The shiniest accessory in the ongoing Thomas Stadium project is now in place.
Workers have installed a $720,000 digital scoreboard beyond the left-field fence at East Tennessee State’s new ballpark. Mike White, associate athletic director for communications, calls it the “jewel in the crown” and says the board will enhance the baseball experience from several points of view.
“It’s quite a visual presence at the stadium,” White said Wednesday. “This is a state-of-the art scoreboard that gives us the capability of showing instant replays during games, graphic intros for players where you can see the guys in full action. You could even show a full-blown movie on the thing.
“When you look around East Tennessee, you won’t see anything quite like it. It’s visible from the road when you go up the hill, and when people walk into the stadium, they’ll be in awe of it.”
White said the board, created by TS Sports of Dallas, will be funded by “marketing revenue.”
“It will allow us to do a lot of nice things from a marketing standpoint with ads,” he said. “As far as game action, we can do a four-camera shoot – there’s even a center-field mounted camera showing the pitcher’s view -- and simultaneously work the scoreboard, show instant replays and send out asun.tv feeds from right there in the stadium.”
Power hasn’t been connected yet, and the ETSU athletic department is making plans to train personnel on how to use the board.
“It will require several hands on deck,” said White, “and right now the schedule is to do training for the operational people by the end of next week.
“It’s a big step forward to have the new stadium, and this is a really nice addition to the project.”
Plans are continuing for an alumni basketball game next month at Carver Rec.
The so-called Little Caesars Buc Alumni Basketball Classic Game is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. It’s part of a reunion weekend aimed primarily at African American alumni who attended ETSU from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.
A list of 20 former players that was released Wednesday includes several from the golden years – Mister Jennings, Greg Dennis, Calvin Talford, Marty Story, Major Geer and Michael Woods. Women’s stars DeShawne Blocker and Yvette Grainger will also participate.
Jennings will coach Team Blue, while Blocker will coach Team Gold.
The evening is a collaborative effort between the ETSU athletic department, ETSU Alumni Association and Bona Fide Event Management, and is sponsored by Little Caesars Pizza of Johnson City. Tickets are $10 and available on-line at bonafideevents.com/classicgm. They can also be purchased at Carver Recreation Center.
For more information, contact Karla Woods-Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-619-9276.
Ramey Kerns has a record-setting soccer season in the making for the Lady Bucs.
The junior from Kings Mountain, N.C., tied ETSU’s single-season mark for goals last week, with three in two games. That gave her 12 for the season and matched the record Erin Ashton set in 2002.
Kerns is also just three points shy of the 30 that Ashton set in the 2005 season. She has been named Atlantic Sun Conference player of the week three times already.
“She had another good weekend,” said coach Adam Sayers. “Again, it’s a testament to her individual ability, but probably more so to the team and the way they’re creating chances for Ramey. There’s a good chemistry there.”
Kerns was second nationally in goals scored through games of Sept. 23. Adrianna Lucas of Central Arkansas had 14.
Kerns’ teammate, freshman Sarah Zadrazil, was third in assists, with seven.
The Lady Bucs head to Georgia this weekend for matches against Kennesaw State and Mercer. They are 1-1 in conference play (7-3 overall) after a 2-1 loss to Florida Gulf Coast at home Sunday.
Kerns gave ETSU a 1-0 halftime lead, but Shannen Wacker responded with back-to-back goals for the Lady Eagles.
“It was obviously a disappointing result,” said Sayers, “but that was one of our best performances of the season. We were excellent in every area and created a lot of chances. They just scored two very quick goals on us in the second half.”
Florida Gulf Coast is the defending A-Sun tournament champion and is off to a 2-0 start this season. Sayers can only hope his team gets another crack at the Lady Eagles in the playoffs.
“I’d love to. I think the entire team feels that way,” he said. “They’re a very good team, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a testament to us that we played as well as we did against them and created the chances we did. We drew confidence from that.”
The men’s soccer team closes out a tough, four-game stretch on the road tonight at Furman. The Paladins are ranked No. 25 this week.
The Bucs find themselves at 4-4 after three straight losses. They fell 2-1 in double overtime at Davidson, 3-1 at Kentucky, and 3-2 in overtime at Winthrop.
A four-game homestand begins Sunday with the conference opener against Mercer. It ends with an Oct. 9 date against Wake Forest, which is No. 16 nationally this week.
In volleyball, ETSU bounced back from a surprising three-set loss at Mercer to open conference play with a sweep of its own over South Carolina Upstate here last Friday night.
Junior outside hitter Megan Devine recorded her ninth double-double of the season in the latter, with 15 kills and a career-best 19 digs.
The Lady Bucs (10-6, 1-1) play at Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night and Stetson on Saturday. Then it’s back home for five straight matches.
Gulf Coast and Lipscomb, the four-time defending champ, are the only A-Sun unbeatens early in the conference schedule. They’re both 3-0.