Nolensville Headed To LLWS U.S. Championship After 7-1 Win Over Texas

Nolensville Little League. Photo: Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball

The magical run for Nolensville Little League continues as they punch their ticket to the Little League World Series (LLWS) U.S. Championship after beating Texas 7-1 in the semifinals on Thursday, Aug. 26.

This is Nolensville’s first trip to the championship game in its LLWS history. They are now 4-1 in this year’s tournament with their only loss coming to Hawaii in their first semifinals appearance.

The star of the game was 12-year-old Josiah Porter hit a two-out grand slam in the first inning to give the boys from Tennessee a 4-1 lead.

Pitcher Drew Chadwick helped solidify the win, shutting down Texas’ lineup. After giving up one run in the first inning, Chadwick allowed just six hits over six innings, striking out six along the way.

Later in the game both JF Forni and Wright Martin added a few RBI’s to extend Nolensville’s lead.

Next up, Nolensville will play a rematch against Hawaii in the U.S. Championship. Tennessee fell to Hawaii 13-0 in its first semifinals appearance. The team from Honloulou has been unstoppable thus far, going 4-0 and outscoring their opponents 40-1 in this year’s tournament.

The U.S. Championship game will take place on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 2:30 CT in Williamsport, PA. The winner will face the winner of the International Championship between Taipei City, Taiwan and Curacao in the LLWS Final on Sunday, Aug. 28.

Nolensville Punches Ticket To Little League World Series Semifinals

Nolensville Little League. Photo: Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball

Nolensville’s little league team continues to pick up steam in the Little League World Series (LLWS), finding themselves in the U.S. semifinals after beating Indiana 5-3 on Monday, Aug. 22.

Nolensville fell behind early with Indiana going up 1-0, but Trent McNeil went on to pitch five innings for Nolensville, allowing only one run on two hits. Bo Daniel then hit a double just inside the left field line to score a two-out run, giving Nolensville a 2-1 lead in the fifth.

Indiana wasn’t going to go down easily, though, as they struck back to send the game into extra innings. However, Nolensville tallied three runs in the top of the seventh inning to secure the semifinal-clinching win.

The team representing the state of Tennessee is now 3-0 in the tournament, picking up wins against Massachusetts and Utah. They will face Hawaii in the semifinals at 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday (Aug. 24) on ESPN.

This is Nolensville’s fourth trip to the LLWS in Williamsport, Penn., having made the tournament in 2013, 2014 and 2021.

Nolensville Punches Ticket To Little League World Series

Nolensville Little League team. Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball

For the second straight year, Nolensville’s Little League team is heading back to Williamsport for the Little League World Series after beating Virginia 5-2 in the Southeast Regional.

Nolensville finishes undefeated (4-0) in the regional tournament after making a late sixth inning comeback scoring four runs after going behind 2-0 in the first inning.

This is the program’s fourth time representing the state of Tennessee at the LLWS making the nationally celebrated tournament in 2013, 2014 and 2021.

Last year, Nolensville fell to Ohio in the first round and played in the loser’s bracket.

The Little League World Series is scheduled to take place Aug. 17-28 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Nolensiville will take on the winner of the New England Regional.

College Corner: Nick Muszynski, TSU, Vanderbilt Baseball

Belmont Basketball Star Nick Muszynski Signs Professional Deal In Poland

Nick Muszynski. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Belmont men’s basketball graduate Nick Muszynski has signed a professional contract with Enea Astoria Bydgoszcz in Poland.

Muszynski just completed one of the most decorated  careers in program history, including being selected to participate in the 2022 NABC Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game and the 2022 Portsmouth Invitational.

Upon completion of his eligibility, the 6-11 center ranked 11th among all active frontcourt players in scoring with 1,886 points. His 105 career double figure scoring games ranked second among all active frontcourt players, trailing only Richmond’s Grant Golden.

The Pickerington, Ohio native was one of only nine players over the last 30 years with at least 1,800 points, 700 rebounds, 250 assists and 200 blocked shots, and joined the likes of Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), David West (Xavier), Nick Collison (Kansas) and John Wallace (Syracuse) to reach the standard.

Posting a career record of 104-25, Muszynski led Belmont to three conference regular season championships, two NCAA Tournament bids and the 2022 Postseason NIT. He joined NBA Champion Ian Clark as the second Belmont player in the NCAA Division I era named all-conference four consecutive seasons.

 

 

TSU Athletics Launch New Mobile App

Tennessee State University is launching the TSU Tigers official mobile app, powered by SIDEARM Sports, to help better connect fans to their favorite teams. Featuring real-time news alerts, schedules, exclusive multimedia content, game day details and more, the new app is free and compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

“As a department, we are always looking for new ways to engage our fans and enhance their game day experience, and this app accomplishes both goals,” says Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen. “This digital platform provides an easy and convenient way for our alumni, fans, and supporters to stay up-to-date with the latest news, scores, and original content surrounding their favorite teams.”

Through the app, TSU fans will enjoy a personalized mobile experience with the ability to manage tickets, shop for official merchandise, receive breaking news, and score notifications for the teams they follow. Additionally, it includes links to video and audio streams of live games, in-game stats, and team social media feeds.

 

 

Commodores Set to Open Next Season At Globe Life Field

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

The Vanderbilt baseball team will open the 2023 season in the College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field—home of the Texas Rangers.

This will be the Commodores first appearance in the third annual tournament, which is scheduled for Feb. 17–19 and features six of the nation’s top programs. Vanderbilt will be joined by Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas. The inaugural tournament in 2021 was one of the highest attended college baseball tournaments in the NCAA.

“It goes without saying that these are privileged opportunities for our players, school and university,” says head coach Tim Corbin. “We are grateful to the Texas Rangers and their ownership for their beautiful facilities and inclusion in this event. With Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker’s recent addition to this organization, we hope our team can add favorably with our representation in these games.”

Five of the six programs in the 2023 showdown lineup played in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, with the Commodores making their 16th consecutive postseason appearance.

All games of the 2023 College Baseball Showdown will be streamed live by FloSports, the exclusive broadcast partner for the tournament. Tickets for the 2023 College Baseball Showdown will go on sale later this year.

Nashville Voices: The Nashville Sounds’ Jeff Hem

Jeff Hem. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds have been in Music City since 1978, predating the Titans and the Preds as the oldest professional franchise in Nashville. For those who love the team but can’t head to every game at First Horizon Park, they can find comfort in hearing veteran broadcaster Jeff Hem on the Sounds call game in and game out.

Hem, Director of Broadcasting, has been the “Voice of the Sounds” for over a decade, taking over the role in 2012. He’s been a mainstay in Middle Tennessee as he’s called games for Vanderbilt, MTSU and continues to call TSAA football and basketball games. While with the Sounds, he’s called countless comebacks, heartbreakers and record breakers, and has seen dozens of MLB prospects come through Nashville’s Triple A team.

“The city is is tremendous. The team, the ballpark, the front office–everything about who the Sounds are and what the Sounds do as a front office is a pleasure to be a part of,” Hem shares in an interview with The Sports Credential.

Pictured: Press box view at First Horizon Park.

However, his journey started when he was a junior at the University of Iowa and began dabbling in broadcasting. The Aurora, Illinois native played sports throughout his life and knew that he wanted to work in sports, but didn’t quite know where he’d fit.

“Some guys have these stories like, ‘When I was eight years old I wanted to be an announcer,’ but I didn’t have that,” Hem explained. “I had a family member tell me, ‘Take money and all of the side factors out of it. What would you love to do if you could do anything?’ I had this moment of thinking maybe sports broadcasting.”

While at Iowa, he worked at the college station and eventually tried his hand at play-by-play in Aurora for high school basketball, even calling some amateur, high performance Fastpitch softball tournament games for the local access TV station in 2002.

“Those were the first two times where it was really me with the mic doing a game, and I did not want to hear tapes of those calls,” Hem jokes. “It would be pretty awful, I’m sure, if I went back to listen.”

After he graduated in 2004, Hem found himself interning with the Battle Creek Yankees, a Single A baseball team in Michigan. This was his first steady professional broadcasting gig where he learned and grew in his craft.

“As a kid, right out of college, I thought I was doing game seven of the World Series every day,” Hem recalls. “I was just so happy to be doing games regularly, traveling with a team, being on the air every single day. I learned a lot that first summer just because of the volume of repetitions you’re getting and the day after day preparation involved in doing a job like that.”

After spending a season in Battle Creek, he took the job as the play-by-play voice of the Kane County Cougars, a minor league affiliate in the greater Chicago are who were in the same league as the Yankees. He would spend seven years with the Cougars before leaving to join the Sounds in 2012, which he saw as a new opportunity in his journey as a broadcaster.

Going from Low A baseball to a Triple A club in a major city would allow for growth and possibly greater opportunities.

In June of 2018, Hem had the opportunity of a lifetime when the Oakland Athletics, the Sounds Major League affiliate at the time, asked him to fill in for their radio broadcaster. Like a minor league ball player, Hem finally made his major league debut.

“It turned out to be a doubleheader because the game the day before got postponed, so I got two for the price of one,” Hem says cheekily. “I always joke that it’s the only doubleheader I’ve ever truly been excited about. Most of the time you you dread doing a doubleheader just because it’s a long day, but they had to pull me out of that booth that night because I enjoyed the day so much.

“To have a major league broadcast opportunity, given the fact that that’s what I still aspire to do on a daily basis, was pretty special. That’s always going to take the cake.”

Though his primary role is with the Sounds, Hem has offered his voice to Vanderbilt, Lipscomb and to Middle Tennessee high school athletics. He calls select MTSU men’s basketball games for the Blue Raider Network, High School Hoops and Friday Night Rivals matchups on MyTV30, and is the voice of the TSSAA’s Blue Cross Bowl football championships.

“I’ve always loved baseball, but I’ve also always loved other sports. Any opportunity I have in the fall, winter and spring to spread my broadcast wings a little bit and take on other challenges, I welcome,” he notes. “I’ve been able to do a combination of football and basketball on both radio and television for the TSSAA and I love doing that. All the sports–baseball, basketball, and football–are so different as far as what you’re trying to do as the announcer and the pace is different. There’s just so many different challenges that come with each sport, and I love all of them. Even though the Sounds, by volume, accounts for the most games that I do, I love taking on the other opportunities that I’ve been able to have.”

Hem has solidified himself as a Nashville broadcaster over the decade, being the voice for so many games from high school, college, and the city’s beloved minor league baseball club.

As long as it isn’t raining, you can always catch Hem on 94.9 FM calling every moment, every play, sharing some Sounds history and bringing excitement to Nashville’s oldest team.

Nashville Sounds To Retire Tim Dillard’s Number 17 On July 29

Courtesy of the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds Baseball Club will retire longtime fan favorite Tim Dillard’s No. 17 in a pregame ceremony on Friday, July 29 before the Sounds host the Charlotte Knights.

Dillard pitched with the Sounds for parts of nine seasons from 2007-14 (Milwaukee Brewers) and 2019 (Texas Rangers). He is among franchise leaders in nearly every major pitching category including wins (48), innings pitched (710.0), games (242) and strikeouts (437), and ranks third all-time in starts (69).

The right-handed pitcher becomes just the third Sounds player in franchise history to have his number retired, joining Skeeter Barnes’ No. 00 and Don Mattingly’s No. 18.

“We are incredibly thrilled to retire Tim Dillard’s number 17 and honor his legacy forever,” says Adam English Sounds General Manager and Chief Operating Officer. “Dillard has meant so much to the Nashville Sounds, both on and off the field, and we’re excited to celebrate him and recognize his success as one of the all-time greats in franchise history.”

Dillard’s 17-year playing career included 73 games in the big leagues, all with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2008-11. He had 511 career minor league appearances, including 139 starts. In 2019, he led the Pacific Coast League with 153 1/3 innings and led the Sounds with nine wins. He was second on the club with 103 strikeouts. Dillard was voted as the Sounds co-MVP, an honor annually voted on by Nashville players.

Dillard’s jersey retirement ceremony is on the same night as his bobblehead giveaway presented by First Horizon, which will be given to the first 2,000 fans.

Sounds Break First Horizon Park Attendance Record

First Horizon Park. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds shattered a single-game attendance record at First Horizon Park, hosting 12,409 fans at First Horizon Park on Saturday night (July 16).

The attendance broke the previous record of 11,824 set for a Texas Rangers exhibition game on March 24, 2019. This was the Sounds 11th sellout of the season.

Nashville has continued to lead all of minor league baseball in attendance for some years now. The Sounds have welcomed over 500,000 fans seasonally over the past five years. In 2019, they welcomed 578,291–the most ever for the organization in minor league baseball.

Last season, the Sounds had limited attendance due to Covid-19 health and safety protocols, but still welcomed 436,868 fans and averaged 6,826 per game. With no regulations or limits this season and the already 11 sellouts, the Sounds may be on pace to break its single-season attendance.

The Sounds sit in first place in the International League West standings with a record of 54-35.

The Sounds and the rest of baseball are off this week but will return to the field on Friday, July 22 in Louisville to face the Louisville Bats. Nashville will then welcome Charlotte for a week long home series between July 26-31.

Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker & Spencer Jones Selected In 2022 MLB Draft

Kumar Rocker. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

For the second straight year a Vanderbilt superstar has been taken within the top five in the MLB Draft as Kumar Rocker was selected No. 3 overall by the Texas Rangers.

Rocker was selected No. 11 overall in the 2021 Draft by the New York Mets but was released due to health concerns raised by the Mets organization. He spent this past year training and playing with independent league team the Tri-City Valley Cats.

With the Valley Cats, Rocker had an ERA of 1.35 with 32 strikeouts and four walks in 20 innings pitched. At Vanderbilt, he had a 2.89 ERA in 42 games. He struck out 321 batters and had a WHIP of 1.001, according to Baseball Reference.

The former Commodore ace will be reunited with former teammate Jack Leiter who was drafted 2021 MLB Draft with the No. 2 overall pick.

Also drafted was 2022 Vandy star Spencer Jones who was selected by the New York Yankees with the No. 25 overall pick. He is now the 21st Vanderbilt player to be drafted under head coach Tim Corbin.

Jones was stellar for the Commodores in 2022, sporting a batting average of .370, fifth in the SEC. He also posted a team high .460 on-base percentage, placing seventh in the conference. An All-SEC second team honoree, Jones registered 21 multiple-hit games across the 2022 season. 

Rounds 1 and 2 of the MLB Draft concluded on Sunday evening and Rounds 3-10 will resume today (July 18).