With a five-inning one-hitter by undefeated Shelby Willard, the league's pitcher of the year, top-seeded Chattanooga State defeated host Volunteer State 8-0 in the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII softball tournament Friday evening at Gallatin, Tenn. Vol State earlier edged Roane State 9-8, and Walters State defeated Columbia State 9-1 and faces Chatt State this afternoon in the winners-bracket final. The championship matchup is set for 3 p.m. EDT Sunday. Syndey Sloan doubled and singled and batted in three runs, Lindsey Stickrod had a two-run single and Izzy McCurry had the pinch-hit single that ended the game for the Lady Tigers (49-6), whose Blythe Golden was coach of the year in her second year as a head coach. In the baseball tournament, Motlow edged Vol State 2-1 on a two-run homer by Luke Toms but later lost 10-3 to top-seeded Columbia State. No. 2 seed Walters State nipped Jackson State 4-3.
• Former Soddy-Daisy softball standout Kelsey Nunley was honored this week as the overall "Female Rookie of the Year" at the University of Kentucky for her pitching exploits in her freshman season last spring, and softball was one of two UK female teams of the year for its program-record 41 wins and NCAA super regional appearance. Nunley's male counterpart was Julius Randle from the men's basketball team. Since the athletic banquet is held while the spring season is in progress, spring achievements from the previous school year are included with the fall and winter sports of the current year. After going 27-11 with a 2.14 earned run average and 193 strikeouts in 269 innings last year, Nunley is 21-6 with one save, a 2.13 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 177 innings this season.
• The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga begins its final regular-season series of the 2014 softball season with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. today against visiting Western Carolina at Jim Frost Stadium. Senior day recognition will precede the 2 p.m. Sunday game. UTC, 27-19 overall, is 10-7 in Southern Conference play and in third place behind Georgia Southern (14-4) and Furman (11-6). WCU is 8-10 in the league, 18-19 overall. The 15th annual Lady Moc Softball Appreciation Dinner is set for Monday at the Stadium Club in Finley Stadium -- social hour at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 -- and tickets will be sold during the WCU games. They cost $15. Places also can be reserved by calling Mike Burke at 877-2080 or 315-2046. Coach Frank Reed and chief assistant Amy Herrington-Woodard will be present at a game-day breakfast this morning at 9 at Wally's Restaurant on McCallie Avenue, and the public is invited; reservations are not needed.
• Annie Aldrete hit two home runs and Rainey Gaffin had five RBIs as nationally eighth-ranked Tennessee opened its Southeastern Conference softball series against Mississippi with an 11-6 victory after trailing 6-0 in the third inning Friday. Aldrete and Gaffin each was 2-for-3, Aldrete adding three RBIs, for the Lady Vols (40-9, 15-7).
• Manker Patten teaching pro Wesley Cash and partner Mark Vines of Lynchburg, Va. -- the No. 2 seeds -- reached today's men's 55 doubles semifinals in the ITF Seniors World Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with a 6-1, 6-3 win Friday over the sixth seeds, Michael Gary Ford of Austria and Thomas Werner of Germany.
• Baylor School senior Matt Clendenen has committed to continue his education and basketball career at Sewanee, Baylor coach Austin Clark has confirmed. "I am excited that Matt is going to Sewanee. It is a great academic institution. The chance to play basketball at the college level is just gravy on the biscuit," Clark said. "He is going to be playing for a fine coach in Coach [Bubba] Smith." Clendenen averaged 18 points, five rebounds and two assists a game as a senior and was Division II all-state. He made the Times Free Press Best of Preps second team.
• The largest youth select soccer tournament ever held in the Chattanooga area will run today and Sunday at the North River, Redoubt and Camp Jordan complexes. More than doubling in size from its 2013 debut, the Scenic City Cup event includes boys' and girls' divisions from under-8 to U-18, and more than 110 of the 150-plus teams are from out of town. "This represents an estimated $528,000 of direct economic impact associated with this weekend soccer tournament," Chattanooga Sports Committee president Tim Morgan said in an announcement release. His organization has worked with the Chattanooga Football Club, the East Ridge Futbol Club and the North River and Redoubt soccer associations in planning the tournament.