Southwest Tennessee Community College

May 24, 2004

Contact: Keith Gentry (901) 333-4114 or Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023


The 2004 Southwest baseball team enjoyed the most successful season in the program’s 32-year history, winning the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association/Region VII Tournament for the first time and setting the school record for most wins in a season with 40. It was the fifth straight season the Saluqis have won at least 30 games.

Johnny Ray, in his first season as the Head Baseball Coach at Southwest, guided the Saluqis to a fourth-place finish in the TJCCAA regular season, then to the TJCCAA/Region VII Tournament Championship at Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, defeating fifth-ranked Walters State in the final game. Southwest was defeated in the East Central District Tournament by Middle Georgia College.

"This was a special group to be around,” said Ray. “They accomplished more than most expected. Our sophomore class will be hard to replace. They were the backbone of our team"

In addition to the record for most wins, the 2004 Saluqis set new school marks for at-bats (1,863), hits (584), doubles (126), total bases (834), bases on balls (265), put-outs (1,407), and assists (555). The Southwest pitching staff set single season records for strikeouts (442), saves (17), and innings pitched (470-1/3).

Several Saluqis’ players also had record-breaking seasons. Sophomore catcher Nick Smith, who was named first team All-TJCCAA, broke numerous single season and career records. Smith led the Saluqis with a .437 batting average and set single season records for games played (61), at-bats (197), hits (86), doubles (31), runs batted in (77), and total bases (152), and tied the record for home runs in a season with 11. He also set career records for games played (116), hits (142), doubles (46), home runs (20), total bases (254), and bases on balls (78).

Sophomore pitcher Daniel Adams, who was named Most Valuable Player in the TJCCAA/Region VII Tournament, struck out 97 batters on the season, breaking former major leaguer Charlie Lea’s record of 96 set in 1977. Adams finished the year with a 7-3 record and a 3.76 earned run average.

Sophomore closer Drew Buford, a second team All-TJCCAA selection, led the team with a 2.80 earned run average and set school records for saves in a season with 14 and in a career with 20. He also set records for most appearances in both a season (35) and career (53).

Ryan Orr, the Saluqis’ freshman second baseman, set the record for highest fielding average in a season with 1.000. Orr didn’t commit an error in 129 chances and was nominated for the TJCCAA/Region VII Defensive Player of the Year.

Several other Saluqis also had outstanding seasons. Freshman centerfielder Chris Rogers was named first team All-TJCCAA and was one of the team’s top hitters with a .354 batting average, 25 doubles and 46 runs batted in. Sophomore pitcher-outfielder Josh Meeker, a third team All-TJCCAA pick, led the pitching staff with nine wins, batted .347, and had threw out 12 base runners from right field. Freshman leftfielder Brit Vincent, who transferred from the University of Kentucky at the semester, was the Saluqis’ second leading hitter with a .394 average and was third on the team with 11 doubles. Middle infielder Wes Melton, a freshman from Germantown High School, batted .346 with 22 RBI and led the team with 94 assists.