Sports

TSSAA Dead Period is Underway

The mandatory summer dead period for all TSSAA sports began on Sunday,  June 25 and runs through July 8. During this time there is to be no activity in high school sports or any middle school sports sanctioned by the TSSAA.

Coaches and players can’t hold workouts and all school facilities are to be closed. To quote the definition from the TSSAA bylaws, Dead Period—No coaching, observing, or contact between coach and players in sport involved. There is no practice, no open facilities, and no weight training/conditioning.

The TSSAA instituted this period around 20 years ago to ensure that high school athletes had some form of summer break allowing for family vacations. With the dead period families are given the chance to plan vacations together and not worry about summer camps and workouts.

TSSAA regulations forbid coach-led practices, weightlifting or conditioning during the two-week, all-sports dead period that annually covers the last week in June and the first week in July. Coaches are not allowed to have contact with athletes during this period or to mandate any type of practice-related activities.

The dead period was implemented at the request of school administrators who wanted to give coaches and athletes an across-the-board break in addition to sport-specific dead times. Mandating the dead period in the summer levels the playing field and gives everyone a break, according to TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress.

For more information on TSSAA rules visit their website at : www.tssaa.org

New Titans Receiver Eric Decker Likes Fit in Tennessee

Story by Jim Wyatt – TitansOnline.com

Eric Decker has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012.

The veteran receiver used to joke with his wife about one day playing for the Tennessee Titans, realizing how nice a fit the city and team would be for the family.

It’s now a reality. Decker officially signed with the Titans on Monday, after agreeing to terms Sunday night. The former Jets and Broncos receiver brings a veteran presence and some nice credentials to his new team.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” Decker said on Monday. “You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home.

“There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity.”

A third-round pick of the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, Decker has 385 career receptions for 5,253 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns in seven seasons. He has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career, including a 1,288-yard season in 2013. He’s also turned in 12 100-yard performances.

When the Jets released him last week, it opened up doors elsewhere. Decker said he talked with five or six teams, and had other visits scheduled for this week. But he opted to sign a one-year deal in Tennessee.

“Mulling over some of my options, I just felt like this was the right fit,’’ Decker said. “Just looking at the roster, and the progress they’ve made over the last few years, and meeting with Jon (Robinson) and Mike (Mularkey), I have a lot of respect for where they came from, their philosophy, how they do things, and that’s something I want to be a part of.

“And I am excited about Marcus Mariota and the young talent he is.”

Decker, whose wife is singer-songwriter Jessie James Decker, said he wants to bring leadership to his new team. But he said he wants to first earn the trust of his new teammates, starting in training camp.

He has a nice track record.

Since 2012, Decker’s 43 receiving touchdowns rank fifth in the NFL and his 4,535 receiving yards rank 18th. His 33 red zone touchdown receptions are the second-highest total in the NFL over that time period. Between 2012 and 2015, Decker averaged 82 receptions for 1,085 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Decker joins a group that already includes veteran Rishard Matthews, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last season. The Titans drafted Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick of the draft, and also selected Taywan Taylor in the third round.

Tajae Sharpe, who is recovering from foot surgery, also returns, along with Harry Douglas, Tre McBride and others.

“The one thing we discussed is having a veteran presence, and having success in Denver being around Peyton Manning,” he said. “I learned a lot about the game and how to do things the right way and I want to be able to help others in that sense.”

Decker spent his first four seasons with the Broncos before joining the Jets in 2014. Decker led the Jets with 74 receptions for 962 yards and five touchdowns in 2014. In 2015, Decker had 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Decker was limited to three games last season. He was placed on injured reserve on October

12 before undergoing hip and shoulder surgeries. Decker returned to the team’s offseason program, however, as a full participant. He said on Monday he’s healthy, and ready to go.

He’s looking forward to catching passes from Mariota.

“He’s a big guy, and he throws a great ball,” Decker said of Mariota. “He is very accurate, and he uses his feet and gets out of the pocket and throws. He’s a talent, but I also like the way he carries himself. He is very stoic, and he seems very humble. I hear he’s a real football junkie who wants to be great, and that’s so important.

“And he has a good supporting cast around him, a great offensive line. The defense is playing well. There’s a lot of factors that make things attractive here.

“I am excited. It’s good to get this process over and join the Titans. I am happy it worked out. It’s a great place to be.”

Sounds Snap Skid with Win over Round Rock

The Nashville Sounds got home runs from Renato Nuñez and Matt McBride, and a solid start from Paul Blackburn in a 5-3 win over the Round Rock Express in front of 7,975 fans Monday night at First Tennessee Park.

The win over the American Southern Division rival snapped a four-game losing streak and kept the Sounds (37-39) in second place.

Nuñez’s homer came in the first inning and was a two-run shot. It was his league-leading 20th long ball of the season and gave Nashville an early 2-0 advantage.

Round Rock got a run back in the second when Will Middlebrooks hammered a solo homer to straightaway center field to make it a 2-1 game.

Mark Canha started another Nashville rally in the fourth when he led off the inning with a double to the gap in right-center. Jermaine Curtis followed with a walk, and Matt McBride launched a three-run homer to left field to give the Sounds a 5-1 lead.

Blackburn used the long ball to his advantage and settled into a groove on the mound. He put up zeros in the third through fifth innings to keep the lead intact. He allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings and earned his fifth win of the season.

The fourth home run of the night – Round Rock’s second – trimmed Nashville’s lead to 5-3 in the sixth. First Baseman Ronald Guzman sent a two-run blast off Tucker Healy into The Band Box to make it a two-run game.

The rest of the game belonged to right-handers Simon Castro and Jake Sanchez. Castro tossed two scoreless innings and racked up three strikeouts in his second hold of the season. Sanchez worked the ninth and got a nifty 4-6-3 double play to end the game to notch his third save of the season.

Ryan Lavarnway and Canha each had multi-hit games while Yairo Munoz notched his first Triple-A hit in the third inning.

Game two of the four-game series is set for Tuesday night at First Tennessee Park. Right-hander Chris Smith (4-3, 2.84) starts for the Sounds against right-hander David Ledbetter (1-0, 1.69) for the Express. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Coffee County Middle School Trap Team Wins SCTP State Title

The Coffee County Claybusters middle school and high school trap teams competed in the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program state championships last week.  Competing in their second state tournament in last 2 weeks, the high school and middle school shooters hit the firing line at Nashville’s Gun Club.

On Thursday, the Coffee County Middle School intermediate/entry level team captured a state title as they shot 431 of 500 targets.  They outdistanced the 2nd place team of Hardin County by 20 targets.  Logan Meadows paced the Raider trap shooters as he hit 95 of 100 targets.  Landon Meadows was 2 broken clays back at 93.  Jonah Wyatt shot 86, Elizabeth Moore broke 81 targets and Emma Matthews hit 76.  Moore finished as the #5 female shooter in the classification while Matthews came in 7th.  Logan Meadow’s score was good enough for 2nd overall while brother Landon finished in 4th place overall.

Also on Thursday, the CCMS intermediate/advanced team came in 19th place in their class after shooting 359 out of 500.  The team was led by Tucker Carlton(96 of 100) which was good enough for 7th place overall.  Other team members were Blaine Schreck(86/100), Brason Fletcher(77/100), Alexus Stacey(77/100) and Aubrey Payne(23/100).  Stacey’s score of 77 was good enough for 18th place in the ladies division.

On Saturday, the Coffee County Central High school team shattered 484 targets out of 500 to capture a 4th place finish.  The Claybusters finished 5 clays behind state champion Hardin County.  The Raiders were led by Austin Schaller’s 98/100 which was good enough for 13th place overall in his classification.  Victoria Majors also shot a 98/100 which was the 5th best score for lady shooters in her classification.  Other team members were Neil Slone(96/100), Hayden Jacobs(96/100) and Zach Bonee(96/100).  Lindsey Duncan shot a 95 to finish in 18th place in the ladies division.

The Claybusters will guests on the Coffee Coaches Show on Saturday, July 15th.  The Coffee Coaches Show is broadcast live at 10 AM each Saturday morning from the showroom of Al White Ford/Lincoln.  The Coffee Coaches Show is heard exclusively here on Thunder Radio.

Coffee County Anglers Fare Well at National Tournament

Braeden(left) and Colby(right) Thurmond show off their scholarship winnings on April 13th at Kentucky Lake.[Photo Provided]

The Coffee County Youth Bass Club team of Braeden and Colby Thurmond battled 230 teams and some lousy weather in this weekend’s Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes.  After a good start in Thursday’s opening round, the risk of severe weather on Friday forced the postponement of the 2nd round,  The full field competed on Saturday as the brother tandem captured a 134th place with a total of 8 fish weighing in at 17 pounds and 12 ounces.

On Thursday, the Thurmonds got off to a good start catching 4 fish that tipped the scales at an even 11 pounds.  That finish gave them a placement of 127th after the first day of competition.  After sitting out Friday’s weather delay, Braeden and Colby netted 4 more fish on Friday but they were weighed in at 6 pounds and 12 ounces.

Team Thurmond is the first Coffee County Youth Bass Club team to compete at the national tournament.  The Thurmonds qualified for the national championship by finishing the year in 21st place in the 2016-2017 TN Bass Nation Points Championship.  Braeden and Colby captured a 54th place finish in the Tennessee State Championship held in May on Tims Ford.

Sounds Begin Eight-Game Homestand Monday

The Nashville Sounds Baseball Club returns home Monday, June 26th to open another eight-game homestand at First Tennessee Park.

The Sounds welcome the Round Rock Express – the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers – for a four-game series from June 26-29. The second half of the homestand features a four-game set against the Oklahoma City Dodgers – the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers – from June 30-July 3.

Below is a preview for each game of the homestand:

Monday, June 26 vs. Round Rock – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
Barry Zito Bobblehead Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans.
Kroger Plus Monday – Buy a “Family 4-Pack” that includes 4 Select section tickets, 4 hot dogs & 4 fountain sodas for $44 when fans show their Kroger Plus card at the Sounds Ticket Office. The “Family 4-Pack” is available for advanced purchase only – subject to availability.

Tuesday, June 27 vs. Round Rock – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
Pre-game autograph session with Oakland Athletics legend Rickey Henderson. The Hall of Famer will sign autographs (flat objects only & one item per fan) before the game from 6:00-6:20.
Tuesday Night Live – Sing for the Fences with live karaoke between innings. Who will take home the crown at First Tennessee Park?

Wednesday, June 28 vs. Round Rock – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
College Night – Tennessee State University/Nashville Sounds hat giveaway to the first 1,000 fans presented by First Tennessee.
Seniors (60 and older) receive discounted Corner or Select tickets – subject to availability.

Thursday, June 29 vs. Round Rock – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
Battle for the Boot: For one night only the Sounds are changing their team name, logo, and uniforms to the Nashville Honky Tonks as the team defends the city’s ‘Music City’ nickname against the Round Rock Express. The American Southern Division rivals will do the same in changing their name, logo, and uniforms to the Round Rock Dance Halls for this unique game between rivals.
Pre-game music by various entertainers sets the stage for live dueling pianos performing on the Brauer Lounge deck throughout the night.
The Honky Tonks jerseys will be auctioned off via silent auction during the game.
Throwback Thursday presented by Budweiser – Fans can purchase Coca-Cola fountain soda and Budweiser draft beer specials for $2.

Friday, June 30 vs. Oklahoma City – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Faith and Family Night presented by Trevecca Nazarene University & WAY-FM – Join the Sounds for a night of worship and baseball with player testimony. Grayson Reed/Cross Point Church performs a pre-game concert at the guitar scoreboard plaza with gates opening for the festivities at 5:30.
A GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ record attempt: Join us as the Sounds attempt to set the world record for The Largest Air Guitar Ensemble presented by First Tennessee. Be a part of history with 2,500 of your closest friends on the field prior to post-game fireworks.
FOX17 post-game fireworks presented by Koorsen Fire & Security. Enjoy the fireworks with a custom 1982 playlist.

Saturday, July 1 vs. Oklahoma City – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
Enjoy Saturday at the Park with visits to The Band Box and our family-friendly Fun Zone in the right field corner.

Sunday, July 2 vs. Oklahoma City – 6:35 p.m.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Pre-game autograph session with select Sounds players from 5:35-5:50. In addition, the Sounds promo team will host the coloring station for children to color baseball posters and sign up for on-field games.
Military Sunday presented by Piedmont Natural Gas and Tennessee 811- The Sounds extend their military appreciation with special military green jerseys and discounted Corner or General Admission tickets for active and veteran men, women and families – subject to availability.
Post-Game Kids (ages 12 & under) Run the Bases.

Monday, July 3 vs. Oklahoma City – 7:05 p.m.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
Independence Day Post-Game Fireworks Celebration presented by Nashville International Airport – Join us for the longest and loudest fireworks celebration of the season as we celebrate Independence Day at First Tennessee Park. The Sounds will sport special stars & stripes hats that will be available in the Sounds Team Store.
Don Mattingly Throwback Jersey T-Shirt Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans presented by Gibson.
The Nashville Sounds have partnered with the following media outlets – Mondays: 96.3 JACKfm, Tuesdays: The Tennessean and NASH-FM 103.3, Wednesdays: 102.5 The Game, Thursdays: iHeartMedia, Fridays: FOX17, and Sundays: WSMV-TV Channel 4.

The 2017 season is the Sounds’ 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics’ top affiliate. Season ticket memberships are available now by calling (615) 690-4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com.

Bats Blanked, Teheran Knocked Around

Travis Shaw drilled a titanic first-inning home run and Zach Davies was efficient as the Brewers beat the Braves, 7-0, on Sunday at SunTrust Park.

Davies scattered four hits over seven innings with one walk and no strikeouts against the Braves, who had averaged 6.25 runs while winning seven of their past eight games. He also recorded his first career extra-base hit — a fourth-inning leadoff double — that chased Julio Teheran.
“It was a great homestand,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We played some great games. Today, it just didn’t work, and Julio wasn’t hitting anything. He just had a tough day. Their guy was being really efficient and throwing the ball really well.”
The Brewers’ right-hander gained early support as Shaw and Keon Broxton homered in the first two innings. Broxton added a two-run single during a three-run third and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
“The big inning for me was the third when we had two outs and nobody on and we put together five or six at-bats that were outstanding,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s one of our best innings of the year, I think, the way we put it together.”
Teheran surrendered seven earned runs on seven hits over a season-low three-plus innings. The Braves’ right-hander had recorded three encouraging starts since producing a similarly ugly outing in Cincinnati three weeks ago. But he has now allowed at least six earned runs in five of his past 19 starts.
“I didn’t have my fastball, and my command wasn’t the best,” Teheran said. “But they’re a good hitting team with a good lineup. Whenever a guy starts missing his spots and falling behind like that, they’re going to take advantage.”
Milwaukee avoided being swept in a three-game series for the first time this season.
Shaw set the tone for the afternoon when he turned on a 1-1 fastball that was up in the zone and became the first player to hit a ball that landed on the roof of the Chop House, which sits beyond the right-field wall. The rocket traveled a projected 429 feet with a 109.1-mph exit velocity per Statcast™.
Sean Newcomb starts when Atlanta begins a three-game series against the Padres at 9:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Petco Park. Newcomb has completed at least six innings in each of his first three starts, but he is still in search of his first win.

Sounds Swept in Oklahoma City

The struggles continued for the Nashville Sounds in a 3-1 loss to the Oklahoma City Dodgers Sunday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The loss sent the Sounds to their first four-game sweep in nearly a year.

In what became a theme over the four-game set, the pitching kept Nashville (36-39) in the game but the hitting scuffled as the Sounds left 10 runners on base and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Starter Corey Walter allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings, but Oklahoma City’s Justin Masterson limited Nashville to one run in 5 2/3 innings.

After both hurlers matched each other with zeros in the first three innings, the Sounds broke through in the fourth and took their first lead of the series. Renato Nuñez cracked a one-out base hit to center field, and moved to second on another hit by Ryan Lavarnway. After Mark Canha struck out, Jermaine Curtis came through with a two-out base hit to right field to score Nuñez and give the Sounds a 1-0 lead.

It looked like Nashville may have another run when Melvin Mercedes singled up the middle. It wasn’t meant to be as Oklahoma City center fielder Alex Verdugo delivered a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Lavarnway trying to score from second.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the first three reached against Walter in the home half of the fourth. Trayce Thompson’s two-run triple gave Oklahoma City a 2-1 lead.

Willie Calhoun added an insurance run with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 3-1 game.

Nashville put at least one runner on base in every inning except the first, but couldn’t get anything going outside of the fourth.

Mercedes started the ninth with a base hit to right field, but the shortstop was stranded at third. Madison Younginer struck out Kenny Wilson, retired Jaff Decker on a bounce out, and struck out Yairo Munoz to end it.

Mercedes and Curtis had multi-hit games for the Sounds. Relievers Lou Trivino and Felix Doubront combined to throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.

The Sounds return home to begin another eight-game homestand Monday night against the Round Rock Express. Right-hander Paul Blackburn (4-6, 3.03) starts for the Sounds against left-hander Jimmy Reyes (2-2, 1.69) for the Express. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Braves Win 4th Straight Behind Dickey, Phillips

After escaping first-inning trouble, Braves knuckleballer R.A. Dickey found his groove and shut down 18 of the final 21 batters he faced in the Braves’ 3-1 victory over the Brewers on Saturday afternoon at SunTrust Park.

The Braves won their fourth straight, as Dickey was masterful on the mound. He scattered five hits and issued one walk, while striking out six batters in seven innings. According to Statcast™, Dickey threw 92 knuckleballs and registered 16 called strikes.
“[The knuckleball] wasn’t as good as the movement that I had the last three games, but I had a good enough one to change speeds,” Dickey said. “It was in the strike zone a large percentage of the night, and those things add up to a pretty good outing.”
Dickey got all the run support he needed on Brandon Phillips’ go-ahead two-run homer in the third inning. Phillips went deep for the third straight game, besting Brewers starter Matt Garza, who went six innings and allowed three runs.
Garza has dropped four of his last five decisions, and he owns a 6.91 ERA in those outings. He didn’t get much help from his offense, as the Brewers struck out 10 times. They lead the National League with 738 strikeouts.
The Brewers’ trio of Domingo Santana, Eric Thames and Travis Shaw came into the game with 40 home runs. However, those three were neutralized by Dickey and combined to go 2-for-11 with four strikeouts.
“We didn’t have that many swings and misses the first time through the lineup,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “As we went through the lineup, the swings and misses started increasing, so I think [Dickey] got a better feel for making it move, and we didn’t have that many answers.”
The Brewers loaded the bases in the first inning with two singles and a walk, but they were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Dickey pitched around an RBI fielder’s choice from Hernan Perez and a balk by striking out Jett Bandy to end the frame. The Brewers could only get one more runner in scoring position for the remainder of the game.
“I thought in the first he was pretty good, but he just kind of hit some bats,” Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. “After that, he did a good job keeping it clean and getting some strikes.”
The Braves’ bullpen didn’t allow a run after Dickey departed after seven innings. The combination of Jose Ramirez, Sam Freeman and Jim Johnson shut the door on a Brewers comeback attempt. The bullpen pitched around a hit and a walk, fanning four to end the game.
“Our whole bullpen has been really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They are picking up each other and keeping us in games to allow us chances.”
Phillips has hit six of his seven home runs at SunTrust Park after never hitting a homer in his home state. Prior to this year, Phillips had only 10 extra-base hits in Atlanta — all doubles — at Turner Field in 34 career games.
Julio Teheran takes the mound to wrap the three-game set at 12:35 p.m. CT on Sunday. Teheran has allowed eight runs (four earned) in his last three home starts.

Sounds Fall in Oklahoma City, 4-1

The Nashville Sounds (36-38) matched the Oklahoma City Dodgers with six hits Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, but failed to convert chances as the home team took the victory, 4-1.

Sounds centerfielder Jaff Decker, 2-for-4, provided the team’s lone run in the game with a solo home run in the fifth off Oklahoma City starter Wilmer Font (6-4).

Opposite Font was right-handed pitcher Ben Bracewell (0-1) manning the bump for Nashville in his Triple-A debut. The 26-year-old used 74 pitches to collect four strikeouts over four innings and walk three.

Bracewell’s final inning, which began with a leadoff walk followed by a fielding error by Joey Wendle, saw three runs cross, though unearned. With runners on the corners, Bracewell struck out Trayce Thompson, but O’Koyea Dickson connected on an RBI double off the wall in right-center field to plate the game’s first run. Baserunner Willie Calhoun tried to also score on the play but was gunned down by Mark Canha from right field.

With two outs in the fourth, the Dodgers added a pair of runs: one from Kyle Farmer’s RBI-single, the other on a wild pitch from Bracewell with a runner on third.

The Dodgers picked up one final run in the eighth inning when Brett Eibner knocked a double to left-center field, scoring Dickson, who had reached base on balls.

Sounds reliever Simon Castro picked up two scoreless innings of relief, holding OKC to one hit while fanning four. Patrick Schuster picked things up in the seventh to pitch 1.1 inning scoreless, before Aaron Kurcz rounded out the night, allowing the Eibner RBI-double.

The final game of the four-game series is scheduled for Sunday evening in Oklahoma City. Right-hander Corey Walter (2-2, 3.15) will start for Nashville against right-hander Justin Masterson (5-4, 4.16) for Oklahoma City. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

The 2017 season is the Sounds’ 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics’ top affiliate. Single-game tickets are available now by calling (615) 690-4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com.

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