While the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences’ baseball seniors have had many highlights on the diamond, head coach Mark Bracher said this season and the potential this group had was one he had been looking forward to.
As sophomores, they helped lead the Patriots to their first sectional appearance since the early 2000’s. That playoff run included two one-run road losses to Lookout Valley in both the district and region championship games, and a wild 13-12 region semifinal win that included seventh-inning heroics over a Rockwood team that finished the year with a 25-7 record.
With that success under their belt, the Patriots were returning six seniors, along with a lot of experience from their juniors and sophomores that Bracher said typically leads to great results.
In addition, the senior class had begun to show strong leadership skills that he felt confident would translate to wins on the diamond.
“This group of seniors will always have a soft spot in my heart because this was the first group of freshmen that I was the head coach of from ninth grade through their senior season,” said Bracher. “At times this group could be the most frustrating group of players, but it came from a desire to win and play well. However, this group was starting to show the maturity and leadership we always get out of our seniors at CSAS. I was really looking forward to seeing how they developed and represented themselves during the season.”
Some of that senior leadership was on display in the Patriots’ only official game of the 2020 season against Silverdale. After giving up four runs in the bottom of the first, Bracher said that teams in prior seasons would have folded being down so early. However, his team rallied for four runs in the top of the second frame, competing every inning for the rest of the game and showing a fight that he’d hoped to see throughout the season.
Nic Ringhofer: Pitcher/First Base/Outfield
Ringhofer has played for CSAS for four seasons, and was the Patriots’ top pitcher heading into his senior season. Over three seasons and one game, he struck out 110 batters in 102 innings pitched.
“From the time Nic showed up as a freshman, he always showed the ability to throw strikes and get the other hitters out,” Bracher said. “Every time he went to the mound, I knew he was going to compete and give the other hitters the best he had. I was really looking forward to seeing what Nic could do as our number one pitcher against our district schedule this season.”
Jordan Morris: Center Field/Shortstop
Morris has been a four-year starter for the Patriots. After playing some shortstop during scrimmage games as a freshman, he started in center field in the first game and has held down the middle of the outfield ever since.
Assistant coach Trevor Hobart – who prepped at Red Bank before going on to play at Chattanooga State – often has difficulty remembering some of the kids’ names, thus giving them nicknames. He gave Morris the nickname “Cadillac” because he was so smooth in the outfield.
“From the first practice (of his freshman year) we could see Jordan’s athletic ability,” said Bracher. “He could track down any pop-up from the left field line to behind second base. Going into the first game, we didn’t have a consistent center fielder, so we decided to put Jordan there, and the rest was history. He ran down two fly balls and from that point forward was our center fielder.”
Morris was also a stand-out basketball player for the Patriots, where he was named all-district, district MVP, and team captain. He will be attending the University of Tennessee and majoring in aerospace engineering.
Check out the full-length feature on Jordan Morris from earlier this year here.
Kamden Edwards: Third Base/Pitcher
Edwards played for CSAS for three years, receiving a lot of playing time all the way back to his freshman season, where he was one of the Patriots’ main two third basement. He skipped his junior year to concentrate on football – Edwards suited up for Tyner since CSAS does not have a football team – and that extra work paid off as he has accepted a scholarship to play at Tennessee State University this fall.
“Kamden has always shown an intense will to win, and showed players how to play with his actions more than his words,” Bracher said. “In practices this February, Kamden was showing that the layoff from baseball didn’t hurt his ability one bit.”
Ethan Hibbs: Catcher/Pitcher/First Base
Hibbs was another four-year player for the Patriots, serving in a super-utility role. His versatility allowed Bracher to use him at every position except for third base over his three-plus years on the team. He entered the season as possibly the team’s primary catcher, having caught back-to-back scrimmage games in February. He also led the seniors in home runs.
“Ethan and Jeremiah (Vinson) showed a lot of leadership during pre-season workouts and our February practices,” said Bracher. “They both pushed the underclassmen to play baseball the right way and did this by showing them the way. He was also instrumental in pulling in as many new players as possible to the team this season.”
Hibbs, nicknamed “Harvard” by Hobart because of the shirt he was wearing during his first practice as a freshman, was also active in the band. He will be attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and majoring in business and finance.
Jeremiah Vinson: Outfield/Pitcher
Vinson has also played for the Patriots for four seasons, but Bracher said he saw tremendous growth during his junior season after limited playing time during his first two years.
“Jeremiah worked and improved more than almost any player I can remember over four years at CSAS,” Bracher said. He spent extra time in the cage and in the bullpen every season and off-season. About the middle of his junior year it all started to come together at the plate as he started ripping line drives up the middle and hitting the ball solidly.”
“In our only game this year we got just a glimpse of what might come of Jeremiah’s bat this season. In his second at-bat of the game trailing 4-2, he ripped a double to the right-center field gap to score two runs and tie the game up. It was such an exciting moment as a coach because we all saw how much work Jeremiah put in, and it’s an absolute joy to see a player put it all together.”
Vinson, who was also active in choir, will be attending Middle Tennessee State University and majoring in biology and physiology.
Jerome Foster, Jr.: Shortstop/Outfield/Pitcher
Foster, Jr. transferred from East Ridge to the STEM School after his sophomore season, and had to sit out his junior season as a result. However, he was able to participate with the team during practice and scrimmage games. He also played basketball for the Patriots.
“We were really looking forward to how Jerome would help this senior class,” said Bracher. “We got to see glimpses of his ability in scrimmages last season and through our one game this season.”
Keith Alston: Outfield/Pitcher
While Alston was not officially on the team this season, he played for CSAS for three years prior and was a key part of the team before deciding to focus on his grades as a senior. Bracher said he was a good player in the outfield along with some pitching duties. His best performance on the mound came in a 2-1 loss to a solid Meigs County team during his sophomore season.
The Chattanoogan Senior Spotlight series highlights local prep seniors whose seasons have been put on hold due to the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are associated with a high school spring sports team and would like your seniors featured, please encourage the coach to reach out to me at email@example.com. Also, share this article and others like it from this series on social media using #ChattanooganSeniorSpotlight.