Chattanooga State’s baseball team opens its 2013 season on Saturday when the Tigers travel to Covington, Ga., to take on Georgia Perimeter College at 1 p.m.
This season will mark Head Coach Greg Dennis’ 10th year at the helm of the Tigers. Currently he sports a 354–168 overall record at the school and a 702–570 mark for his JUCO career coaching.
“It seems like just yesterday I was arriving here and going to work building the type of program I felt would be most reflective of the college and the community in general,” said Coach Dennis.
“That first year or two was really difficult as we turned the culture around here, but with the hard work of countless players that bought in to our philosophy here and the support of the administration and campus community, we made it happen and have become a very respected program in this region and nationally.”
Chattanooga State has been nationally ranked 5 of the past 6 years and been as high as #1 nationally (2007) and #2 nationally (2011) as well as making the program's first trip ever to Grand Junction, CO for the JUCO World Series ( 2010 ).
“It has been a great run so far and we are excited about the prospects for this season and the work that lies ahead,” said Dennis.
The 2013 team is built like most of Dennis’ previous teams have been around speed and athleticism with a mixture of good solid pitching and defense added in. With a number of returning players and some really solid additions arriving, this team has the chance to put up another “notch” on the Tiger’s baseball belt, he said.
Offensively, the team should be led by 3 sophomores that should shoulder the brunt of the work. Jordan McDonald ( .343, 2, 43) is a returning shortstop from Australia that will be a middle of the order hitter. Aaron Wright and Casey Mannion are both transfers that should surround McDonald in the middle of the order. “All three of these guys are phenomenal hitters and should give us a very potent middle of the order if they hit like they are capable of hitting,” said Dennis. Others who should factor in to the offense include sophomore transfer Marquis Webb, returnees Tyler Garner and Zach Lance, and freshmen Read Walden, Shelden Brogden and Austin Swayze.
On the mound the Tigers return a number of guys that threw quality innings last year and should carry a huge part of the load this spring. Colton Kinnamon, Tyler McClure, Alex Ridge, Carson Bryant and Brooks Taylor threw considerable innings last year, while Mark Harris red-shirted last year and threw a good number of innings in 2011. “This gives us a great core of guys that have experience at this level and hopefully will be ready to challenge hitters and put us in position to win games,” said Dennis of his staff. Kinnamon ( 4-0, 3.41, 25 ) and McClure ( 4-3, 3.63, 45 ) started a number of conference games last year, while Ridge ( 7-3, 3.72, 52 ) and Bryant ( 6-0, 1,79, 47 ) were consistent weekday starters with quality innings. Tyler Troutt and Adam Weldon are freshmen pitchers that should contend for quality innings this spring with Troutt being a guy that could be a conference starter with his solid left-handed stuff, the coach said.
All in all it looks like the Tigers have the making of another great season and, with the continued hard work and determination shown by Coach Dennis and his staff, as well as, the players in the program, there is no reason to expect anything less.
“We just want to invite everyone out to watch some games at our ball park and enjoy the renovations and additions out here as well as follow us on Facebook and our website during this spring,” said Dennis, “We are excited about these guys and where their season is going to go as well as our program and the direction it is taking.”