Two former Times Free Press Best of Preps honorees are set to continue their college softball careers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Mocs coach Frank Reed announced the additions of pitcher Brooke Parrott and catcher/utility player Kaili Phillips on Wednesday, with both eligible to play next school year. Parrott, who is from Harrison and starred at Central High School, is coming from Chattanooga State. Phillips, who is from Ooltewah and excelled for Silverdale Baptist Academy, is transferring from Tennessee.
Phillips earned all-freshman and first-year academic honor roll recognition from the Southeastern Conference in 2019, and this year she started 21 of the 22 games in which she appeared for the Lady Volunteers, whose season was canceled after 23 games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As a freshman, Phillips appeared in 51 games (50 starts), playing catcher most of the time but also in the outfield, and she hit .246 with 10 home runs, three doubles, 16 walks, 30 runs and 36 RBIs, which ranked third among the Lady Vols. Her defense was also stellar as she recorded a .995 fielding percentage and committed just one error in 196 chances.
Her 11 RBIs this season were fourth on the team. Phillips, who was No. 77 in the FloSoftball national rankings coming out of high school, will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mocs, according to their release.
"We recruited Kaili out of high school and knew then she was going to be an impact player at the next level," Reed said in the release. "She truly changes the dynamics of Mocs softball."
"We are so excited to get such an awesome ballplayer, student-athlete and individual in Kaili," he added.
Parrott will have two years of eligibility with the Mocs after playing close to 1 1/2 seasons for the Lady Tigers, who also had their 2020 schedule significantly shortened by the pandemic.
During her time at Chattanooga State, Parrott was 25-6 with a 2.14 ERA and struck out 253 batters in 217 2/3 innings. As a freshman, she made the NJCAA Division I All-America third team, and she was a TCCAA/Region VII all-conference first-team honoree and its pitcher of the year.
She threw four no-hitters and had four double-digit strikeout performances as a freshman, when she won 20 games and helped the Tigers go 43-10 and win their region. During her Central career, she threw two perfect games and 19 no-hitters while helping the team win its district and region all four years.
"Those who have followed Brooke's career know that she will bring a winning mindset to the team. You can look at all her accomplishments and know she is a winner," Reed said in UTC's release announcing her transfer. "We're excited about keeping such a great local talent in Chattanooga."
Linked in with UTC
UTC women's golf coach Colette Murray announced four signees for the 2020-21 roster on Wednesday, all of them international players: Beatriz Barrios from Seville, Spain, Jefimija Dordevic from Belgrade, Serbia, Rachel Thompson from Cork, Ireland, and Daphne van Son from Vlijmen, the Netherlands.
Thompson, who comes from the University of Stirling, will be a redshirt sophomore; the other three are incoming freshmen. The group's individual honors include Barrios holding a top-300 ranking in Europe, Dordevic being a four-time winner on the Serbian amateur tour, Thompson being a member of Ireland's national teams for both girls' and women's competition and van Son having represented her country in the same fashion.
UTC's release announcing the additions called them "a deep class joining a diverse returning group" of four Mocs from 2019-20, when the spring season was limited to two events because of the pandemic.
That experienced quartet includes England's Esme Hamilton, who as a sophomore this past season broke the program's 18-hole scoring record with an opening 65 and tied the 54-hole record at 205 while finishing third at the Princess Anne Invitational. Classmates Michaela Kulhankova of the Czech Republic and Dorota Zalewska of Poland also bring two years of experience, and former Sale Creek standout Hannah Holland is set to begin her collegiate career after redshirting this school year.
Mocs snap him up
The UTC football program picked up a commitment Wednesday from Bryce Coulson, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound long snapper who previously played at Eastern Illinois.
According to his Twitter page, the Brisbane, Australia, native is expected to graduate in July and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2020.
Coulson played in nine games in 2019, serving as the primary long snapper on punts. Prior to that he spent a year at Pima Community College in Arizona, playing five games as the long snapper. After that season he attended the Kohl's Kicking, Punting and Long Snapping Western Showcase.
Three jobs well done
The Mocs' men's tennis, volleyball and women's cross country programs all finished in the top 10% of their sports in NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores for the most recent data collected, according to a UTC release.
It keeps up a streak of success for the Mocs, who have had at least one team listed since the NCAA began announcing such recognition in 2011. The Southern Conference had 26 teams honored this year, with Furman and Mercer having five apiece.
States the release: "APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport. All teams must meet an academic threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance. UTC sets an internal goal of 950 for its teams to meet to help provide a cushion for APR penalties. The most recent APRs are multiyear rates based on scores from the 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years."
APR numbers for all Division I teams will be announced next Tuesday.
Volleyball signees shine
The UTC volleyball program's 2020 signing class was one of 40 that received honorable mention to a list of the nation's top 30 classes by PrepVolleyball.com. UTC was the only SoCon program on the list.
The Mocs' 2020 signees were Sophia Bossong, Sarah Flynn, Paige Gallentine, Hayden McGee, Kate Neill and Emma Perkins.
"This is a talented, skilled, athletic, decorated and hard-working class who have won at very high levels, want to be great and help bring Chattanooga volleyball back to the top of the Southern Conference," Mocs coach Travis Filar said. "However, even more importantly, these individuals have strong character, are selfless teammates, driven competitors and come from incredible families."
Help Mocs help 'Hometown Heroes'
UTC and Jack's restaurants have announced a "Hometown Heroes" campaign for the 2020 football season that will send "front-line workers" to the Mocs' Sept. 19 opener against North Alabama and raise money for local families in need.
Donations can be made at GoMocs.com. According to UTC's release, for every $10 donated, a front-line worker will receive a game ticket and a meal from Jack's, and a portion of every donation will go to the Jack's Family Fund to help struggling local families and the organizations that serve them.
"I think this is a great opportunity to not only support UTC football, but also show some appreciation for those individuals who have been at the forefront of battling the COVID-19 pandemic," UTC athletic director Mark Wharton said in the release. "I personally donated to this cause, and I hope you will, too."