RHP B.J. Church Signs with MTMay 21, 2002 · MT Media Relations
Even though several other schools had courted him, Church said that he felt right at home at Middle Tennessee.
"[Middle Tennessee] wanted me, they made me feel like they wanted me, and that made me feel good," said Church. "I really like the coaches a lot. I really feel like that if I do well during the fall then I could have a chance to come in and pitch as a freshman."
Church, a 6-3, 180-pound right-handed pitcher, had been tabbed as one of the top pitching prospects in the region. During his senior campaign, he had a record of 4-5, but the mark did not indicate how well Church pitched during the year.
Over the course of the season, Church struck out 102 batters while walking only 21 in 61-2/3 innings. He also put together an ERA of 1.82 during that span, allowing 31 runs with only 16 of those earned.
"It is very apparent that B.J. has had quality development throughout his high school career at Soddy-Daisy under coach Steve Garland and we hope that that continues with us," head coach Steve Peterson said. "I am really looking forward to having a quality young man and quality pitcher in our program next season."
Church hurled a no-hitter against state tournament participant Ooltewah in which he struck out 16 batters. He also pitched three two-hitters during the course of the year, one of which resulted in a no-decision and the other two saw him take the loss in the game.
Church struck out 10 or more batters in six of his 10 starts this season. During the course of his career Church rang up 300 strikeouts and an 18-8 career mark including an undefeated 5-0 record as a sophomore.
He indicated that he is looking forward to what looks to be a promising season in 2003.
"Everybody has talked about how next year could be the year for this team," Church said. " I know that there are a lot of good young pitchers coming back and a lot of good pitchers coming in. There is going to be a lot of competition for spots next year and I like that. Competition just makes everybody better."
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