Southwest Tennessee Community College

May 18, 2004

For More Information, Contact: Keith Gentry (901) 333-4114 -- Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023


The Southwest baseball team will travel to Cochran, Georgia this Friday through Saturday, May 21-23 to take on Middle Georgia College in the East Central District Tournament. The winner of the best of three series will advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series, May 29-June 5 in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Southwest, under first-year head coach Johnny Ray, has compiled a 40-20 overall record this season, breaking the school record for most wins in a season. After finishing fourth in the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association regular season, the Saluqis won the TJCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament last week in Chattanooga, defeating 5th-ranked Walters State 2-1 in the championship game.

Southwest is led by Nick Smith and Chris Rogers, both of whom were named first team All-TJCCAA. Smith, a sophomore catcher from Enville, TN and Adamsville High School, leads the team with a .440 batting average, 31 doubles, 10 home runs, and 74 runs batted in. Rogers, a freshman centerfielder from Bolton High School, is batting .356 with 24 doubles, 4 home runs, and 46 RBI.

The Saluqis also boast a strong pitching staff, including sophomores Daniel Adams, Josh Meeker, Jamie Carrico, and Drew Buford. Adams, a product of Bartlett High School and a transfer from the University of Memphis, was named the Most Valuable Player of the region tournament, winning two games and allowing only one earned run in 16-1/3 innings. On the season, Adams has posted a 7-2 record with a 3.27 earned run average. In addition, his 93 strikeouts are just three shy of the Saluqis' single season record of 96, set by former major leaguer Charlie Lea in 1977.

Meeker, a native of Livingston, Texas, was a third team All-TJCCAA selection as an outfielder, has a 9-1 pitching record, is batting .353, and threw out 12 base runners from his right field position. Buford, from McGehee, Arkansas, was a second team All-TJCCAA pick and leads the staff with a 1.64 earned run average and a school-record 14 saves. Carrico, one of five Southwest players from Bolton High School, has a 4-5 record on the season with a 4.91 ERA and 59 strikeouts.

Other top players for the Saluqis are outfielder Brit Vincent and infielders Wes Melton, Dustin Shields, and Ryan Orr. Vincent, a freshman leftfielder who prepped at Bowling Green (KY) High School and transferred to Southwest from the University of Kentucky, is second on the team with a .382 batting average. Melton, a freshman middle infielder from Germantown High, is batting .358, while second baseman Orr, a red-shirt freshman from Bolton High, is batting .303 and was nominated for the TJCCAA Defensive Player of the Year. Shields, a sophomore from Amory, Mississippi who will play shortstop and designated hitter, is batting .331 on the season.

Middle Georgia qualified for the East Central District by defeating Georgia Perimeter College in the Region XVII championship game. Middle Georgia, winners of four straight games in the tournament; enter this week with 39-17 overall record. They are led by pitcher Ryan Aldridge, who has struck out 102 batters in only 57 innings and leads the nation in strikeouts per inning (1.8). Top hitters for the Warriors are Will Peterson (.359, 5 home runs, 20 RBI), Drew Fiorenza (.352, 2 home runs, 35 RBI), and Abel Nieves, who was the Most Valuable Player of the region tournament.