Chelsi Roark, a Sale Creek team captain and all-state selection, recently signed a volleyball scholarship with Bryan College. She helped the Class A Lady Panthers win a school-record 49 victories and the District 6-A and Region 3 titles on the way to the program's first state tournament, where they finished third.
Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill said she expects Roark, who had a team-high 555 digs last fall, to be a defensive specialist for the Lady Lions. Roark also totaled 315 kills for the Lady Panthers and contributed 88 aces.
"She played all the way around for us," Hill said of Roark, who plans to major in business. "She led us on defense, and she's a smart offensive player. She uses her knowledge of the volleyball game to her advantage.
"She's really a nice girl and I think the environment at Bryan will be a good fit for her."
Roark said she was in middle school when she began dreaming of playing college athletics. She also said Bryan was a school she had considered attending regardless, so when coach David Shumaker started talking to her, she was plenty interested.
"I really liked it because of the small atmosphere," Roark said. "I really loved how the school seemed comfortable and warm. I really enjoyed the way it made me feel. It's real personal."
Pounder Classic time
Central's annual Pounder Classic baseball tournament is scheduled for Thursday-Sunday at Hixson and Central.
It includes Goodpasture Christian, Morristown West and Jefferson of Lafayette, Ind., along with the host Purple Pounders, Hixson and Cleveland. The championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Central.
Scenic City success
The final four softball teams in the Lady Bruins Classic at Brentwood this past weekend were the teams from Hamilton County that entered the tournament. After beating Ooltewah in a semifinal Saturday, Soddy-Daisy edged Baylor 5-4 in the final. The Lady Red Raiders defeated Central in the other semifinal.
Haley Reynolds had a walk-off home run in one game and was among Soddy-Daisy's offensive standouts along with Cassidy Hackney and Hannah Smith before she was hit by a pitch, injuring her hand in a quarterfinal against Karns. Kelsey Nunley earned four pitching victories, totaling 36 strikeouts in 23 innings.
"We hit the ball well at times, and I threw Nunley almost every game," Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk said, explaining how his team went 6-0-1 combined in pool play and single-elimination.
Marion wins Madness
Marion County slipped past host Hixson 5-4 on Saturday and claimed the championship in the Lady Wildcat March Madness softball tournament.
The Lady Warriors were 5-0 in the rain-marred tournament. Coach Chris Thomas said the games averaged about five innings each. Kelsey Thomas had a 3-0 pitching record and joined Keli Bruning and Brooke Baxter with better than .500 batting averages in the tournament for the Lady Warriors.
"We had a few doubles and triples in there that really came at some good times in some cases," Coach Thomas said.
Rhea is Classic champ
Rhea County defeated Sequatchie County 6-0 in the Black-division softball final at Dayton in Meigs County's Lady Tiger Classic, which was shortened to Saturday only because of rain Friday.
Hanna Manley, who was the winning pitcher in four of the Lady Golden Eagles' five wins, allowed three hits in six innings in the final. Paige Mason went 3-for-3, Manley doubled twice and Alyssa Greenwood homered in an 8-0 semifinal victory over Sullivan East.
Bradley Central beat Midway in the final of the Orange bracket, which was for teams not finishing in the upper halves of their pools.
Staff writer Ward Gossett contributed to this story.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.