published Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Willis still leading State Open golf

Garrett Willis, who sometimes plays the top PGA tours and worked briefly in the Chattanooga area after his outstanding college golf career at East Tennessee State, has led the first two rounds of the SunTrust State Open Championship at Nashville's Gaylord Springs Golf Links. The Loudon resident is at 135 (66-69), two shots ahead of Brentwood's Brendon Caballero and Murfreesboro's Jason Millard. Former Lee University golfer Josh Lawson from Hixson and current Lee player Peyton Sliger of Maryville are tied for sixth at 140, and former McCallie School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga standout Bryce Ledford is at 141. Signal Mountain's Caleb Roberson, former UTC player Derek Rende from Soddy-Daisy and Tullahoma's Jared Melson are in a group at 142. Ledford and Roberson shot 69s Wednesday.

• Lee University dropped four spots to a tie for 14th out of 27 teams in the second round of the NAIA women's golf tournament Wednesday at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. The Lady Flames shot a collective 325 and are at 642, and their leading individual is Bernardette Little in a tie for 26th at 157 after a second-day 82. Teammates Sloane Skinner and Courtney Shelton share 41st place at 159, Shelton after a 76, and Madison Alexander is at 167.

Baseball

• Tennessee Tech first baseman Zach Stephens from Soddy-Daisy High School and second baseman Zach Zarzour from Ooltewah High and Chattanooga State joined Belmont University senior pitcher Chase Brookshire from McCallie on the All-Ohio Valley Conference baseball second team for 2013. Stephens, a repeat All-OVC selection, is batting .341 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs and ranks fourth in NCAA Division I in RBIs per game. He is a junior, as is Zarzour, who has a .310 batting average and 13 stolen bases and has scored 54 runs. Tech (39-15, 24-6) won the regular season and had three first-team and five second-team picks, plus coach of the year Matt Bragga. Runner-up Austin Peay (42-13, 22-7) had six All-OVC first-teamers, including player of the year Craig Massoni, another junior first baseman, and pitcher of the year Tyler Rogers. Going into the OVC tournament Wednesday in Jackson, Tenn., Brookshire was 4-2 with a 2.18 earned run average and 68 strikeouts in 62 innings for the Bruins (37-18, 22-8). Tech sophomore reliever David Hess from Tullahoma was Collegiate Baseball News' national pitcher of the week after striking out 11 of the 14 batters he faced and allowing only one baserunner in the 8-5 win over Belmont that clinched the regular-season title. Hess (7-2) has 73 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.

• Baylor's Jackson Cooper has decided to continue his baseball career at NCAA Division III member Sewanee. Cooper hit .366 this past season for the Red Raiders with 31 RBIs, a homer and 11 doubles. "I'm delighted Jackson is going to have the opportunity to play at the next level. He is a good all around player," Red Raiders coach Gene Etter said. "He had a good year hitting, and his defense at third base was excellent.

• Boyd-Buchanan outfielder John Hale has signed a scholarship to play baseball for Dyersburg State. Hale, slowed early in the season as he continued to recover from a football injury, hit .407 with a homer and four doubles. He also had 18 stolen bases and 18 RBIs. "Dyersburg State is getting a great kid that's also a very good baseball player," Buccaneers coach Josh Rider said. "He has a great opportunity to go in there and win a starting job."

• Chattanooga State is holding free open tryouts for its 2013-14 baseball team today on the Tigers' field. Pitchers/catchers registration starts at 11:30 a.m. for a workout starting at 12:15 p.m.; position-players registration begins at 1:15 for a 2-4 p.m. workout. For more information call coach Greg Dennis at 697-2418.

Lacrosse

• Baylor School's Evan Craig was voted to the lacrosse all-state second team and was joined on the TSLA East Region first team by fellow senior defender Austin Case. Baylor senior attack players Max Jump and Joe Murphy, junior midfielder Ian Jump and junior long stick midfield player Gavin Baugh were second-team all-region. Craig had a team-high 32 takeaways and 52 ground balls, and Furman-bound Case led the Red Raiders with eight interceptions despite being limited by injuries to 10 games. Max Jump had 20 goals and eight assists and his brother had 21 goals and 11 assists this season, while Murphy had 29 goals and 42 ground balls and Baugh won more than 60 percent of his 224 face-offs. McCallie's All-America and all-state players were reported in Sunday's newspaper.

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