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Curve ball, competitive nature land Irwin with Chattanooga State

Ben Irwin got the ultimate up-close look from Chattanooga State Community College’s baseball coaches.

Already interested in the CCSC program, this Bearden High School senior pitcher went to the Chattanooga State campus for a tryout. “I went down there and pitched in front of ’em, I threw real well,” Irwin said. “He (second year head coach Greg Dennis) liked what he saw and put a pretty good offer out on the table and I took advantage of it.”

Irwin, 18, signed with the Tennessee Junior Community College Athletic Association college (enrollment between 6,000 and 7,000 students) during a ceremony in the school’s East Mall Friday, Feb. 11.

“I like the coach .... He’s trying to rebuild the program there. He’s real disciplined,” Irwin said.

As for quick playing time, “(Dennis) told me right away that I’d be, like, starting or I’d be in the top rotation,” Irwin said. “They like my mentality and how I get out there and throw the ball and take control of the game.”

BHS baseball head coach Matt Buckner said Irwin “competes really well on the mound, and he has a good demeanor for pitching. He gives you a chance every time you go out because of his desire to do well.”

Buckner and Irwin agree that the 6-foot-1, 180 pound righthander’s best pitch is his curve ball. “He’s progressed a lot from last year,” Buckner said. “He’s worked hard and done a good job getting better ... and improved velocity.” Irwin also mixes in a change-up and fastball.

Named the team’s “pitcher of the year” as a sophomore in 2003, Irwin compiled a 2-3 record last spring with a 5.00 earned run average, 45 strikeouts and 25 walks in 52 innings of work.

Lynn Hill, BHS athletic director and assistant principal, spoke briefly during the signing ceremony. “We’re very proud of Ben,” Hill said. “Before he heads off to (college), though, we’re expecting great things this spring from both Ben and the team ... .”


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