A family graveside service for legendary area baseball figure Lou Fitzgerald is scheduled for 9:30 this morning at Hilcrest Cemetery in Cleveland. A 93-year-old veteran of more than 60 years in the minor and major leagues, Fitzgerald was the scout responsible for the Atlanta Braves' signing of multiyear All-Star Chipper Jones and numerous other standout players. He earned a National League championship ring as a scout for the Braves and later a World Series ring as the Florida Marlins' master scout. A former Bradley County player, Fitzgerald earned 11 letters and was captain of the school's 1943 championship basketball team. In nine years as a player in the upper minor leagues, he hit less than .300 just twice. He then managed a number of minor league teams, and in 18 years as a manager his teams won four championships. He was named a manager of the year six times. Among those who played under him were Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Dusty Baker and Rusty Staub. Except for one season with the Phillies, Fitzgerald was a mainstay in the Braves organization for 18 years. He also was a former Cleveland city recreation director.
• The University of Tennessee softball team was announced Monday as the coaches' preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference East Division this year. With former UT-Chattanooga coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly as co-head coaches, Chattanooga native Marty McDaniel as an assistant and GPS graduates Whitney Hammond and Tory Lewis as veteran outfielders, the nationally sixth-ranked Lady Vols got five votes compared to eight for defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Alabama to win the overall SEC championship.
Track & Field
• Bryan College's Alex Stephens finished second in the men's mile run at the Emory Crossplex Invitational indoor track meet Monday, and his time of 4:16.92 qualified him for the NAIA national meet. The Lions' Anthony Simpson was a provisional qualifier with his 8:40 second-place finish in the 3000, and teammates Jason McLeod, Connor Hatfield and Parker Sorensen broke 8:50 as well. Jessica Stockton won her section of the women's 3000.
• Frank Massengale rolled a 300 game Sunday as he and son Chris won the doubles scratch event in the last day of the CABA city bowling tournaments at Holiday Bowl Hixson. Chris Cross (scratch) and Tony Helms (handicap) were men's all-event winners; Darlene Williams was the women's all-events scratch winner with Stacy Mason earning the handicap distinction.
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