Baseball 2013 Season News

Motlow Bucks baseball season draws to a close

May 1, 2013

The Motlow Bucks saw the 2013 baseball season draw to a close Friday as Volunteer State came to the Driver Complex and swept the Bucks 11-9, 5-3. The final game of the scheduled three-game series was rained out and will not be rescheduled.

Motlow (27-23, 9-17) did not qualify for the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) tournament, scheduled for May 3-5 at Volunteer State in Gallatin. Only the top four teams in the final conference standings qualify for the tournament.

The Bucks jumped out of the gate this season with a 9-3 record before heading into conference play, but five losses in the first six conference contests put them behind the curve and they were never able to make up enough ground to earn a tournament berth.

On March 28, after a 10-2 win over Chattanooga State, Motlow was 20-13 overall and 5-8 in the conference. However, six consecutive conference losses ended any chance to battle their way back into contention.

The opener against Volunteer State saw the Bucks jump out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second as Ryan Shelton slammed a two-out, three-run homer. The Pioneers came right back with five runs in the third off Bucks starting pitcher Brandon Reynolds (5-6), who allowed eight earned runs in 3.2 innings.

Motlow retook the lead in the bottom of the inning with four runs. Cole Veazey led off with a double and scored one out later when Ben Holland doubled him home. Chevis Hoover then stepped to the plate and hit a three-run homer, his third of the season, to give Motlow a 7-5 lead.

The Bucks couldn't hold the lead though as the Pioneers scored three more in the fourth and then three more in the six. Zack Westberry relieved Reynolds in the fourth and pitched the final 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits.

The visiting Pioneers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game two, scoring one in the first inning and two more in the third off Motlow starter Josh Hopkins (4-5). The Bucks battled back though, scoring once in the fourth and twice in the sixth to tie the score 3-3. The fourth inning run came on a walk, two Volunteer errors and a sacrifice bunt.

In the sixth the Bucks started the inning with three consecutive singles from Holland, Clayton Palicki and Hoover, with the last one driving home Holland. The second run of the inning scored after a Pioneer error and a Cody Jernigan RBI groundout.

The winning runs for the visitors came in the top of the seventh as they took advantage of a passed ball, an interference call, an error and a single to score the final two runs of the contest.

Sophomore relief pitcher Owen Blackwelder set a new all-time school record for both a single season and for a career with seven saves, breaking the previous mark of six set by Mike Danley in 1993-94.


Bucks set to host final baseball series

April 22, 2013

The Motlow Bucks will welcome Volunteer State to the Driver Baseball Complex this weekend in the final TCCAA series of the season. Friday's single game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and Saturday's doubleheader starts at noon.

The Bucks (27-21, 9-15) are fresh off a three-game sweep of Roane State last weekend in Harriman. Motlow won Saturday's doubleheader 7-5, 13-2; then beat the Raiders 12-7 in Sunday's single game.

Neither Motlow or Roane State will qualify for the TCCAA tournament, beginning May 3 in Gallatin. Only the top four teams in the conference are invited to the postseason tournament.


Josh Hopkins tosses shutout at Dyersburg State

April 15, 2013

Motlow freshman Josh Hopkins pitched a four-hit shutout as the Bucks beat Dyersburg State 9-0 in the middle game of a three game series between the TCCAA rivals last weekend at the Driver Baseball Complex.

Motlow (23-21, 6-15) is scheduled to travel to Hanceville, Ala., to face non-conference opponent Wallace State in a doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first pitch at 4 p.m. The Bucks will travel to Harriman this weekend for a three game TCCAA series against Roane State.

Dyersburg overcame a 5-0 deficit in the first game to beat the Bucks 13-6 in nine innings. After Hopkins shut out the Eagles in game two, the visitors came back strong to win game three 20-9.

JC Daily had a home run for the Bucks in the game one loss, while Cody Jernigan drove in three runs. Ben Holland, Jernigan, Chevis Hoover and Daily each had two hits for Motlow. Brandon Reynolds took the loss on the mound, although only two of the seven runs he allowed were earned.

Hopkins (4-3) continued his strong pitching season in game two with five strikeouts and only two walks, lowering his team-leading earned run average to 1.76 in 41 innings. The Bucks scored six runs in the first inning to set Hopkins up, adding one in the second and two more in the fourth.

Cole Veazey got things started in the first with a solo home run and Holland hit a two-out grand slam, scoring Stafford Booth, Clayton Palicki and Jernigan. Chris Adams doubled home Ryan Shelton to give the Bucks the early 6-0 lead, giving Hopkins all the runs he needed.

Game three was an offensive showcase as Dyersburg scored three runs in the first and six more in the third to take a 9-3 lead. The Bucks made an effort to come back, adding four in the fourth, but the Eagles scored six more times in the fifth to take a commanding lead.

Veazey slammed another home run and Palicki drove in three runs. Adams, Veazey, Palicki, Jernigan and Daily each had two hits. Hoover took the loss on the mound, allowing five earned runs in two innings.


Bucks need wins in weekend series

April 10, 2013

Faced with diminishing postseason possibilities, the Motlow Bucks are in need of wins this weekend when they host TCCAA rival Dyersburg State in a three-game series at the Driver Baseball Complex on the Moore County campus.

The Bucks (22-19, 5-13) saw their hopes for a trip to the TCCAA tournament take a hit last weekend when they dropped three straight on the road at Cleveland State. A Tuesday extra inning loss to non-conference Lawson State leaves the Bucks on a four-game slide and in need of victories.

Only the top four finishers in the final TCCAA baseball standings will participate in the conference tournament, which begins May 3 at Volunteer State in Gallatin. In previous years all teams played in the tournament, but the league is experimenting with the new format this season and it is unknown whether only the top four teams will be invited in the future.

Dyersburg State (23-10, 11-6) is in third place in the standings, just behind nationally-ranked Chattanooga State and Walters State. Cleveland State holds down the fourth spot, but no team has been mathematically eliminated from the postseason.

Friday's series opener between Motlow and Dyersburg is set to begin with a single game at 2 p.m. The two teams will then conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon.


Moulder tosses one-hitter as Bucks sweep Calhoun

April 3, 2013

Sophomore pitcher Tanner Moulder threw a one-hitter and Motlow's offense broke loose for 17 runs and 26 hits as the Bucks swept visiting Calhoun Community College 10-5, 7-1 in a non-conference doubleheader at the Driver Baseball Complex Tuesday afternoon.

The Bucks (22-15, 5-10) will jump back into TCCAA play this weekend when they travel to Cleveland State for a three-game series against the Cougars (17-13, 7-7). Friday's single game begins at 1 p.m. CST and Saturday's doubleheader starts at 11 a.m. CST.

Motlow was dominant from start to finish Tuesday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of game one and never trailing the entire afternoon. The Bucks were consistent, scoring at least one run in every inning of game one and in all but two innings of game two.

John Tiedemann started game one on the mound, pitching four innings and allowing three earned runs with six strikeouts. Logan Dietz pitched the final three innings and picked up the win, allowing only three hits and striking out three.

JC Daily went 3-4 with an RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Stafford Booth, Cole Veazey, Ben Holland, Skyler Murphy and Cody Jernigan each had two hits, with Booth and Jernigan driving in a pair of runs apiece.

Game two was all Moulder as he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Calhoun shortstop Brett Guzay, who played last season for Motlow, broke it up with a two-out single. Moulder didn't walk a batter and recorded five strikeouts.

Booth and Veazey were again catalysts for Motlow's offense at the top of the batting order, combining for five hits. Chevis Hoover and Daily had two hits each, and six different Motlow players drove in runs.


Bucks explode in eighth to beat Chattanooga State

April 1, 2013

The Motlow Bucks exploded for eight runs in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Chattanooga State Tigers 10-2 on Thursday in the opening game of a TCCAA three-game series. The Tigers won the final two games on Friday, 11-7 and 11-1.

The Bucks (20-15, 5-10) will host Calhoun Community College on Tuesday at noon in a non-conference doubleheader, and then travel to Cleveland this weekend for a three-game conference series against the Cleveland State Cougars.

Thursday's opener at the Driver Baseball Complex was a pitcher's duel through seven innings between Motlow's Brandon Reynolds and Chattanooga State's McClure. Both pitched 6.2 innings, with Reynolds allowing only four hits but walking seven.

Elliott Bush got the final out of the seventh inning for the Bucks with a strikeout, giving way to Logan Dietz (2-2) who pitched the final two innings and got the win, allowing only one hit with three strikeouts.

In the bottom of the eighth the Bucks finally got untracked offensively, stringing together a double and eight straight singles for eight runs. Ben Holland went 3-4 and drove in three runs, and Cole Veazey, Clayton Palicki, Chevis Hoover, Cory Mitchell and JC Daily each had two hits, while Ryan Shelton added two runs batted in.

Friday's opener was a highly-competitive affair. Chattanooga State scored single runs in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead against starting pitcher Josh Hopkins, but the Bucks came back with three in the bottom of the second to take the lead. Holland doubled home Hoover, Skyler Murphy singled home Holland, and Shelton singled home Murphy.

The Tigers tied the score with a run in the fourth, but the Bucks took the lead again with two runs in the bottom of the inning when Veazey singled home Shelton and Stafford Booth. Again the visitors took the lead with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

Motlow fought back though, tying the score with two runs in the sixth. Veazey continued his hot hitting with an RBI double to right center, and Palicki singled Veazey home. Owen Blackwelder relieved Hopkins in the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh. The Bucks stranded a runner in the seventh to send the game into extra innings.

The Tigers finished things pretty quickly in the eighth, scoring three runs against Bush, who had started the inning, to hand him the loss. Tanner Moulder got the final out for Motlow. Despite a second Veazey double in the eighth, the Bucks were unable to generate a rally.

Friday's series finale was over pretty early as the Tigers teed off on Motlow starter Chevis Hoover (3-1), who gave up all 11 runs, with seven of them earned, and walked six in 3.2 innings. Palicki pitched the final 1.1 innings, scattering four hits. Veazey had two more hits and a stolen base, giving him eight hits for the series.


Bucks host Chattanooga State this weekend

March 28, 2013

The Motlow Bucks won for the third time in their last four games, beating Shorter College 7-3 Wednesday afternoon at the Driver Baseball Complex.

Motlow (19-13, 4-8) will host the nation's 22nd-ranked team, Chattanooga State (24-7, 9-3) for a three game series this weekend. Friday's single game begins at 2 p.m. and Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled to start at noon.


Bucks win series over Columbia State

March 25, 2013

The Motlow Bucks won two out of three contests at Columbia State last weekend, dropping Saturday's first game 2-1 before winning the nightcap 4-3. The Bucks then beat the Chargers 7-5 in Sunday's single game.

Motlow (18-13, 4-8) is scheduled to host Shorter College on Wednesday for a single game at 2 p.m., then host Chattanooga State for a three-game series this weekend. Thursday's single game begins at 2 p.m. and Friday's doubleheader at noon at the Driver Baseball Complex.


Bucks try to get back on track in Columbia

March 20, 2013

The Motlow Bucks will try to get back into the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) baseball race this weekend when they travel to Columbia for a three-game series with conference rival Columbia State.

The Bucks (14-12, 2-7) are fresh off a home series against Jackson State, with Motlow winning the series opener 13-9 before the Generals came back to sweep Saturday's doubleheader 13-2, 8-2. The Bucks are scheduled to host the Bryan College JV on Wednesday at the Driver Baseball Complex for a non-conference doubleheader starting at noon.

Friday's win over Jackson State was highlighted by another fine pitching performance from Motlow's Brandon Reynolds (5-2). The sophomore pitched eight innings and allowed seven hits and four earned runs with six strikeouts. Reynolds leads Motlow's starting pitchers with a sparkling 2.02 ERA for the season. Andrew Mullendore pitched the ninth and allowed five Jackson runs to score.

Fortunately for the Bucks, by the ninth inning the offense had already done sufficient damage. Motlow scored three runs in the second inning, two more in the third, three more in the fourth, and five in the eighth, which they turned out to need to get the victory.

Stafford Booth, leading the team with a .422 batting average on the season, was 4-4 at the top of the lineup with four RBIs and two runs scored. Booth hit his 12th double and his fifth home run, both tops on the team, and is now tied for the team lead with 19 runs batted in. Ben Holland and Ryan Shelton each added two hits, and Holland, Cole Veazey, and Cory Mitchell each added two RBIs.

Saturday's first game saw Jackson State take a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning before exploding for six runs to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Josh Hopkins (2-2) took the loss on the mound for Motlow, allowing seven earned runs with seven strikeouts in five innings. Tanner Moulder tossed the final two innings and allowed three earned runs.

Booth was 2-2 as the Bucks managed only five hits during the seven-inning contest. The Bucks scored their two runs in the sixth inning, with Clayton Palicki knocking in one of the runs.

Saturday's second contest again featured Jackson State jumping out to a quick lead as the Generals scored four runs in the top of the first inning. Motlow's Chevis Hoover (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season as he allowed six earned runs and eight walks in 4.2 innings. Logan Dietz pitched the final 2.1 innings, striking out six while giving up only one hit.

Hoover had two hits at the plate and drove in one of Motlow's runs, with Veazey driving in the other. The Bucks had a total of seven hits during Saturday's second contest.


Bucks ready for weekend after 2nd straight win

March 14, 2013

The Bucks won their second straight game, beating visiting Glen Oaks, Michigan 9-8 Thursday afternoon at the Driver Baseball Complex. The win raises Motlow's record to 13-10 and sets the Bucks up for a big conference weekend.

The victory comes a day after a hard-fought 3-2 win over Volunteer State on Tuesday in Gallatin.

TCCAA opponent Jackson State visits, with Friday's single game scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and Saturday's doubleheader starting at noon. The Bucks will then have a three-day break before returning to action hosting the Bryan College JV on Wednesday.


Bucks extend winning streak to five

February 18, 2013

The Motlow Bucks continued their hot start on the baseball diamond with a 17-0, 3-1, 2-1 sweep of visiting Lincoln Trail this past weekend at the Driver Baseball Complex in Moore County.

The Bucks (7-2, 0-0) will face a stern test when they travel to Columbia State for a non-conference battle with the Chargers Tuesday afternoon. Motlow will return home this weekend, hosting Jackson Community College from Michigan on Saturday for a noon doubleheader.

Saturday's series opener saw the Motlow bats explode from the outset, scoring five runs in both the first and second inning before adding a seven spot in the fourth inning. The scheduled nine-inning contest ended in the middle of the seventh due to the 10-run rule.

Brandon Reynolds (3-0) allowed only three hits while striking out six and was able to escape without allowing any runs despite giving up eight walks.

Brett Mansfield was 3-4 with three runs batted in, while Stafford Booth, Ben Holland, Cory Mitchell and Cole Veazey each added two hits. Mitchell and Booth each drove in three runs, while Holland and Chevis Hoover added two RBIs each.

Sunday's first game was much closer, with Motlow scoring a single run in the first and two more in the third. Hoover (3-0) got the start and went five innings, allowing three hits with six strikeouts. Tanner Moulder pitched a perfect sixth and Owen Blackwelder tossed a perfect seventh for his second save.

Holland went 3-3, including a double and Booth and Clayton Palicki each added a pair of hits, with Booth slamming his first triple of the season.

The series finale saw the Bucks score two in the fourth inning before the visitors fought back with a run in the seventh. Motlow's runs came with two outs as both Booth and JC Daily drove in runs. Daily and Palicki each had two hits for Motlow.

Josh Hopkins started on the mound for Motlow and was outstanding, pitching 3.2 innings and allowing only one hit. Logan Dietz (1-0) pitched the next 2.1 innings and also allowing only one hit. Blackwelder pitched the final inning and picked up his third save.

For the three games, Motlow pitchers allowed only 11 hits and two runs while recording 19 strikeouts.


Bucks open home schedule with weekend sweep

February 11, 2013

The Motlow Bucks opened the home portion of their 2013 baseball schedule with a 9-2, 10-0 sweep of visiting Lakeland Community College at the Driver Baseball Complex on Saturday. Sunday's scheduled single game between the two schools was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Motlow (4-2, 0-0) will travel to Pulaski to play a doubleheader against the Martin Methodist JV squad on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The Bucks return home to host Lincoln Trail for a three-game series this weekend. Saturday's doubleheader begins at noon and Sunday's scheduled single game also begins at 12 p.m.

Chevis Hoover (2-0) pitched 5 1/3 innings in Saturday's opener, scattering four hits and allowing six walks. He struck out nine visiting batters and allowed two earned runs. Elliot Bush pitched the final inning and two-thirds, striking out four and not allowing a hit.

Motlow's offense exploded for five first-inning runs. Stafford Booth led off the game with a double and scored the first run as Chris Adams followed with a triple. Booth added home runs in the fourth and fifth innings on his way to three hits to lead the 12-hit attack.

Brandon Reynolds (2-0) won game two on the mound for Motlow, pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing only one hit. Reynolds struck out six Lakeland batters and walked five. Zach Westberry pitched the final 2/3 of an inning and allowed a walk.

Motlow scored a run in the first, two in the second, and then put the visitors away by plating seven runs in the third. Booth was again the catalyst at the top of the order with a pair of hits and three RBIs, all coming on his third-inning double that cleared the bases.

Ryan Shelton had four hits on the day and drove in four runs, while Adams had three hits and scored three runs. Ben Holland had two hits and two RBIs, as did Cory Mitchell.


Baseball Bucks ready for home opener

February 7, 2013

The Motlow Bucks will open the home portion of their 2013 baseball schedule when they host Lakeland College Saturday at the Driver Baseball Complex in Moore County. The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for noon. The two teams will play a single game on Sunday at noon.

The Bucks have started the season with a 2-2 record, sweeping Lawson State in a doubleheader 3-2, 9-0 last week before getting swept 5-2, 7-2 by Calhoun in Decatur Tuesday.

Calhoun (3-3) jumped on Motlow early in both games Tuesday, taking 3-0 leads in the first inning. Although Bucks' pitchers settled down after that, the Motlow offense was never able to get untracked and get the big hit when needed. Head coach Dan McShea says that will be his team's focus heading into the weekend series.

"I felt that we didn't respond very well to being down early against Calhoun," said McShea. "We have a young group and we need to be able to give up three runs in the first and then go out and fight and execute and put together quality at-bats for the rest of the game. We will be working hard this week to emphasize that."

Freshman Josh Hopkins (0-1) took the loss for Motlow in the opener. After the shaky first inning he settled down to pitch 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and striking out three. Only three of the four runs he allowed were earned. Logan Dietz pitched the final 2/3 of the sixth inning.

The Bucks scored single runs in the third and fifth innings, with RBIs from Stafford Booth and Ben Holland, who both had two hits. Booth and Cole Veazey slammed doubles for the Bucks as Motlow had seven total hits and stranded eight runners.

Game two saw Calhoun follow its three first inning runs with two more in the second. Motlow closed the gap to 5-2 with two runs in the fourth, but the home team answered with two more of their own in the bottom of the sixth.

Andrew Mullendore (0-1) took the loss, tossing four innings and allowing eight hits and four earned runs. Tanner Moulder pitched a perfect fifth inning and Dennis Hammond pitched the sixth for the Bucks, allowing two hits and the final two runs.

Cory Mitchell had two hits, including a double, to lead the Motlow offense, which had seven total hits and stranded five base runners. Booth, Chris Adams, Clayton Palicki and Chevis Hoover each had doubles for the Bucks.


Bucks open baseball season with sweep

February 4, 2013

The Motlow Bucks opened the 2013 baseball season in impressive fashion with a 3-2, 9-0 sweep of Lawson State on Saturday in Birmingham.

Motlow will play a doubleheader at Calhoun Community College in Decatur on Tuesday, and then open their home schedule with a Saturday afternoon twin bill against Lakeland, Illinois, with the first pitch scheduled for noon.

Motlow (2-0, 0-0) got excellent pitching and timely hitting during both games, and head coach Dan McShea was pleased with the way his team began his seventh season at the helm of the program.

"Our pitching was excellent on Saturday," said McShea. "Both starters had quality starts and really commanded the strike zone as well. When the starting pitching does that you have a good chance of winning every time."

Franklin County freshman Chevis Hoover (1-0) got the win in the opener, tossing six innings and allowing only one walk with seven strikeouts. Owen Blackwelder pitched the seventh and notched his first save.

The Bucks scored two runs in the first inning and one in the second, with Chris Adams and Ben Holland each driving in a run. Holland added a double as part of Motlow's six hits.

Brandon Reynolds (1-0) was even more impressive in the nightcap, allowing just one hit and striking out seven in his five innings of work. The Bucks' bats plated at least one run in every inning.

"Our bats did better in the second game," added McShea. "We still have a lot to improve on though. I'm proud of the way we competed and I am excited about this year's team and how hard we have worked so far."

Brett Mansfield hit the season's first home run in game two and drove in a pair of runs with two hits. Ryan Shelton and Cole Veazey each added two hits, while Holland and Veazey also drove in two runs.

The Bucks hit five doubles in the second game, with Veazey slamming two and Holland, Luke Toms and Clayton Palicki one each. Mansfield also added a stolen base in each game from his leadoff position.


Bucks begin baseball season with high expectations

January 24, 2013

2013 Motlow Bucks Baseball
2013 Motlow Bucks Baseball. Motlow College photo.
The Motlow Bucks will begin their seventh baseball season under head coach Dan McShea when they travel to Birmingham, Ala. to face Lawson State in a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 2. The first pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. central.

"My expectations are very high for this baseball team," said McShea. "We have the best pitching staff I have had here in my seven seasons along with a very diverse offense. Our infield is excellent up the middle and we have a number of young men who can run the bases well and drive in runs."

Coach McShea has a solid group of sophomores returning and has added a talented recruiting class. His most significant personnel challenge will be replacing Tyler Murphy, who became only the second player in Motlow history to be named a first team All-American. Murphy will play this season for Bethel University.

"You don't replace a player like Tyler Murphy," McShea continued. "He is probably the best hitter I have ever coached on any level. I expect him to play professionally and to play well if he can stay healthy."

The loss of Murphy is not the only hole that McShea and the Bucks will have to fill during the coming season. In fact, Motlow lost 22 players from last year's team, with all but one of them on other team's rosters this year; most at four-year universities. With change though comes new opportunity and McShea sees a lot of talent when he scans his roster.

"We brought in several sophomore transfers that will play key roles for us," said McShea. "Most of them have had a lot of playing time on the college level. Plus we bring back our two top relievers in Logan Dietz and Tanner Moulder. Both know how to throw strikes and they compete when we are in trouble.

"The strength of the 2013 Motlow Bucks will be our pitching staff," he added. "We have some of the best arms we have had here in several years and a majority of them are freshmen. We will also be much more athletic on defense."

A high turnover rate in personnel is common on the community college level. With four-year institutions offering opportunities to the best players each year, the annual challenge for all coaches is to find the right mix between freshmen, transfers, and returning sophomores.

"For the first time since I've been here our team elected a freshman as captain," McShea added. "Chris Adams from Madison Academy in Huntsville will fill that role. He is great in the classroom and he works as hard as or harder than anyone else on the team. He is a very good leader by example.

"We also have some veterans that have been around college baseball a little longer and are much more vocal in their leadership style. They push and encourage each other and they have formed a real connection during these past few months."

The Bucks will play at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Ala. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, before hosting Lakeland, Illinois for a doubleheader at home on Saturday, Feb. 9, with the first pitch at the Driver Baseball Complex scheduled for 12 p.m.

Conference play begins in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) with a trip to Memphis for a three game series against Southwest Tennessee on the first weekend in March. The regular season will end Apr. 27 with a doubleheader at Volunteer State in Gallatin.

The Bucks are coming off a 34-26 season that saw them advance in the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament with wins over Chattanooga State and Cleveland State before being eliminated by eventual state champion Walters State. This year's conference tournament begins May 3 in Gallatin.

"Inexperience and a lack of depth are probably two areas that concern me," McShea concluded. "Freshmen come into a college program because they were successful in high school, and sometimes they struggle to adjust to the high level of competition. We hope to teach them to stay positive when adversity hits and be dominant at what they do."

Area players on the Motlow roster include Franklin County cousins Chevis Hoover, a freshman, and redshirt freshman John Tiedemann. They are the fifth and sixth members of the Morris family to play or coach for the Bucks, joining Ricky, Bryan, Josh and Steven.

Former Buck Bryan Morris reaches 'The Show'

September 19, 2012

Bryan Morris became the second former Motlow Bucks baseball player to play in the major leagues when he took the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitched a shutout inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Sept. 14 in Chicago.

Photo Provided
Former Motlow Buck Bryan Morris is now a member of the Pittsburg Pirates. Photo provided.
Morris joins former Motlow pitcher David Weathers as the only Bucks to reach the major leagues. Weathers, who played at Motlow in 1987 and 1988, pitched 18 years in the big leagues before retiring two years ago.

Morris played his prep baseball at Tullahoma High School, where he was named a Louisville Slugger All-American following his senior season in 2005. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the third round following high school, but chose to attend Motlow instead. Bryan's father, Ricky, was a sixth-round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins in 1968 and is a former assistant baseball coach at Motlow.

Morris had one of the best seasons in Motlow pitching history in 2006, compiling a 10-1 record with 122 strikeouts and a sparkling 0.82 earned run average. He was drafted in the first round, the 26th player chosen overall, and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers following his freshman season at Motlow.

He was acquired by the Pirates from the Dodgers on July 31, 2008, along with Andy LaRoche, in a three team deal that also sent Jason Bay from Pittsburgh to Boston, Manny Ramirez from Boston to Los Angeles, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from Boston to Pittsburgh.

Bryan missed the 2007 season due to a shoulder injury that required Tommy John surgery. Although he was a starting pitcher throughout his career, his move to the bullpen late in the 2011 season at AAA Indianapolis improved his velocity and increased his success on the mound. Morris had a 2.67 ERA with 79 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 81 innings with Indianapolis this season.

He was called up in late June by the Pirates, but after spending only one day in Pittsburg and not appearing in a game, he was sent back to Indianapolis. With the major league roster expanding to 40 players in September, he finally did what only one other Motlow Buck has ever done.

Morris pitched another inning on Tuesday, Sept. 18 against the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing a pair of hits and one earned run as the Pirates dropped a 6-0 decision.

Murphy Receives NJCAA Rawlings Big Stick Award

June 20, 2012

Former Motlow Bucks first baseman/designated hitter Tyler Murphy continues to receive honors following his record-setting 2012 season. In addition to being named a first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association, Murphy has also been awarded the Rawlings NJCAA Big Stick Award. The award is presented annually to the top hitter in each of the nation's 10 districts. Murphy led the East Central District with a .463 average during the regular season.

Murphy will continue his college baseball career at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee. See the picture.


Motlow's Tyler Murphy named NJCAA

first team All-American

June 12, 2012

Motlow Bucks first baseman/designated hitter Tyler Murphy was recently named first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). He becomes only the second Motlow player in school history to be named to the first team. Pitcher Mark Shuler received the same honor following the 1978 season.

Motlow College photo
Tyler Murphy becomes Motlow's first baseball first team All-American since 1978. Motlow College photo.
Murphy, a first-year sophomore, played his prep ball at Glenwood High School in Phenix City, Alabama, and spent his first college season at Bevill State Community College in Fayette, Alabama. Bevill State cut all its athletic programs in March 2011.

After the baseball program was closed at Bevill State, Murphy landed at Motlow as part of head coach Dan McShea's 2012 recruiting class. McShea commented following the announcement of Murphy's All-American status, which came on the heels of him being named first team all-conference following the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association season.

"Tyler Murphy is one of the best hitters I have ever had the pleasure to coach. He has a great approach at the plate with the ability to hit the ball with a lot of power. Tyler also consistently came through for us in big situations. He was a team leader on and off the field. The power numbers he was able to put up this year are outstanding, especially when you consider that he missed 11 games due to injury.

"For about half the season, Tyler would play during conference games and would have to be in treatment all week to get healthy enough to play the next weekend," continued McShea. "He had to play in the DH role most of the season as well due to the same injury. At the end of the season when he was getting back to full strength, he was hit in the hand and was unable to play the last game and a half due to a broken finger.

"This award couldn't have gone to a better person," added McShea. "Tyler had a tough year and is very deserving. I am very proud of him and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach him."

Murphy set the Motlow single season batting average record with his .459 average, inching past former record holder Judd Brownell, who hit .457 in 2002.

Additional entries in the school's all-time record book for a single season include Tyler's 17 home runs, which ties him for fourth all time with Jason Baker, who hit 17 in 1992. Joshua Arteaga slammed a school-record 27 homers during the 2000 season.

His 57 runs batted in ties him for seventh with Brian Bennett, who knocked in 57 runs in 2002. Arteaga set the record with an amazing 90 during his 2000 season. Murphy is tied with five former Bucks for eighth in hits with 73, with Arteaga and teammate Steven Morris tied for the record with 95.

Murphy's numbers not only placed him into multiple categories in the Motlow record book, but also placed him among the nation's leaders for the 2012 season. His 17 home runs tied for third and his .459 batting average was tied for fifth.
2012 Baseball News Archives
2011 Baseball News Archives