published Monday, April 29th, 2013

UTC softball honors seniors despite rain

  • photo
    UTC softball player, Sara Poteat, a Freshman from Thomaston, Ga., poses for a portrait at the UTC hitting facility at Warner Park in Chattanooga.
    Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    UTC infielder, Ninjja Suetsugu, waits for a pitch during the Frost Classic final against Missouri State in this file photo.
    Photo by Connor Choate /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The rain washed away the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team's weekend series against Samford, but it didn't dampen the Lady Mocs' senior day festivities Sunday.

All three games against the Bulldogs were canceled because of soggy conditions over the weekend, keeping UTC from picking up some much-needed Southern Conference wins as the regulare season winds down.

But Sunday was about the seniors, even if the couldn't take the field. The team, joined by family and friends, gathered in UTC's indoor hitting facility at Warner Park to recognize the team's three seniors: Sara Poteat, Ninjja Suetsugu and Kasey Tydingco.

"This was more special to do senior day this way rather than before the game," Poteat said. "We've been so depressed all weekend because we couldn't play, but these girls put in so much work to make this a special day for us."

Poteat and Tydingco have been major contributors all four years in Chattanooga, anchoring the infield at first and second base since their arrival and helping the team earn SoCon championships during their freshman and sophomore years.

Suetsugu is playing her second season for UTC after playing her first two seasons at Miami-Dade Community College. A native of Brazil, Suetsugu had to move from her natural position as a middle infielder to playing catcher this season to fill in for injured teammates.

"It is crazy, because honestly I'm not a catcher," she said. "The last time I played catcher before this year was when I was 12. But the season came and Coach [Frank] Reed came and said that he needed me to play catcher, and I'll do whatever I can for the team."

With a doubleheader at Alabama-Birmingham on Tuesday, a final SoCon series at Elon this weekend and the conference tournament beginning May 8, UTC's seniors were sentimental about the upcoming end of their college careers.

"There's a lot that goes into playing a college sport," Tydingco said. "You sacrifice a lot of stuff in high school ... but then you get to see it all pay off. I don't regret anything I've done here. I think I picked the perfect school for me.

"I've made friends for the rest of my life."

Contact Jim Tanner at or 423-757-6478.

about Jim Tanner...

Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...

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