Chattanooga State had the TCCAA coach of the year, Blythe Golden, plus the most valuable pitcher, Shelby Willard, and nine other all-conference softball players this season, and now the nationally sixth-ranked Lady Tigers are 50-6 and need only one more victory to return to the NJCAA Division I tournament in St. George, Utah. They beat 15th-ranked Walters State 6-0 in the TCCAA/Region VII winners-bracket final Saturday at Gallatin, Tenn., and will play today at 3 p.m. EDT for the championship, having to lose twice. All-league second-teamer Sharlene Godoy pitched a four-hitter with seven strikeouts -- "She threw amazing," Golden said -- and Khadija Neely and Emily Dagnan each had two RBIs while Lindsey Stickrod was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Baylee Williams had an RBI double. Infielders Williams and Neely, outfielder Courtney Crawford and utility selection Izzy McCurry joined Willard from the Lady Tigers on the All-TCCAA first team, and catcher Dagnan, infielder Dana Horgan and outfielders Katy Richardson and Elyse Ferguson were second-team picks along with Godoy. Cleveland State's Perry Hindi was the first-team catcher.
• Second-seeded Wesley Cash of Chattanooga and Mark Vines of Lynchburg, Va., play today for the men's 55 doubles title in the International Tennis Federation Seniors World Championships at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., after winning 6-2, 6-4 over Alex Pier of the United States and Ricor del Silva of Brazil on Saturday. The other semifinal, matching the first and fourth seeds, was rained out. Cash and Vines trailed 4-2 in the second set before closing out their match. Chattanoogan Sue Webb, representing Great Britain, joined Fran Chandler of the United States in reaching the women's 50 doubles semifinals against the top seeds from Australia with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Americans Tracy Houk and Anne Kerwin Payne. Webb lost 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 to sixth seed Marie-Christine Calleja of France in the singles quarterfinals. Chandler ended up beating Calleja in the final. Eighth-seeded Americans Erika Smith and Rick Leach got a walkover past Webb and Canadian Denis Dumas in the mixed doubles quarterfinals.
Track & Field
• Hixson High School's Kevin Yates signed papers this past week to continue his track and field career under coach Shawn Jakubowski at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens. "We had been recruiting him to join our growing sprint team," TWC assistant coach Thomas Barker said. "After his amazing performance at the Optimist meet, long-jumping 22-3.5, we knew we had a great recruit that we needed to sign. Not to mention his PR in the 400 of 50.39 seconds. He will be an excellent addition to our sprint team with excellent work ethic, great attitude and talent to back it up."
• Lee University had three second-place finishers in the National Christian College Athletic Association outdoor track and field meet the past three days in Rome, Ga.: Ashley Matthews in 38:37.12 in the women's 10,000-meter race, Mike Walker in 9:15.36 in the men's 3000 steeplechase and the men's 4x800 relay team of Walker, Adam Gullette, Terris Elliott and Emmanuel Kipchumba in 7:45.79. They all were All-Americans. Kipchumba was fourth in the 800, Seth Ruhling and Joseph Crook were fifth and sixth in the men's 10k and Walker was seventh in the 5000. Tennessee Temple's Blaine Ketchem was sixth in the men's pole vault, and Brandee Ebert was seventh in the women's 800. Host Shorter University won both overall team titles.
• Stephen Ricketts is staying on the college campus where he's most familiar to continue his soccer career. Ricketts, whose father has been a professor at Bryan College all of Stephen's life, recently signed to play for the Dayton school. A home-schooled student who has started four years for the reigning NACA national champion Chattanooga Patriots and also plays for Premier Soccer Academy, Ricketts led the Patriots with 12 goals from his center-back position in his junior season. "Stephen has a great work rate and dedication to the game that will help his transition from high school," new Lions coach Drew Courtney said in a school release. Said Ricketts: "As long as I can remember, I've been at Bryan watching games. I love the school."
• Covenant College was chosen the winner of the 2014 USA South Sportsmanship Trophy after being the sportsmanship winner in five sports in the NCAA Division III conference in this school year, as announced Friday by the USA South Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Covenant was honored for men's soccer, women's basketball, baseball, softball and men's tennis. One other school, Averett University, won three sportsmanship honors during the year.
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