published Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Kirk earns Tennessee softball group award and other sprts news

Sale Creek softball coach Clifford Kirk has been one of three selected for induction into the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Kirk, who is the representative from East Tennessee, guided two teams to TSSAA Class AAA state softball championships while at Hixson in the late 1980s. Later led eight Soddy-Daisy teams to Class AAA titles before coming to Class A Sale Creek two seasons ago. The TSCA has also announced its all-state teams for 2014. They can be seen online at tnsca.com

Running

• Jacob Robinson of Hiram (Ga.) High School has signed to run cross country for Dalton State College. He has been running competitively for only two years, according to DSC co-coach Andy Meyer, but has a time of 15 minutes, 58 seconds for five kilometers and set cross country records for that distance on the White Oaks (16:36) and Fox Hills Farms (15:59) courses. He led Hiram to its AAAAA region championship last fall. Also, he has run the 3200 meters in 9:48 and was second by a second in the 1600 in this year's Dalton Rotary Club Ronnie McClurg Invitational meet. Still, Meyer called him "an unknown talent" in a Roadrunners release. "He has accomplished so much in just two years of running. ... We literally have no clue as to what his potential could be," Meyer said.

Basketball

• Hunter Griffin from the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School class of 2012 has signed with Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tenn., to begin his collegiate basketball career. "He's just been around town the last two years. I'm fired up that he's decided to go on to college," LFO assistant coach Mark Oliver said Wednesday. "He was one of the hardest workers we've ever had here, and he's one of those high-character kids every coach wants on his team." The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Griffin played power forward for the Warriors but will be a guard at Hiwassee. "He earned his way," Oliver said. "He played three years of junior varsity but decided before his senior year that he wanted to be part of the varsity, and he went out and did it. He worked beyond what we did, and anybody who knows how Coach [Jerry] Jones runs this program knows that's pretty hard."

Softball

• Tennessee catcher Annie Aldrete and Auburn's Kasey Cooper were co-winners of the inaugural NCAA Division I softball national freshman of the year award, selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Aldrete was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference and All-Southeast Region selection for her .361 batting average, .470 on-base percentage, .813 slugging percentage and team highs of 19 home runs and 65 RBIs, along with 14 doubles, 29 walks and 37 runs scored. In 15 games against ranked teams, she hit .333 with six homers, four doubles and 17 RBIs.

Academics

• Lee University tied for third most spring sports athletes listed on the Gulf South Conference academic honor roll for 2014. That requires a 3.0 grade point average for the year. The Cleveland school had 45, seven fewer than West Florida and four fewer than Shorter. The baseball Flames had 11, women's tennis had 10 and softball had nine.

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