Boyd-Buchanan's Murrell Will Sign Baseball Grant With Lee University

Bucs' Stalwart Used Strong Senior Year As Springboard To College Grant

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

Nathan Murrell, one of three seniors that helped Boyd-Buchanan reach the 2014 TSSAA Class A state baseball tournament last month, said Wednesday he will sign a scholarship to continue his career at Lee University in Cleveland.

Murrell batted .427 this season, including going 4-for-11 (.364) with four RBIs in three state tournament games in Murfreesboro during the recent TSSAA Spring Fling. After beating Forrest in the tourney opener, the Bucs lost to Jackson Christian – the eventual state champion – and Goodpasture.

During his four-year career at Boyd-Buchanan, Murrell started out as a catcher and then switched to primarily playing second base and third base for coach Josh Rider.

Murrell’s job behind the plate lasted all of three weeks in his rookie season, but the Flames, who finished second in the National Christian College Athletic Association World Series last month, will probably start the Bucs’ versatile player behind the plate, with the options of playing him at first base and third base.

“They said I would be catching and playing first base, with some reps at third,” Murrell, 18, said in a telephone interview. “I don’t know if I’ll stay at catcher. I’ll just have to see how it plays out. I liked catching for those three weeks my freshman season before moving to third.

“The coaches at Lee told me they need a third and maybe fourth catcher next season. So, me and another guy will probably fill in there.”

Murrell chose the Flames, who compete in the Gulf South Conference, chose the Flames over Morehead State, Columbia State, Roane State and Georgia Highlands.

The 18-year-old Murrell visited Lee on Tuesday and decided to join the Flames.

“I like the campus and their baseball program,” Murrell said. “We haven’t set a time for signing, but I would think it will be in the next week or so.”

Murrell had a pro day workout at Georgia Highlands on Monday and had intended to visit Morehead State and work out at Columbia State next week, but those plans were cancelled after he made his decision to sign with coach Mark Brew’s Flames.

Murrell was a freshman on Rider’s first squad as head coach, so he knows the potential for his infield stalwart.

“Nate has tons of potential because he can already hit at a college level,” Rider said. “Offensively, he brings a lot to the table. Defensively, he has good hands and I know he’ll go up there and work hard. They told him he would have an opportunity to earn playing time and that’s all you can ask for at a baseball program like Lee.”

Brew just completed his eighth season as the Flames’ head coach with a runner-up finish to Fresno Pacific in the NCCAA World Series at Mason, Ohio. Lee finished 37-18 after the 5-1 loss to Fresno in the championship game.

Brew’s first seven teams made appearances in the NAIA World Series and included runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2010 and third in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The Flames won 50-plus games in each of Brew’s first seven seasons before moving into NCAA Division II and Gulf South Conference competition.

“Nate turned into a great leader this year,” Rider said. “He always led by example because he had other guys ahead of him more vocal. Nate was more vocal this year and that really helped our team.”

Murrell, who began playing baseball at the age of 5, enrolled at Boyd-Buchanan in the first grade and played football through middle school before concentrating on just baseball throughout his high school career.

As a senior, Murrell helped the Bucs post a school-record 29 wins with a 16-game winning streak – another school mark – along the way. He wound up with 53 hits, second on the team’s all-time single-season record list. His 52 RBIs in a season is a record.

Murrell will take home some serious postseason hardware at the Bucs’ baseball banquet on Monday night. He shares Co-Most Valuable Player honors with Jim Cardwell and the Co-Offensive Player of the Year with Cade Evans.

Now, Murrell will try his diamond skills at a high profile Division II program.

“I’m excited to play at the next level,” he said.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)




Five Area Players Voted to TSWA All-State Boys Basketball Team

Five area players have been voted to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association boys all-state basketball team. Area players voted all-state were Bradley Central's Cole Copeland, Brainerd's Kentrell Evans and Dajuonta Ross, Central's Ryan Montgomery, and McCallie's Junior Clay. 2015-16 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Girls All-State Teams   Class AAA   ... (click for more)

Lookouts Rally, Then Falter In Ninth Falling To BayBears Thursday, 6-5

Chattanooga rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at five in the top of the eighth inning, but ultimately lost the game, 6-5, on a ninth inning walk-off home run from Ronnie Freeman. Freeman was a Lookouts killer all night, he was 2-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs. Starter David Hurlbut pitched three effective innings for Chattanooga before giving up ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Mother And Son At House Near Dodds Avenue

No one was home when fire broke out in a Chattanooga home near Dodds Avenue late Friday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm around 11 a.m. and responded to 2609 Reece St. with four fire companies.  Battalion Chief Carlos Hampton said the firefighters made a quick, interior attack and got the fire under control in roughly 10 minutes. ... (click for more)

Planning Commission To Review New Form-Based Code Monday At 1 PM; Start Zoning Cases At 3 PM

The Planning Commission on Monday afternoon will be reviewing the proposed Form Based Code in addition to a large number of zoning cases.   Officials said the new code and the zoning cases "have generated significant public interest so we are expecting a large crowd."  The review of the Form-Based Code by the Planning Commission is scheduled to take ... (click for more)

The History Of Avondale Recreation Center

I grew up in Avondale from third grade until I was married and two children. East Chattanooga had a center since before I was born. The only time I was gone was when I, along with six buddies, joined the USMC.   The families in Avondale, a working class neighborhood, wanted a community center closer to home so the Avondale Civic League took on the task. They raised the money ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)