By From school reports
Curt Fowler has hopes that his Blue Mountain Toppers can find their firepower as they head into the TranSouth Athletic Conference Championships that start today in Jackson, Tenn.
amp”We played some really good baseball this year,” said Fowler, the Toppers head coach who began the program only two years ago. “For some reason, though, we’ve stopped hitting the ball and we can’t do that in the tournament. I have confidence that our guys will figure it out; they never quit.”
BMC finished the season with a 22-29 record and tied with Mid-Continent University with a 7-14 TSAC record.
The Toppers qualified for the last spot in the tournament, however, as they swept MCU earlier in the year.
The Toppers face top-seeded Freed-Hardeman University at noon in the tournament opener at Union University.
“This was one of our top goals heading into this season,” Fowler said. “Now that we’re there, we need to take advantage of it.”
The Toppers, who scored only 27 runs in dropping 9 of their last 10 games, will be led offensively by right fielder Gardner Richey, first baseman Nate Bell, center fielder Seth Kennedy and third baseman Ben Wallis.
Richey, a junior who played at Tupelo, compiled a .376 batting average (fifth in the conference) and a .694 slugging percentage (second) while hitting 11 home runs (third) and 15 doubles (sixth), and driving in 35 runs (20th).
Bell, a senior from Michigan, led BMC in hitting and was third in the conference with a .394 average. He also led BMC in runs batted in with 36 (19th). Wallis, a junior from Ripley, hit .320 for the Toppers and tied Richey with 35 RBI. Kennedy, a senior from Iuka, hit .315 with 10 doubles and 26 RBI.
Freed Hardeman (26-19, 16-8) won 10 in a row before losing its last two games of the regular season. The Lions outscored the Toppers 23-5 in a March series at Henderson, Tenn.
FHU senior outfielder Jesse Hykes, from Amory by way of ICC, is fifth among regular hitters on the team with a .303 average and is second in runs scored (44) and home runs (9).