The Amateur Baseball Association, a brand created and owned by the Amateur Softball Association, will hold its first national championships June 23-26 in Rossville, and teams are being sought for entry fees of only 99 cents. Stump Martin, Rossville’s city athletic director, acknowledged that the Dizzy Dean organization doesn’t charge entries for its World Series and the ABA wanted to be in that ballpark yet distinctive. There is a $25 ABA registration fee. “We’re going to have some qualifying tournaments next year, and we’ve already got Warner Park lined up for the nationals this same June weekend, but we’re just wanting to get this started this year,” Martin said. So far, interest has been high in the 8-under age group but slight in the others, going up to 16-under, according to Ron Bryan. “But even if we have a real good tournament for 8-unders, that’s a start,” Bryan said.
• The 71st Tennessee Women’s Amateur Championship golf tournament will run Monday through Friday at Blackthorn Club in Jonesborough, and as always it will include a significant number of Chattanooga-area players. And the champion’s trophy is named for Scott L. Probasco, a longtime Chattanooga benefactor of the sport and husband of the most accomplished women’s amateur golfer in the state’s history. A stroke-play round Monday will set the field for match play beginning Tuesday. Nashville’s Calle Nielson, the reigning state amateur player of the year, will be back to defend her tournament title, and Kendall Martindale from Jefferson City should be a top challenger as the 2009 champion and a soon-to-be Vanderbilt freshman. Area players entered are Jordan Britt, Haley Cothran, Debbie Durham, Maddi Everts, Georgia McCravey, Pam Morrow, Linda Mullins, Jean Roise and 2010 senior amateur of the year Maggie Scott.
• Jamie Perry won the Steel Head Late Model race at Boyd’s Speedway for the second consecutive week Friday night, with fellow Ringgold resident Kevin Gibson second and Rick Hixson, John Owenby and Todd Morrow completing the top five. Maryville’s Jason Welshan won the Crate Late Model class while mourning the death of his uncle Red Cable earlier in the day. Jeff Smith was second and David Tindell was third. Booger Brooks and Jason Brown won the A-Hobby and B-Hobby races with Chuck Cooper and Corey Sanders their runners-up, and Matt Patton was the Front Runner victor with Tommy Gilbert second. Boyd’s is taking this Friday off.
• Matt Sanders is leaving basketball and golf assistant coach positions at Lee University to be the head women’s basketball coach at Truett-McConnell College. He’ll still work in Cleveland — just Cleveland, Ga., instead of Cleveland, Tenn. Sanders was a student assistant coach at Lee in the late 1990s and returned in 2008 to pursue a master’s degree and help men’s basketball coach Tommy Brown. After obtaining the master’s, he assisted Marty Rowe with women’s basketball and John Maupin with both golf programs. “I’ll always be thankful to Coach Brown and Coach Rowe for allowing me to be a part of their programs,” he said in a Lee release. “They are two of the best in the business.” Sanders was the head boys’ coach and athletic director at Heirway Christian Academy in Douglasville, Ga., for six years but begins his college head-coaching career with a relatively new NAIA program that won five Southern States Athletic Conference games last year. Only two starters return for the Bears, and Sanders said he hopes to sign five players this summer. “I’m excited. I want to be part of helping Truett-McConnell begin something great in women’s basketball.” He added that the school “is growing rapidly,” and new TMC athletic director Chris Eppling recently announced the additions of volleyball and wrestling as varsity sports.
• New Lee University men’s soccer coach Paul Furey recently announced his first official signee, Jermaine Kareem Gordon from University School of Nashville. Coached by Gordon’s father, USN won the Division II-A state championship in 2010 and was 19-0 before losing to Evangelical Christian in the state playoffs this year. Gordon, a strong-legged forward, was his region’s player of the year and the most valuable player of the Tournament of Champions. “I selected Lee because of its strong academics, great soccer program and fantastic environment,” he said.
• Sarah Jennifer Harper from Murrayville, Ga., and North Hall High School signed scholarship papers Friday to join the Lee University running programs. “Sarah will be a strong addition to our women’s cross country team,” Lee coach Don Jayroe said in a school release. “She is a disciplined, dedicated runner who will be in our top five runners in cross country. We believe she can also run well in the 800 meters and mile during track season.” Her best times at North Hall were 20:30 for 5 kilometers, 5:58 in the 1600, 2:38 in the 800 and 1:06 in the 400.
• OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Payton Smith and Sarah Anderson of Chattanooga Junior Rowing were fourth in their lightweight double scull semifinal heat Saturday in the USRowing youth nationals on Melton Hill Lake.
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