published Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Fastpitch Softball: Two-day delay for Bryan history

The first fastpitch softball games in the history of Bryan College were supposed to be played today at Brenau University. Because of rain in the region, however, coach Rocky Stinson and his Lady Lions must wait two days. The doubleheader in Gainesville, Ga., has been rescheduled to Monday at 4 p.m.

"We're ready to play, so the girls are a little disappointed," Stinson said Friday, "but it's just a couple of days, so they're OK with that. You want to get the best quality field you can for your first college game, and it will be dryer and about 10 degrees warmer Monday."

The Lady Lions will host a tournament at Delaware Park in Dayton in two weeks and are scheduled to play the first game on their campus field on Feb. 22. The foul poles and scoreboard still need to be erected, but completion is close.

Stinson, 31, was hired in August 2009 after three years at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky., where he took the softball team to the Christian college national tournament all three seasons. His assistant is Vicki McCoy, a former Ringgold and Chattanooga State standout. The Lady Lions went 4-6 in fall exhibitions.

"We're young, but most of the girls came out of winning high school and travel programs," Stinson said. "I think we'll win some ballgames. I think we can compete in our [Appalachian Athletic] conference right out of the gate."

He has two players with college experience: sophomore pitcher Leighann Henry from Nashville by way of Christian Brothers University and Rhea County's Jennifer Keener from Covenant College. Katie Vaughn from Northwest Whitfield is a defensive specialist who probably will start at second base and play some outfield and "could hit .290 or .300," Stinson said.

Beka James from Washington state and Kirstie Jennings from Meigs County are slap hitters who likely will bat first and second, and fellow outfielder Emily Crush from Sweetwater is a slapper with gap power who will bat down in the order. The main power hitters are third baseman Brooklyn Jenkins from Dickson, Tenn., and Rachel Kirby from Cumming, Ga.

The No. 1 pitcher is Shanna Chappell from Martin, Tenn., who was the subject of a (Memphis) Commercial Appeal column last spring for organizing a Westview High fundraiser to get a pitching machine for an inner-city Memphis team that Westview regularly beat in state sectionals. She has a "nasty curveball" as her out pitch, Stinson said, while 6-footer Amber Love of Clarksville has the best velocity among the pitchers and Henry is a drop-ball specialist.

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