His first order of business was to hold an open tryout on Saturday, July 19, at Copperweld Arena on the Motlow Moore County campus. He then appeared on the Sports Plus radio talk show recently on ‘The Ticket’ sports radio in Tullahoma (our sister station), Motlow’s flagship broadcast outlet, and expressed how happy he was to be back in southern Middle Tennessee.
With the start of classes at Motlow College still a month away, the roster that Tharpe inherits in his first season is still very fluid. It appears a majority of the sophomores who played last year will return for their second season. Tharpe is familiar with them and sees the potential for improvement.
Tharpe’s first Lady Bucks team will begin preseason workouts in late August, and then hit the Copperweld Arena floor for the official start of practice Oct. 1. Although Motlow’s 2014-15 basketball schedule has not yet been announced, the season traditionally begins the final week of October.
From the moment rising sophomore Dequon Miller, an All-American last season and the top-rated junior college point guard in the country, announced he would return to Moore County for a second year, the possibilities for a special season increased substantially.
Head Coach Matt Sligh has done his part in surrounding Miller, and the half-dozen other returning sophomores, with a talented group of incoming freshmen. The potential of the freshman class recently spiked again with the announcement that Jaylen Barford will join the Motlow roster for the coming season.
Barford is a 6’3” dynamic guard from South Side High School in Jackson, Tenn. All he did was lead his Hawks team to the Class AA state championship last season while averaging 22.5 points and seven rebounds per game. He is ranked by most recruiting services among the top ten high school players in the state.
Barford is the latest proven winner that Sligh has added to the Bucks’ basketball family. In leading South Side to its championship last season, he scored the game-winning basket in the state semifinals to beat defending champion Christ Presbyterian Academy; a team that had won 94 consecutive games against in-state opponents and had beaten South Side for the state championship the previous season. South Side then beat East Nashville, and fellow Motlow signee Terry Holt, 91-83 in double overtime for the school’s first basketball state championship. Barford scored 25 points for the Hawks in the title game while Holt had 26 for East Nashville.
The Bucks will soon assemble as a team in Lynchburg with the fall semester scheduled to begin Aug. 25. Official practice traditionally begins for National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) basketball teams on Oct. 1, with the regular season opening the final week of October.
Battling rain delays and wet fields on Friday and Saturday, the Red and Black got wins over Woodbury, Christiana and Murfreesboro to earn the number one seed in Sunday’s championship bracket. A rematch started the title run for Manchester on Sunday as they got a much anticipated rematch with Murfreesboro. Manchester banged out 12 hits in the first 2 innings and coasted to a 14 to 7 win over the Vandals of Murfreesboro. Jake Hollandsworth was 2 for 2 on the game with a home run and 4 RBI. Cody Eslinger had 2 hits and 3 RBI and got the win on the mound.
The Championship game saw Manchester take on the #2 seeded, and other unbeaten team, DeKalb County. DeKalb came out hot in the top of the 1st inning scoring a run as they banged out a pair of hits, but it was Manchester’s game from that point forward. The Red & Black scored 7 runs in the bottom of the first inning and the game was never close again as Manchester won 15 to 1. Augie Burch had 2 home runs and 5 RBI on the night to lead the Manchester hitting attack. Isaiah Owens got the start on the bump pitching 3 innings to get the win striking out 5.
Sadler will be the 11th Raider golfer to sign in just the past 6 years. Coach Mike Ray says he expects one more player to sign by the end of the year.
The Red & Black got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning scoring 7 runs as they sent 10 batters to the plate. Shelbyville battled back to take a short lived 8 to 7 lead before Manchester added 6 more runs in the 3rd to put the game away. Knox Wimberly was 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored for Manchester.
In the semifinals, they ran into a hot hitting Murfreesboro Storm team that eliminated them by a final score of 18 to 8. With the loss, the 7&8’s finished the tournament with a record of 3 and 2 and finished in 3rd place for the tournament.
The 9&10 year old Coach Pitch All-Stars will be one of 10 teams competing for a state title. The team, coached by Shawn Trail, got a scrimmage win over Cannon County on Monday as they have concluded 3 weeks of preparation. They will begin play on Friday at 6 PM as they take on the Middle Tennessee Renegades. They come back on Saturday to take on Franklin at 11 AM and Unionville at 3 PM. The single elimination championship bracket begins on Sunday at 9 AM.
The 11&12 year old All-Stars will be one of 7 teams competing for the state recreational division title. The team, coached by Eric Burch, is coming off a 3rd place finish last weekend in the TYBA Open state tournament. They will begin play on Friday at 8 PM as they take on Christiana. They come back on Saturday to take on Shelbyville at 10:30 AM and Murfreesboro at 5 PM. The single elimination championship bracket begins on Sunday at 9 AM.
The Manchester Youth Baseball League will premiere a new adult baseball league on Friday night. The new league is open to players from ages 17 to 45 and will feature 4 teams. The teams are populated with former Red Raider stars such as Bubba Vincent, Dallas Holmes, Clark Carden, Jason Crosslin and many more. The league will play doubleheaders on Friday nights at 6:00 and 8:30 PM and single games at 6:30 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 6:30. All games will be played on the Babe Ruth Field at Fred Deadman Park. Folks are encouraged to come out and relive some memories and enjoy some good baseball action.