Johnson City Press Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kelly Hodge

Managing Sports Editor
khodge@johnsoncitypress.com
Read More From Kelly Hodge

Follow me on:


Sports ETSU Sports Kelly Hodge

O'Field probably won't play for Bucs

May 14th, 2014 8:16 pm by Kelly Hodge

O'Field probably won't play for Bucs

It’s looking like Maurice O’Field won’t be with the East Tennessee State basketball team this fall after all.

The highly touted 6-4 swingman from Cleveland, Ohio sat out last season to get his academics in order. He’s been enrolled in classes at ETSU and was expected to make an immediate impact for the Bucs once he became eligible.

Now it looks like O’Field may be headed to a junior college.

“It’s not a completely dead issue, but it doesn’t look good right now,” ETSU coach Murry Bartow said Wednesday. “When one is sitting out, there are no guarantees. You hope things work out, but sometimes they don’t.”

If O’Field goes elsewhere, Bartow will have three scholarships left to offer. He has already signed center Karl Overstreet of Lynchburg, Va., and point guard Desonta Bradford of Humboldt, and may be close to adding other players.

“We’re right in the heart of doing a lot of recruiting, but there’s nothing to announce right now,” said Bartow. “There are a ton of kids who haven’t made their decisions yet. We’re just in a little bit of a waiting game.”

———

The baseball team heads into its final series of the regular season today, and Mercer will present another stiff conference test.

The Bears are battling Florida Gulf Coast for the Atlantic Sun championship, trailing by just a game. They are 17-7 in the league, 37-13 overall.

The Bucs (11-12, 24-27) didn’t have anything for the Eagles last weekend in Fort Myers. They were swept in the three-game series and outscored 30-7. The first two games were shutouts.

The Bucs came home and played past midnight on Tuesday, losing 9-5 to Appalachian State in a weather-delayed, 10-inning affair at Thomas Stadium. It was their fifth straight loss.

“We’re struggling a little bit; it’s no secret,” coach Tony Skole said Wednesday. “We’re trying to find some consistency.”

The Bucs are currently fifth in the conference standings but could fall all the way to eighth by the end of the weekend. They won the A-Sun championship as the 4-seed a year ago. The big difference is they had the dominant starting pitcher in the league in Kerry Doane, who went 13-2 with 12 complete games, which led the nation.

This year the Bucs have a total of one complete game and no pitcher with more than six wins.

Skole doesn’t have to be reminded of the difference one pitcher can make.

“All the teams winning their leagues have that guy on Friday night that sets the tone,” he said. “We’re trying to get by with about seven or eight pitchers. We’re very thin on the mound, and we’ve gotta score some runs to help them out. We haven’t been doing that lately.”

The Bucs and Bears are scheduled to play single games tonight and Friday night at 7:05, and Saturday at 1:05. With threatening weather approaching late Wednesday, there’s a chance the teams will have to play a double-header on Friday.

“There are a lot of meaningful games left,” said Skole. “I guess it comes down to seeding. We’re going to have two four-team brackets at the tournament, and Mercer and Gulf Coast will be the top seeds. If you ask me who I’d rather play, I don’t know. We just need to win some games and get some momentum going.”

———

ETSU coach Lindsey Devine is in Colorado preparing to assist with one of the best women’s volleyball teams in the world.

Devine is one of two assistants for the U.S. national women’s team at the World Championship Qualification Tournament in Colorado Springs. Karch Kiraly, the legendary volleyball star, is the head coach. 

The Americans, ranked second in the world, open pool play today against Guatemala, followed by matches against Panama on Friday and Honduras on Saturday. The medal-round matches are scheduled for Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The winner earns an automatic berth to the world championships in Italy this fall.

Devine has previously worked with USA Volleyball in preparing elite girls teams for international competitions. She went to Croatia in the summer of 2012 and to Thailand last summer, assisting former Ohio State coach Jim Stone each time.

———

The Game Time Tour stops at Johnson City Country Club tonight.

The promotional caravan of ETSU coaches and administrators starts with a meet-and-greet at 6:30, followed by a question-and-answer session and tailgate style meal. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Johnson City is the eighth of 10 stops for the Tour. It began April 10 in Chattanooga and will end May 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Follow Kelly Hodge on Twitter. Like him on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus