Cleveland State Cougars And Lady Cougars Look To Make Noise In Tournament

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - by Bryan Grisham
It's tournament time in Tennessee. The Regular season is just a recent memory now as the Cleveland State baseball and softball teams will turn their attention to the NJCAA/TCCAA Region VII Conference Tournament.
 
The new tournament format of a year ago, where only the top four teams qualified for postseason play didn't sit well with a lot of folks, so the format has been changed this year in an attempt to be fair to all 10 schools.
 
The top five seeded teams in both baseball and softball will host the bottom five seeds this weekend in a best two out of three series with the winners advancing to the next weekend for the double elimination round of the tournament to be held at Volunteer State.

 
"We have a unique problem with spring sports, because our tournament time coincides with the end of school and graduation," explained Cleveland State Athletic Director and baseball coach Mike Policastro. "We had to try to come up with a way to be fair to all the teams and still work around graduation."
 
"I think this is a better way to do it, compared to last year," the coach continued. "Last year some good teams got left out. You never know what can happen in the tournament, a team could be just so-so in the regular season and then get a key player back or just get hot and play up to their potential and win the tournament. I've seen it happen before. This format gives everybody a shot and that's all you can ask for."
 
On the softball side of the bracket, top seeded and Nationally ranked Chattanooga State will host 10th seeded Southwest Tennessee, second seeded Walters State will host Jackson State (9), Columbia State will host Motlow State in a three-eight matchup, seventh seeded Roane State will travel to fourth seeded Dyersburg State and the sixth seeded Cleveland State Lady Cougars will travel to fifth seeded Volunteer State.
 
The Lady Cougars have been one of the hottest teams in the conference down the stretch as they finished the regular season campaign by winning 14 of their last 18 games including 12 wins in a row.
 
"It was a struggle early in the year," stated Lady Cougar coach Katie Willingham. "A number of factors played into our slow start, weather, injuries and so on. But, the girls never gave up and kept working and fighting hard and they turned it around. We lost a lot of close games early, but we finally started doing a lot of the little things that is often the difference between winning and losing."
 
The Lady Cougars will face Volunteer State in Gallatin this weekend and know they will have their work cut out for them as Cleveland State swept the four regular season games between the two teams.
 
"They are a really good team, especially on their home field," said Willingham. "We will have to play well to win, but we are excited for the opportunity and ready to go."
 
On the baseball side, Columbia State captured the top seed and will host 10th seeded Roane State. Second seeded and Nationally ranked Walters State will host ninth seeded Southwest Tennessee, Jackson State (3) will host Dyersburg State (8), seventh seeded Volunteer State will travel to fourth seeded Chattanooga State and the sixth seeded Cleveland State Cougars will hit the road to fifth seeded Motlow State.
 
The Cougars took two out of three from the Bucks in the regular season series and will be looking to repeat that outcome this weekend. Cleveland State went 14-6 in their last 20 games including a three-game win streak to end the season and hope to ride that momentum into the tournament.
 
"Motlow is a good steady team, they don't beat themselves and we will have to play well to go up there and win," stated Policastro. "We were 1-6 in one run games this year, that is a big stat. We've had an up and down year, battled a few injuries, but mostly we haven't been consistent enough to win the close games. We have to do the little things, keep the errors to a minimum and come up with the clutch hit. We're excited and it should be a good series."
 
As always, Mother Nature plays a big role at tournament time, but both Cleveland State teams are scheduled to open play on Friday. The Softball teams will play a doubleheader and then a single game the next day if necessary while the the baseball teams will play three, nine inning games in three days.

North River Soccer Complex Re-Naming Ceremony In Honor Of Cleveland T. Grimes Is June 3

North River Soccer Association is inviting all past players of teams coached by Cleveland T. Grimes, as well as past soccer associates and friends of Mr. Grimes, to attend a brief ceremony to be held on Saturday, June 3, at 10 a.m., where a tree and plaque will be dedicated to Grimes, in addition to celebrating the city’s official renaming of the DuPont Park soccer complex in Grimes’ ... (click for more)

Baylor Gets Offensive In Softball Win Over St. Benedict

MURFREESBORO – The two-time Division II defending state softball champion Baylor looks ready to challenge for another title. The Lady Red Raiders spotted St. Benedict an unearned run in the first inning, but came back strong to prevail by a 12-1 final in six innings. Wednesday’s win, Baylor’s 25 th against three losses, sets up a winners bracket final with arch-rival GPS, ... (click for more)

Man Found With Home-Made Explosive Device Near Businesses In Hixson

A man was found with a home-made explosive device outside businesses in Hixson late Tuesday night.   A business was evacuated and portions of Highway 153 and Hamill Road were cordoned off while the device was taken away.   Joshua Redden, 34, was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession ... (click for more)

Weather Service Issues Tornado Watch For Chattanooga Area

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Hamilton County on Wednesday. Here is the advisory: TORNADO WATCH FROM  1:15PM EDT  WED UNTIL  8PM EDT  WED TN . TENNESSEE COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE ANDERSON BLEDSOE BLOUNT BRADLEY CAMPBELL CLAIBORNE CLAY COCKE CUMBERLAND FENTRESS GRAINGER GREENE HAMBLEN HAMILTON HANCOCK HAWKINS JACKSON JEFFERSON ... (click for more)

Life For Our Ancestors In 1890

May 26-27 is the 1890’s Day Jamboree in Ringgold. I encourage any reader to attend and enjoy that wonderful community. I love having grown up in Northwest Georgia and celebrating our veterans, including both of my grandfathers who served in WWII.  But I also want to describe how the 1890’s were for my ancestors, living here in a singularly turbulent time. Based on, among ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Life With 007

I was 13 when the first of 24 James Bond movies came out and, at a time when my sap was just beginning to rise, I will never forget Ursula Andress stepping out of the sea wearing that white bikini. Our hero walks over to the dripping Honey Ryder – that was her name in “Dr. No” – and she says in the Swiss accent, “Are you looking for shells too?” And the first classic reply of thousands ... (click for more)