The crack of the bat sound coming from AT&T Field will sound a little different for the next few days. Instead of the wooden bat smack of the Chattanooga Lookouts and their opponents, composite bats will be connecting during the Gulf South Conference baseball championship, which begins at 10 this morning.
This is the first time the GSC tournament has been played at AT&T Field. The event was held in Rome, Ga., last season. Chattanooga Sports Committee president Tim Morgan helped bring the tournament to Chattanooga, along with Lookouts president and general manager Rich Mozingo.
Youth baseball and softball players that wear their uniforms to the games will get in for free. Each ticket is good for the whole day's slate of games, which includes four today and Friday. Adult tickets are $8, youth ages 6-15 $5 and children 5 and under get in free
"I don't know where else you're going to find that package," Morgan said. "This was an opportunity for the sports committee and the Chattanooga Lookouts to give back to the community, and that's the message we're trying to get out there."
The top seed in the tournament is regular-season champion Delta State (38-7-1), which is also ranked No. 1 in Division II's writers' poll. The Statesmen won the GSC regular-season and tournament titles in 2012 and lost in the NCAA D-II championship game.
Alabama-Huntsville (33-13-1) is the No. 2 seed and is ranked No. 21, while third-seeded West Florida (34-10) is ranked No. 14. In this week's Collegiate Baseball poll, Delta State is No. 2, West Florida No. 10 and Alabama-Huntsville No. 23.
"The expectation is, we're going to see some high-quality baseball," Morgan said.
There isn't a local team in the eight-team field, which guarantees a neutral field, but No. 7 seed West Georgia (24-22) has some local flavor. The Carrollton, Ga., based Wolves have several players that started their college careers at Chattanooga State, including Baylor School grad Chase Riemer and McMinn Central High School alum Dylan Coleman.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.