Dan Fleser: Meigs County's Ashley Rogers Is Salvation For Lady Vols

Monday, May 3, 2021 - by Dan Fleser
A few happenings in Tennessee athletics this weekend, along with some accompanying thoughts:

Tennessee softball won its fourth consecutive SEC series and scored its first sweep with a 2-1 victory at Auburn on Sunday.

After fouling off three straight pitches, Ivy Davis smacked a two-out, two-run double to drive in the Lady Vols’ runs in the fourth inning.

Ashley Rogers pitched six innings of scoreless, one-hit relief for her second victory of the weekend. She saved UT’s other win.

Thoughts: Where would the No.
16 Lady Vols (38-8, 11-7) be without Rogers? The former Meigs County High standout, who didn’t pitch last season because of injury, leads the SEC in victories (22) and strikeouts (233).

Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly’s comments after Rogers pitched two innings for a save on Saturday apply to virtually all of the right-hander’s efforts.

“We needed her to dig deep and do what she does,” Weekly said.

Along with Rogers, Davis also has been big. The transfer from Arizona leads the team in homers (13) and RBIs (38). At shortstop, she pulled off one of the top plays of the season on Saturday, leaping to snag a liner and then throwing to first base to double off a baserunner.

UT baseball: The Vols won a sixth SEC series in a season for the first time since 2005, beating Kentucky 11-2 on Saturday.

The fourth-ranked Vols (34-11, 14-7 SEC) scored seven runs in the sixth inning to break open the game. Jake Rucker’s grand slam highlighted the big inning.

Thoughts: The Vols’ home run total has reached 61. Six Vols have hit at least five so far this season. UT’s power seems to be the best deterrent to dips in scoring. By comparison, just three Vols regulars have batting averages above .300.

Jordan Beck raised his batting average to .262 after hitting .538 for the weekend. The Vols outfielder had seven hits (including one homer), drove in four runs and scored four. A more productive Beck could make a big difference.

“I think just constantly challenging himself to figure things out,” said UT coach Tony Vitello, regarding Beck’s breakthrough. “…If something’s important to you and you’re constantly looking to make adjustments, it’s going to work out for you in a positive fashion.”

Trey Smith: The former Tennessee offensive lineman took to Twitter on Saturday, after the first three rounds of the NFL Draft had passed without his name being called, and showed his frustration in writing, “Will never forget.”

Smith will remember Saturday after the Kansas City Chiefs chose him in the sixth round. In the same social media forum, former teammate Kahlil McKenzie Jr. tweeted, “enjoy a great city better people n the best bbq.”

Thoughts: What McKenzie said, just for different reasons.

Smith has an opportunity and that’s all the matters. He has a chance to show that not missing a game the past two seasons is more relevant than the blood clot concerns that cost him the final five games in 2018.

If he plays to his potential, he could find a role with a Super Bowl contender that needs offensive line help.

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri, who covered University of Tennessee athletics from 1988-2019. He can be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com.

Meg Buchanan, Susan Street, Katie Young, And MJ Levine Finish 1st In CWGA Action

Mocs Set To Defend SoCon Softball Tournament Championship

Chattanooga's Kruse Named SoCon Student-Athlete Of The Week


Here are the CWGA Play Day Results for Tuesday. Play was at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. 1, 2, 3 Team Play 1st Place Meg Buchanan, Susan Street, Katie Young, and ... (click for more)

The No. 3 seeded Chattanooga Mocs softball team is set to open the 2021 Southern Conference Tournament tomorrow, Thursday, May 13 against No. 2 Western Carolina at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+ inside UNCG ... (click for more)

Junior outfielder Gracey Kruse has been named the Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week following her stellar play on the field last weekend and impressive work in the classroom, the ... (click for more)



Sports

Meg Buchanan, Susan Street, Katie Young, And MJ Levine Finish 1st In CWGA Action

Here are the CWGA Play Day Results for Tuesday. Play was at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. 1, 2, 3 Team Play 1st Place Meg Buchanan, Susan Street, Katie Young, and MJ Levine -11 2nd Place ( 2 way tie) Kathy Vaughn, Seong Glickman, Pat Wilson, and Evelyn Marie Williams -9 Lynn McGee, Candy Feher, Kandy Berke, and Patty Jones -9 Low Gross: ... (click for more)

Mocs Set To Defend SoCon Softball Tournament Championship

The No. 3 seeded Chattanooga Mocs softball team is set to open the 2021 Southern Conference Tournament tomorrow, Thursday, May 13 against No. 2 Western Carolina at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+ inside UNCG Softball Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. The Mocs clinched a berth into the revised format (top four teams in final regular season standings) of the championship following a thrilling ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Roadtec, Inc. To Expand Chattanooga Operations With $6.2 Million Investment

Roadtec, Inc. officials announced on Wednesday that the paving equipment manufacturer will expand its operations in Chattanooga. Roadtec will invest $6.2 million to make building and site improvements and relocate its Washington operations to its headquarters in Tennessee. The project represents the creation of 128 new jobs in Hamilton County. Roadtec, a subsidiary of ... (click for more)

County Commissioners Anxious To Expand Number Of Officers At Hamilton County Schools

County Commission members said Tuesday they are anxious to expand the number of officers at county school campuses - even if it means using a number of security guards in addition to School Resource Officers. They said they are concerned that a tragic incident will occur on a local campus with no officer present - either from not being assigned one or from the SRO being called ... (click for more)

Opinion

Please Stop Calling Us “Latinx”

We’re asking nicely, because we think the use of the term has been mostly well-intentioned. But let’s start with some numbers: a mere 3 percent of Americans of Latin-American descent use “Latinx” to describe themselves. This is based on a 2020 Pew Research poll of about 3,000 American Latinos. Those who want for “Latinx” to become the default say it’s preferable because it’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Earn Life's "Free Lunches"

The worst debacle in our nation’s history, it is beginning to be proven, was when the United States was quarantined during the COVID-19 epidemic. Our economy – from employment to production – was stymied. Our next generation responded with virtually no education for an entire year and a surging teen suicide epidemic and the biggest profits that were made in the second half of 2020 ... (click for more)