Cancer survivors highlight prep Hits for Hope tournament

Cancer survivors highlight prep Hits for Hope tournament

April 8th, 2013 by Kelley Smiddie in Sports - Preps

Ginger Stiles, a sister of East Hamilton head coach Cara Stiles, is one of five breast-cancer survivors invited to throw ceremonial first pitches on Friday when Baylor hosted its first Hits for Hope high school softball tournament at Warner Park. The event raised more than $17,000 for the MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarship fund.

Ginger, who lives in McDonough, Ga., said she has been gone from Chattanooga for about 15 years, but knew MaryEllen Locher.

"It warmed my heart to see all those girls walking around in pink," she said. "It's a great cause. MaryEllen was such a wonderful person and she'd be so proud of an event like that. I was proud to do it."

Baylor coach Kelli Smith said a meeting among planners is scheduled Monday to discuss what went well and what can be improved. Plans for a second Hits for Hope will begin in earnest in September.

"Running a tournament is a lot of work in itself," Smith said. "So many people did things behind the scenes to make the event wonderful."

Patriots power on

Thanks to a healthy power surge over the weekend in the Hits for Hope tournament, Arts & Sciences four weeks into the season is averaging more than a home run per game.

CSAS coach Kaity Holloway said she's had batters in the Nos. 2 through 8 positions in the order hit home runs this season. Gabi Queener went 11-for-12 on Saturday and had two homers over the weekend, but it was teammate Kiara Suttles who put on the most powerful display.

"She's having a big weekend," Holloway said Saturday after CSAS had played its fourth tournament game. "She's already hit five, with one of those being a grand slam."

Suttles added another for the Lady Patriots, who played two more games and advanced to a semifinal. They now have 17 homers in 16 games.

Jackson jacked by jack

As athletic director at East Hamilton, Brad Jackson wants to see all the Hurricanes' and Lady Hurricanes' programs succeed all the time, almost. There have been a few precarious days like last Wednesday when the Lady 'Canes softball team hosted GPS, where his daughter, LeeAnn, plays.

With one on and two out in the third inning, LeeAnn drove a pitch over the fence. Dad was sitting in a chair down the right-field line.

"I wanted to jump up and yell, but I knew I couldn't do that against my own school," he said.

LeeAnn, a senior, also played basketball for the Bruisers, who won the softball game. Brad said when he attends games at GPS, "I don't wear too much green and black," the Hurricanes' school colors. But he did have his East Hamilton AD shirt on Wednesday.

"My daughter gave me a hard time," he said.

Contact Kelley Smiddie at or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at