Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger will be among the dignitaries present today at 2 p.m. when a ceremony honoring Chattanooga State's national softball championship is held at the Lady Tigers' campus field. The public is invited. The team flew back from Las Vegas early this morning after completing a 6-1 run to the NJCAA Division I title with three wins Saturday in St. George, Utah. That was the first national championship for any Chattanooga State team, and in the process coach Beth Keylon-Randolph surpassed 600 wins in her 11 years. The Lady Tigers were seeded No. 1 for the 16-team tournament and finished the season 62-5. Ashley Czechner, the Chatt State sophomore transfer from Maryland who has signed with LSU for next year, set an NJCAA record with 374 strikeouts this year and was chosen the "outstanding pitcher" and most valuable player of the tournament.
• After fighting back from an opening loss to win the NCAA regional it hosted this past weekend, the fifth-ranked, 50-11 University of Tennessee softball team coached by Ralph and Karen Weekly and including former GPS standouts Tory Lewis and Whitney Hammond will host Georgia in a best-two-of-three super regional this weekend. Game 1 is set for noon Saturday and will be televised on ESPNU. Game 2 will start at 1 p.m. Sunday on ESPN with a deciding game following if necessary.
• GULF SHORES, Ala. -- Senior second baseman Emily Clements from LaFayette High School drove in all four runs and freshman Maddie Bray from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe was the winning pitcher as Shorter University defeated Cal State San Marcos 4-3 in the first round of double-elimination play Monday in the NAIA national softball tournament, and the Lady Hawks later beat Oklahoma City 3-1 behind Kayla Byrom's five-hit pitching. Cal State San Marcos was No. 2 and Oklahoma City was No. 3 in the final regular-season poll. Shorter was 10th and beat No. 7 and defending champion Oregon Tech to make the eight-team championship bracket. Clements was 2-for-3 with a two-run single in the third inning and the go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth against CSSM. Another LaFayette alumna, Charlsie Broome, was 1-for-1 and hit by a pitch in that win. Each of those two was 1-for-3 against OCU for the Lady Hawks (51-11), Broome with a double and a run scored.
• Lee University sophomore Courtney Shelton made the 2012 NAIA All-American first team for women's golf, and teammate Geandra Almeida received honorable mention for the second year in a row. Shelton was a four-time medalist and finished in the top five in nine of the 10 fall and spring tournaments for the Lady Flames, who won eight in a row heading into the NAIA national event last week. Shelton won the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament and was the SSAC player of the year. Almeida was in the top 10 in every spring event and was Lee's representative on the Champions of Character team. The Lee men's team, along with Tennessee Wesleyan's, will begin play this afternoon in their NAIA national tournament at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore. It's a 72-hole stroke-play event with 29 teams headed by No. 1-ranked and seven-time champion Oklahoma City and No. 2 Oklahoma Christian, the defending champion.
• ATLANTA -- The 36-hole U.S. Women's Open sectional qualifying tournament Monday at Dunwoody Country Club was thwarted by bad weather and has to resume today. Four spots and two alternate positions in the July 5-8 national tournament in Kohler, Wis., are at stake.
• Armuchee High School standout Marcel Hudson is the latest commitment for the Georgia Northwestern men's basketball program. Hudson averaged 13 points, six rebounds and two steals a game as the Indians went 15-12 this past season. He's 6-foot and 180 pounds but "played down low quite a bit more than he will for us," GNTC coach David Stephenson said. "He brings a great skill set and head for the game." Bobcats sophomore Fernando Limus Jr. competed against Hudson in high school and said "he can flat-out play." Said Armuchee coach Ray Tucker: "Marcel played big for us all over the court."
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