Shelden Brogden from Chattanooga State, Luke Toms and Chris Adams from Motlow and Chevis Hoover from Volunteer State are TCCAA rivals who have come together as new recruits for the Lee University baseball team. Brogden and Adams are outfielders, Toms is a middle infielder and Hoover is an infielder and right-handed pitcher from Tullahoma. The position-player signees announced Friday by Flames coach Mark Brew also included shortstop Shae Durham and infielder/outfielder Brayden Ware from Silver Creek High School in Indiana and catcher Jack Jones from Fred Page High School in Eagleville, Tenn. "I am really excited about this group of positional signees," Brew said in the release. "We wanted to improve our team offensively in 2015, and these players all have the ability to help us make strides in that area. However, our defense is one of the cornerstones of our program, and they all bring defensive strengths as well." Brogden, a former Best of Preps player for Notre Dame High School, batted .293 with a .372 on-base percentage this past season for Chattanooga State, and Tigers assistant coach Joe Wingate called him "a very athletic outfielder with a strong arm, pop in his bat and the potential to be a difference maker both offensively and defensively." Toms batted .393 with a .694 slugging percentage, 13 home runs, 21 doubles, a triple, 52 RBIs and 52 runs and Adams hit .358 with 29 extra-base hits, 35 walks, 56 runs and 44 RBIs for Motlow. Hoover hit .274 with 30 RBIs and went 6-3 as a pitcher with 59 strikeouts in 63 innings for Vol State. Durham hit .438 with 31 RBIs and 30 runs for Silver Creek, whose coach Joe Decker said he "is the best shortstop I have ever seen at the high school level." Lee assistant Justin Dedman, whom Brew praised highly for leading the Flames' recruiting, agreed that Durhan "is a superb defensive shortstop and we like what we are getting offensively also. Shae has a compact swing and has seen gains in strength and athleticism." Ware hit .366 with 29 RBIs and 24 runs, and Page High's Jones hit .377 with 24 RBIs. "Jack is an impressive young player," Dedman said. "He has plus bat speed and terrific plate discipline. Behind the plate he is a strong receiver, energy giver and has a very strong arm. He possesses a workman's attitude and leadership capabilities." Ware, Dedman said, not only provides defensive flexibility but "is a diamond in the rough. We believe Brayden will be a strong offensive player before his career is over. ... He continues to grow into his frame and has made huge gains in strength and speed in the last year." Dedman said Hoover "is a dynamic two-way player. He has a plus fastball that sits between 88 and 92 miles per hour and can reach higher. His fastball has very good run with occasional sink, and he possesses a put-away slider." Of the two Motlow players, Dedman said, "Luke is a dynamic player. He has plus power, is a strong defensive player and can make both routine and special plays at shortstop. He has infectious energy and passion. Chris is a catalyst. He has terrific plate discipline and plus power and is sure-handed in the outfield. Chris is a ... a rock in any program." And Brogden "is just tapping into his ability," the Flames assistant said. "He is a prototypical athlete with very good strength, size and speed. He has all of the tools to follow in the footsteps of some of the terrific outfielders Coach Brew's teams have had."
• Tennessee Wesleyan runners Roderick Bowman, Joseph Mullen and Austin Wiseman are going to extra heights to get ready for the 2014 college cross country season. They will be training in Boulder, Colo., until July 31. "I had the opportunity to do this in college," TWC coach Shawn Jacubowski said in a school release, "and it was an experience I will never forget, and I wanted them to have somthing similar." The Wesleyan men return all seven runners from the group that finished 17th at the NAIA national meet last year. Bowman finished fourth in the 10,000-meter run at the recent NAIA outdoor national track meet, making him an All-American, after a ninth-place finish in the indoor nationals. Mullen made the 5000 indoor finals with a 14.54 time, and Wiseman got off to a good start in a new event, the 3000 steeplechase, after redshirting in cross country. "I am very proud of these guys," said Jacubowski, who has arranged for one of his college teammates who lives in Boulder to show them good training areas. "Giving up their summer to travel far away from friends and family just to train and better themselves as athletes shows how much this season means to them. I am very pleased we could make this work, because it took a lot of planning and saving on their end."
• Football coach Russ Huesman, running coach Bill Gautier and men's basketball coach Will Wade represented the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic department Friday morning in the Ronald McDonald House Charities "Day of Change." They collected patrons' change from 7 to 10 a.m. at McDonald's restaurants in Red Bank, in East Ridge and on Third Street, respectively, with mascot Scrappy joining Wade. The money will go to the 26-bedroom Ronald McDonald House near Erlanger Medical Center, the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Children's Hospital at Erlanger and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. The Day of Change pulled in more than $17,000 in Chattanooga last year.
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