusta but embraced the learning experience. "I went through a lot of struggles, and it helped me to become the ballplayer I am today," Culberson said. "I know what to expect down the road, how to handle your emotions and just play the game." His father, Charles, was a 16th-round draft pick by the Giants in 1984 and got as far as Double-A in five minor-league seasons. "He told me to never stop working and hopefully I could do better than he could. He's excited," Charlie said. His dad, mother and sister got the call about his promotion at 2 a.m. Sunday and made a flight from Atlanta to Phoenix in time for the day game. Charlie's wife, expecting their first child in October, made the trip from Fresno.

Softball

• Chattanooga State has been seeded No. 1 for the NJCAA Division I softball tournament that starts Thursday in St. George, Utah. The Lady Tigers (56-4) leapfrogged Salt Lake Community College (55-7), which was No. 1 in the final regular-season poll of April 25. Chattanooga State opens at noon EDT Thursday against Aiken (S.C.) Tech (32-29).

Swimming

• CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hixson resident and McCallie School graduate Sean Ryan finished fifth in the 1500-meter freestyle race Sunday at the Charlotte Ultraswim meet. Ryan, who swims for the University of Michigan but represented the Scenic City Aquatic Club in the USA Swimming Grand Prix event, had a time of 15 minutes, 25.72 seconds. Chad La Tourette won in 15:06.75, and Ryan's Michigan teammate Connor Jaeger was second in 15:07.29. Michael McBroom of the University of Texas was third in 15:16.33 with 400-meter winner Oussama Mellouli fourth in 15:16.60. Ryan finished third Thursday in the 800 freestyle, behind La Tourette and Jaeger, and eighth Saturday in the 400 free. He will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June.

Auto Racing

• Longtime dirt-track racing standout Skip Arp of Georgetown won the 40-lap Tennessee Memorial race in the Southern All Star series Saturday night at Cleveland Speedway. It paid $3,500 to win. Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville was second, followed by William Thomas of Phenix City, Ala., Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., and Jake Knowles of Tyrone, Ga. Current SAS points leader Randy Weaver of Crossville was sixth with Dale McDowell of Chickamauga seventh. Lamar Scoggins of Georgetown won the Limited Late Model/Crate race and $1,200 after winning the Late Model feature Friday night at Boyd's Speedway, where Harrison's Bryan Pritchard was the Crate victor. Both Pritchard at Boyd's and Scoggins at Cleveland outdueled Maryville's Jason Welshan. Mike Weeks of Friendsville, Tenn., was second to Scoggins on Friday.

Lacrosse

• The McCallie School lacrosse team is two wins away from the program's 11th state championship after reaching the semifinals for the 10th consecutive time with an 11-5 win Saturday over Ravenwood. Chad Toliver had three assists with two goals and Nick Zessack scored three goals for the Blue Tornado, who will face Brentwood Friday at 6 p.m. EDT in the semifinals at Father Ryan in Nashville. Brier Davis also had two goals against Ravenwood, and Jake Adams made 10 saves.

Rowing

• SARASOTA, Fla. -- Chattanooga Junior Rowing sent eight boats to the Southeast Junior Championships this past weekend, and six of those advanced Saturday to Sunday races. The competition included 383 boats from 43 clubs. The CJR men's quad of David May and brothers Iain, Quin and Connor Nash finished second, and the women's lightweight 4 of Vivian Anderson, Aubrey Gardin, Erin Hall, Ruth Hopkins and coxswain Trinh Keegan were third in their final. The CJR women's varsity 4 placed fourth in its six-boat semifinal heat with a time that would have won the other heat, but only three advanced from each. Kaleb Bledsoe and Emilio Craddock finished fourth in men's double scull after hustling from their graduation ceremonies Friday night, and CJR was seventh in women's single. First through third places earned berths in the US Rowing youth nationals June 10-12 at Oak Ridge.

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