Fourth-seeded Chattanooga State blasted Darton State 10-1 in five innings in the first round of the NJCAA Division I softball national tournament Wednesday at St. George, Utah, and plays 12th seed North Central Texas at 7 EDT tonight. North Central Texas upset fifth seed Butler 5-2. Baylee Williams doubled twice and homered and Izzy McCurry ripped a pinch-hit homer for the Lady Tigers (52-6), who got outstanding pitching from Shelby Willard and a throwout from left field to the plate by Katy Richardson. Top-seeded Arizona Western won 5-1 over Spartanburg Methodist, but third seed Tallahassee lost 1-0 to No. 14 San Jacinto-South.
• Bryan College's longest softball season finally ended Wednesday -- in a rainout. The Lady Lions' scheduled game against top-seeded host Auburn-Montgomery in the NAIA nationals' opening-round series was declared a wash, and the Warhawks advanced by rule as the undefeated team of the series. Bryan (31-24) had won close two games Tuesday night, 9-8 against Houston-Victoria and 2-0 in 11 innings over Indiana University Southeast, when Kaitie Sims pitched the six-hit shutout and Heidi Daniel had two hits and the two 11th-inning RBIs. Sims also was the starting pitcher against the Texas team, but Sarah Hundley finished and got the win. Daniel had two hits, an RBI and a run against Houston-Victoria, while Heather Daniel had two hits and two RBIs, Katelyn Bowen also had two RBIs and Olivia Gore and Taylor Yates matched the Daniel sisters with two hits each, Gore scoring twice along with Mariam Wood.
• Third-seeded Lee University began pool play Wednesday in the National Christian College Athletic Association national baseball tournament at Mason, Ohio, with a surpising 6-1 loss to Toccoa Falls, and the Flames' scheduled second game of the day -- against Lancaster of Pennsylvania -- was delayed by rain until 10 this morning. They are set to play Friday against Trevecca Nazarene at 2 p.m. and against Cedarville at 5. Dylan Charles pitched a three-hitter with only an unearned ninth-inning run as Toccoa (34-16) ended Lee's 10-game winning streak. Michael Sneed drove in two runs and Will Patrick was 2-for-4 and scored twice for the Eagles. Lee (33-18) did have good news from the pre-tournament banquet as senior relief pitcher Jeremy Bales from Chattanooga received the NCCAA's top baseball honor, the Hank Burbridge Outstanding Christian Leadership Award. "Words cannot describe how blessed and honored I am to win this award," Bales said in a Lee release. "God continues to show how faithful he is to me every day. This award excels above any other award that I could ever win because it is an award for spiritual leadership, baseball and academics."
• Sixth-seeded Covenant College lost 11-3 to top seed Shenandoah in the opener of the NCAA Division III South baseball tournament Wednesday at Demorest, Ga. The first two batters for Shenandoah (32-9) were each 4-for-6 and combined to score three runs and bat in three, and the cleanup man was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Alex Kerr was 2-for-4 and scored twice for Covenant (26-14), and Scott Gillespie was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Chris Rollins was 2-for-5. The Scots play a losers-bracket game at noon today.
• The Bryan baseball season ended Wednesday in an 8-1 loss to Cumberland University in the losers-bracket final of the NAIA opening-round series in Kingsport, Tenn. Cody Rhinehart had two hits and Justin Morhardt had the RBI for Bryan (35-28), which was tied at 1 after the top of the fifth inning. Josciel Veras had a two-run homer and another RBI and Ricky Coleman collected three hits for the Bulldogs (43-19), wh0 then beat top-seeded Missouri Baptist 6-4 to force an extra championship game.
• Sewanee's Emily Javadi from Chattanooga moved up from a tie for 23rd to a tie for eighth at 157 with a 4-over-par 76 Wednesday in the NCAA Division III women's golf tournament at Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort at Orlando, Fla. Three of the players ahead of her in relation to par are among those whose rounds were suspended by darkness after two delays for thunder. The leader is at 8 over par, five ahead of Javadi's group.
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