Chattanooga State baseball will begin its drive toward the spring of 2015 in a couple weeks as it brings in its 2014-15 baseball team to begin their fall season. This fall season marks Head Coach Greg Dennis’ 12th at the “College on the River” and he said he is looking forward to another great season ahead.
“Coaches Joe Wingate ( 7th year ) and Coty Green ( 3rd year ) have done a remarkably good job in recruiting this year and all of this team’s future success’ certainly belong to their hard work this spring and summer,” said Dennis as he was looking at the squad they have coming in on August 16.
“We always try to do better each year in recruiting and to be honest we have maybe slipped a little in the previous couple of years and that was mostly my fault. Our records have still been pretty good but the level of talent and commitment just hasn’t been where it was in the first 9-10 years I have been here and I really want to see it get back to that.”
Last year’s 26-17 record overall and 16-11 TCCAA record ( 4th place ) was another winning year but not reflective of some of the previous seasons when the Tigers have been nationally ranked and at the very top of the TCCAA race. “I have always heard that the easier thing to do is get to the top but the more difficult thing to do is to stay at the top and that is what we are trying to achieve. Consistency is everything.”
Coach Dennis gave this assessment:
This year’s squad brings back a mix of some really talented sophomores. Headlining this group is Michael Goss ( 1B / Cartersville HS ) who hit .387 last year and had 9 doubles and 3 HR’s while becoming one of the league’s most feared hitters. Andy Clay (3B / RHP / Loganville HS ) will return and look to build on his “double-duty” from last year as the starting third baseman and closer. Andy hit .284 for the season and stole 10 bases during the 2014 campaign. Jean Paul Rodriguez and Chaz Vesser both return behind the plate as Rodriguez ( C / Dominican Republic ) came on at the end of the season and performed at a very high level. He hit .422 in 22 games and had a .522 OBP. Vesser ( C / Alcoa HS ) who transferred in January from UTK, broke his hand in an early game and was red-shirted due to the injury. He was hitting .333 before the break and looks to be a very solid receiver this year for the Tigers. Ben Young ( OF / Maryville HS ) is the final returning position-player and he was maybe the hottest hitter at the end of the spring while hitting .324 with 4 doubles in 15 games.
Conference pitching is returning as Clay threw quite a bit in relief on the weekends and the Friday starter last year was Ooltewah product, Zach Thompson, who was 6-4 overall with a 2.90 ERA in 77 2/3 innings pitched. Brennan Swindoll ( LHP / Friendship Christian ) was a Saturday starter who garnered a 7-4 record in 74 2/3 innings pitched with a 4.10 ERA. These two along with Andy Clay in relief threw a huge amount of innings last year. MTSU signee Tyler Troutt was the lone sophomore on the staff last year and while he garnered 2nd Team All TCCAA status, these two guys started and threw well on a very consistent basis. Another arm that hopefully will be counted on is red-shirt freshman, Stefan Remus, who suffered a shoulder problem his senior year at Friendship Christian during their state-championship run, and wasn’t able to throw this past spring for the Tigers but will be back this fall.
Here is a brief summary of some of the players that have been signed for this coming season:
Hayden Ballog ( MIF / Pickerington OH ) Extremely athletic young man that should compete for a middle infield spot immediately.
Hunter Parker ( OF / East Hamilton HS ) Another extremely athletic player that has the ability to come in and impact this program immediately.
David Mayo (RHP/OF Loganville HS ) Transfer from Ga. State Univ who may see time in a number of different places. Very athletic with a “plus” arm.
Zack Comeaux ( UTL / Carencro LA ) Hard-nose Cajun who should come in and compete in a number of different areas.
Thomas Schmal ( C/MIF Cumming GA ) Yet another very versatile young man that is going to be a factor at a number of positions.
Peyton Coleman ( RHP / Collierville TN ) Solid relief type pitcher who comes from a very successful program and is accustomed to winning at all levels.
Michael Halley (MIF / Collierville TN ) Transfer from SWTN CC who was one of the best freshmen players in the conference last year.
Kameron Herring ( OF / Heath OH ) Very athletic young man who should compete for playing time immediately.
Noah Karst ( RHP/INF Woodstock GA ) Looks to compete both on the mound and in the field and is another guy who should see time immediately.
JoJo Underwood ( INF / Cartersville GA ) Transfer from Univ of West Georgia and was one of their best hitters last spring.
Sean Williams ( RHP / Rowlett TX ) Another in the long-line of Rowlett products to come here. A 3-pitch guy that has very good stuff.
Gabe Rich ( RHP / Chattanooga TN ) Transfer from Cleveland State who has a very good arm and the need to just become more consistent with his stuff.
Grant Sane ( 3B/C Dalton GA ) One of the best players in North Georgia last spring and a guy that is going to be a factor before it is all said and done.
Taylor Thompson ( RHP / Cleveland TN ) One of the best pitchers in his district last spring and a very competitive young man on the mound.
Alex Birdsong ( RHP/Utl Shelbyville TN ) Another dynamic young man that has the ability to become an everyday guy for us and a factor on the mound.
Wesley Waters ( C / ) A guy that should compete with two sophomores behind the plate right away and can be a plus hitter.
Nick Mason ( RHP / Cincinnati OH ) One half of the “Mason Brothers”. He transfers in from a D3 University and has 3 very good pitches with command.
Drake Adair ( RHP / Grapevine TX ) Another Texas-product from a very good program in the Metroplex. He is a plus arm with very good stuff.
Slade Dale ( RHP / Cookeville TN ) A very good arm with the chance to have shut down type of stuff.
Clay Walker ( RHP / Knoxville TN ) A mid to upper 80’s guy that has a very effective slider and a ton of upside.
Jake Mason ( RHP / Cincinnati OH ) The young brother and he has upper 80’s to low 90’s stuff and a ton of upside.
( 1B / Atlanta GA ) Transfer from a JUCO in Illinois where he started and hit over .300 for the year. A very good LH bat