Soddy-Daisy senior and Kentucky signee Kelsey Nunley has been selected the Gatorade Tennessee softball player of the year. This is the 27th year of Gatorade, now in collaboration with ESPNHS, honoring the nation's best high school athletes who achieve excellence in their sports, maintain high academic standards and demonstrate exemplary character. Nunley compiled a 36-4 pitching record with an earned run average of 0.45 this spring in helping Soddy-Daisy to a 46-5 record. The Lady Trojans won the Class AAA state championship with Nunley posting a 4-1 pitching record at the state tournament with a 0.60 ERA, 60 strikeouts and three walks. She ended the season with 401 strikeouts and 21 walks in 246 innings pitched. "She got better each year," retiring Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk said. "Other coaches have talked to me about how good she is and how difficult it is to even get baserunners against her. Her competitiveness is what sets her apart." Nunley also registered a 3.57 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has donated time as a youth softball instructor. Grace Academy's Lacye Walker was the state's Gatorade player in 2011 and this year was a key contributor on Chattanooga State's NJCAA Division I national-championship team. Current University of Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe was the 2010 honoree.
• Lee University second baseman Blake Barber signed a free-agent contract Friday morning with the Miami Marlins, following Lee pitcher Vance Spilker (Arizona) and Jorge Saez (Toronto) and Flames recruit Gabby Roa (Texas) in signing deals after being drafted this week. Eighth-round pick Kris Hall will undergo a physical and then sign with the Oakland Athletics, and Patrick Merkling and Andy Hillis are expected to sign as well with the Marlins and St. Louis. Barber, a senior transfer from Cal State Fullerton, led the Flames (56-11-1) with a .403 batting average and had nine home runs among 34 extra-base hits. He was the SSAC player of the year and a first-team NAIA All-American. "We are extremely excited Blake is getting this opportunity," said Lee coach Mark Brew, predicting that Barber may be moved to the outfield. "He is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached, and his leadership and on-field play were a huge part of our success this season."
• The annual "Stump On Sports" Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic involving recent graduates from area high schools is set for 7:30 tonight at Ringgold's rebuilt Don Patterson Field. Introductions are to start at 7. Tennessee leads the series 5-3, but Georgia won last year. The head coaches are Houston White and Robert Akins. The Tennessee-Georgia soccer games will be today as well, starting with the girls' match at 1:30 at Finley Stadium. The boys' game will follow at about 3:30.
• GALLATIN, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt All-American Lauren Stratton of Spring Hill won the 72nd Tennessee Women's Amateur golf championship Friday by defeating Oakland's Ashley Averitt 4 and 2 at Foxland Harbor Golf Club. Averitt just completed her Austin Peay career; Stratton has a year of college to go.
Get breaking news from the Times Free Press on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timesfreepress