HANCEVILLE – Wallace State golfer Chip Willoughby (pictured above) continued his strong spring by earning low medalist honors at the NJCAA District 4 Championship, and the Lions finished tournament runner-up as a group in Brewton on Tuesday, qualifying them for next month’s national championship in Kansas.
Willoughby won the individual championship by shooting a 4-under par 212 at the Country Club of Brewton. Willoughby, a freshman from Albertville, opened the tournament with a 2-under 70 and followed it with 74 in the second round and a 4-under 68 in the final round.
Willoughby was only two weeks removed from finishing fifth and earning All-Tournament recognition in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 championship. He was also the low medalist at the Glenlakes Invitational in Foley in March.
As a team, Wallace State has qualified for its 22nd NJCAA Golf Championship after its strong outing in the District 4 championship. The Lions will travel to the Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kan., for the national event on May 16-19.
Wallace State golf has finished runner-up at the NJCAA national event on three occasions, including in 2014. The Lions finished ninth in the nation last season.
Wallace State carded a 28-over par 892 (300-295-297) for its runner-up finish at the NJCAA District 4 tournament. The Lions edged Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College (894) by two strokes and Central Alabama (895) by three shots.
Individually, Willoughby outlasted Eastern Florida State’s Brad Bawden by two shots. Central Alabama’s Reynolds Carl and Eastern Florida State’s Mathieu Echlard each finished at an even 216
Wallace State’s Brandon Lacasse finished tied for 11th with a 7-over 223 (78-70-75).
Charley Parvin carded a 228 (77-74-77) for the Lions, while Thomas Gevas finished the two-day event with a 231, shooting a 77 during each round. Luke Wilson rounded out the field for the Lions.
Wallace State baseball update
Wallace State’s baseball team is nursing a one-game lead for the top spot in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) North Division standings.
Southern Union is right behind the Lions in the standings, and both teams open a crucial series in Hanceville on Thursday beginning at 3 p.m.
The teams will play a pair of games at James C. Bailey Stadium on Thursday and two in Wadley on Saturday as the regular season winds down.
Wallace State, which picked up a 5-4 victory at Enterprise State on Tuesday, is 38-9 overall and 15-5 in ACCC play. The Lions have dropped consecutive games only once this season and haven’t lost a conference series.
Southern Union is 30-12 overall and 14-6 in league play.
“Every series against Southern Union is big and there’s even more at stake this year. Southern Union is playing some of its best baseball of the season, and it’s my job to get us back to playing where we were earlier this season,” said Wallace State coach Randy Putman. “Every person on our team knows how important a tournament bye will be. I’m looking for us to get hot again.”
Wallace State is hitting .314 as a team. Sophomore Billy Reed leads the club with a .374 average and has five homers and 28 RBIs. Austin Triplett has been hot of late and is hitting .345 with 24 RBIs.
Freshman Dalton Sinquefield boasts a .333 average with six homers and a team-high 50 RBIs, and Palmer Ford leads the Lions with 10 home runs.
On the mound, freshman Blake Rivera is 6-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 45 innings pitched. He’s struck out 56 batters.
Sophomore Jesse Scott (4-0) has recorded a team-high 73 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings and boasts a 3.07 ERA.
Sophomore Peyton Hayes is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 33 1/3 innings, and Braxton Light has notched eight saves out of the Wallace State bullpen.
After the Southern Union series, Wallace State wraps up the regular season with a four-game series against Central Alabama.
The ACCC/Region 22 tournament is set for May 12-17 in Ozark.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu.