published Friday, June 7th, 2013

Brookshire chases pro opportunity

Chase Brookshire knows he doesn't have the wow factor when it comes to baseball's annual player draft.

He's a left-handed pitcher with 25 college wins in four seasons, but he doesn't throw in the mid- to high-90s in miles per hour. He's 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds. He's also a senior with no options.

"The draft is interesting and a little scary," the former McCallie School and Belmont University standout said. "I don't really have many expectations, because I don't know what to expect. There are so many guys in each draft room, and they probably have 700 to 800 names on their boards."

Brookshire filled out questionnaires for slightly more than half of the big-league teams, but he does not have an agent or adviser.

"I don't expect to be in the top five or 10 rounds," he said. "It depends on the team. If a team needs a left-hander, then rounds 10-25 will be awesome for me. I'll be happy to get out and go play this summer.

"For me it's more about playing and getting the opportunity. I've played this game since I was 5 years old. It's been a part of every summer for me, and I just hope I get an opportunity to continue to do that."

Clubs that do the extra homework will see in Brookshire a guy who's pitched the tough games and been named to an NCAA regional all-tournament team, a guy whose stock has risen right along with the speed on his fastball. The velocity has increased every year, bumping from the mid-80s his freshman year when he had no thoughts of ever being drafted to the low 90s this year.

"It depends on the outing -- some days 87-90 and then maybe 88-91 depending on the adrenaline," he said.

His forte is control. He struck out 82 while walking 12 in 71 innings for Belmont this year.

"Not having that power arm, control's what I rely on," he said. "I'm left-handed and I'm able to spot four pitches (fastball, changeup, cut fastball and curveball)."

Brookshire has prepared himself for life apart from baseball, earning a business degree in four years with a 3.75 grade point average.

He was nominated for the NCAA's premier award for senior student-athletes because of his extracurricular activities in addition to the baseball and academic accomplishments. Among other things, he was co-president of Belmont's student-athlete advisory committee and president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. He also was the baseball team captain and worked extensively in the Nashville area with the homeless and in camps for inner-city schools and Christmas projects for underprivileged children.

"I hope he gets an opportunity [to play pro baseball]," said Chris Richardson, his coach at McCallie. "All Chase has ever done his entire career is help his team win games and get outs -- no matter the level of competition. He has always been a class competitor and human being."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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