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Also Religion and Classifieds April 30, 2015
WSSII baseball, softball teams
primed for CIAA tournaments
BY CRAIG T. GREENLEE
FOR THE CHRONICLE
The regular season is a done deal for
Winston-Salem State University's baseball and
Now comes the time of year that both squads
have been waiting for. The CIAA championships
in both sports begin today (Thursday, April 30)
at their respective sites. The three-day tourna
ments are scheduled to end on Saturday (May 2).
The top-seeded Rams (32-13) are considered
prohibitive favorites to win the conference base
ball championships being played at the USA
Baseball Complex in Cary. Entering the final
week of the season, WSSU was ranked 25th in
Collegiate Baseball's national polls for Division
In softball, the Lady Rams didn't post a win
ning record overall, but they did finish 13-3 in
the conference. The ladies are confident that
their strong non-conference schedule has pre
pared them well for the conference tournament
being played at the Walnut Creek Softball
Complex in Raleigh.
The Rams, who were 12-1 in league play,
went into nosedive mode in late March/early
April and lost six games straight. As things
turned out, the losing streak proved to be a blip
BASEBALL K? '"
Ritsche's squad recovered nicely and closed
with a 10-1 mark over the final weeks of the reg
WSSU has no problems pushing runs across
the plate. Connor Andrus, who has a .378 batting
average, leads the league with 39 RBIs. Three of
his teammates (Dylan Dombrowskas, Des
Roberts and Alex Grubb) rank among the
CIAA's Top 10 in that category.
Rams pitching has delivered in spades.
Aaron Hatch, Sam Burton, Jordan Carlton, Eric
Corlette, Jordan Cummings and Devin
McLemore have a combined won-loss record of
29-13. As a pitching staff, WSSU leads the
league in strikeouts (8.38 per game) and has the
CIAA's lowest ERA at 4.02.
If the regular season is any indication, the
Rams should be in good position to win their
fourth tournament championship in as many
years. The only blemish on their conference
record is a 5-3 loss to Chowan in mid-March.
Over the course of the CIAA season, the Rams
haven't been pushed to the limit very often. Out
of 13 league games, they've only been involved
in one-run games twice.
The closest challenger appears to be Virginia
State, a team that the Rams handled easily in a
13-0 victory last Saturday. Burton went the dis
tance and held the Trojans to two hits for the day.
Nathan Steger led Winston-Salem State's 18-,
hit barrage with five RBIs. Jacob Barber batted
in three runs and Dombrowskas had two RBIs.
Roberts, Andrus and Taylor Idol drove in one
Ladies coming on strong
With a little under two weeks remaining in
the regular JHk JB*it
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Salem State's softball team could come close to
breaking even for the season. When the Lady
Rams lost a doubleheader to Barton on April 17,
their record dropped to 11-19.
Since then, the ladies regrouped, went on a
rampage and won nine of their last 10 games to
finish up the regular season at 20-20. The late
season surge should give WSSU a huge boost in
confidence entering the conference .champi
All-purpose utility player Chyna Riley deliv
See WSSU on B2
rnuw ay i. vjicciucc
Rams catcher Connor Andrus leads the CIAA with 39 RBIs.
Stellar track career ending
for Parkland's Williams
Much has happened since
that unexpected ending. Williams
has fortified her reputation as one
of the nation's elites. In the
MileSplit USA rankings, she's
No. 4 in the 100-meter hurdles
(13.69 seconds). Entering the
final days of the track season,
Williams is No. 1 in the 100 hur
dles and 300 hurdles (43.38 sec
onds) in the N.C. Runners state
Williams, a senior, is looking
to close out a stellar career in
grand style at the state outdoor
championships on Saturday, May
9 in Greensboro. To do so, she
must place among the top four in
her events at the regional cham
pionships on Saturday, May 2, in
order to qualify for state.
Assuming she makes the cut,
her story line figures to be one of
the most intriguing for the state
championships. Inquiring minds
want to know if Williams can
match her standout performance
at the state indoor championships
Williams owned the competi
tion as Parkland's girls won the
team title for the second year in a
row. In the meantime, she won
the 55-meter hurdles and 300
meter dash and ran the anchor leg
on the Mustangs' gold-medal
winning 4x200 and 4x400 relay
teams. For that day's body of
work, Williams was voted MVP
of the state championships.
"That was a shock to me,"
said Williams, who will graduate
with a 4.1 weighted grade-point
average. "I never saw it coming.
I broke the 55-meter hurdles
record, which made me No. 1 all
See Williams on B2
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Ebony Williams is No. 1 in the NC Runners state rankings
in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles.
Lady Rams place
18th in women's
4x800m relay at
The Penn Relays
WSSU closes out prestigious
meet with strong effort
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
PHILADELPHIA - The Winston
Salem State Lady Rams track and field
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VVUIII V1UJVU V'MV
the 2015 edition
of The Penn
Relays in style
when the WSSU
team placed 18th
in the event on
effort, the Lady
a stellar 2015
quartet of sopho
M i c a 1 y n e
a 9:10.32 in the
event to place
some of the top
teams in the
nation in both
NCAA Division I
Tennis comeback of Reynolds'
Cooper went just as planned
BY CRAIG T. GREENLEE
FOR THE CHRONICLE
It was four years ago when Aaron Cooper
inexplicably quit playing tennis. At the time,
he was ranked among the state's Top 20 jun
ior players in the 12-year-old age group.
Cooper purposely stayed away from the
game through his first two years of high
school. He filled the void by running cross
country and track.
This year, Cooper, of Reynolds High,
made a surprise return to the sport he learned
to play as a 5-year old in the Young Folks
Tennis Association. By his 10th birthday.
Cooper was playing frequently on the U.S.
Tennis Association's junior circuit.
Although he hadn't played competitively
for two-and-half years. Cooper, a junior with
a 4.63 weighted grade-point average, made
an impact as the No. 4 singles player at
Reynolds. He finished 12-0 in singles match
es in the Central Piedmont Conference.
Aside from that, he emerged as a key figure
for the Demons, who won the conference
tournament team title and advanced to the
"I'm very pleased with Aaron's
progress," said RJR Coach AJ. Highsmith.
"It's easy to see that he's falling in love with
the sport all over again. Even though he had
n't played for almost three years, he picked
things up very quickly. We're super blessed.
With Aaron on board, we became a better
team instantly. Not only is there an excite
ment to his game, but he's very well rounded.
He has the confidence and the skill to hit a
variety of shots. That's not something you
see all that often in high school players."
Cooper, who likes to put a lot of top-spin
on his shots, has a strong backhand, but
See Cooper on B2
rooto By craag 1. ureeniee
Aaron Cooper of Reynolds finished
the season 12-0 in singles matches in
the Central Piedmont 4-A