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Duluth grad to head up Brenau hoops

Kris Stewart

Kris Stewart

Kris Stewart, well-traveled during his basketball coaching career thus far, is coming back home. Or at least closer.

The Duluth grad was hired this week as the head women’s basketball coach at Brenau University in Gainesville after working previously at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. He also served Lees-McRae’s director of instructional technology on the college’s education faculty after moving up from director of residence life and associate dean of students.

At Brenau, Stewart replaces Gary Bays, the only coach in Brenau’s five-year history of women’s basketball.

“I know that Brenau is definitely the right place for me and my family,” said Stewart, who has two daughters with his wife, Holly. “The newness of the basketball program appeals to me. The team is very young, but very talented. The program has a solid foundation and needs the right person with the right personality to continue building. I believe that my approach to teaching the game will be beneficial to helping this team grow.”

Stewart, a Lees-McRae graduate, coached previously at Austin College (Texas), Forbush (N.C.) High and Freedom (N.C.) High. He had a 74-42 record with five straight playoff appearances at Forbush.

His latest challenge is NAIA school Brenau, which went 13-16 last season while playing in the Southern States Athletic Conference.

“I am absolutely convinced after looking at numerous resumés and speaking with many candidates from around the country that (Stewart) is the best person for the job,” Brenau athletic director Mike Lochstampfor said. “Kris has the personality, the passion, the enthusiasm and the wide array of skills the job requires.”

BASEBALL

Pope powers SCAD baseball team

Mill Creek’s Hunter Pope powered the Savannah College of Art and Design’s baseball team this season, leading the team in most offensive categories and earning first-team NAIA Sun Conference honors.

The junior, who signed with SCAD out of Georgia Perimeter College, his a team-high .329 with 41 runs and 14 doubles. He also had 123 putouts and 162 assists, along with turning 33 double plays, to earn the Sun Conference’s Gold Glove Award for second base.

Pope also received SCAD’s Coaches Award, which he also won last season at GPC.

Freeman gets regional honor

Brookwood grad Ronnie Freeman, a sophomore at Kennesaw State, was named CollegeBaseballInsider.com’s Southeast Region Player of the Week on Wednesday.

Freeman went 8-for-17 with three home runs, six runs and 10 RBIs in four games the previous week. He had a .571 on-base percentage and a 1.059 slugging percentage as the Owls went 4-0.

Freeman also received the Atlantic Sun player of the week award for the second time this season.

Anderson named all-region

Buford’s Landon Anderson, a sophomore at Gordon College, was named recently to the All-Region 17 second team as a catcher. He hit .392 this season with three home runs and 28 RBIs.

GPC wins region tournament

Four Gwinnett grads helped Georgia Perimeter College to the Region 17 Tournament championship this week. The team, which moves on to the East Central District Championship and then the Junior College World Series, features Grayson’s Scott King, Collins Hill’s Garitt Church and Brookwood’s Matt Adams and Cameron Hall.

SOCCER

Van Baush gets team’s top award

Brooke Van Baush made a quick impact at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, earning team player of the year honors as a freshman.

The Grayson grad started all 14 games in the midfield for the Engineers, who play in the Liberty League.

SOFTBALL

Munson closing career at nationals

Shorter University pitcher Libby Munson, a Collins Hill grad, already owns numerous school pitching records as she led her team into the NAIA National Championships this week.

The senior, likely bound for her fourth straight NAIA All-American honor, is Shorter’s career leader in pitching wins (102), innings (7872⁄3), strikeouts (764) and ERA (1.32). She also has hitting records for at-bats (797), hits (283), doubles (68) and RBIs (173), as well as a defensive mark for assists (429).

Most of those numbers should improve even more in this weekend’s nationals.

Coan named region’s top pitcher

Greater Atlanta Christian’s Jessica Coan, a junior at North Georgia, was named the Daktronics Southeast Region pitcher of the year this week as her team prepares for NCAA Super Regionals. She also was an all-region selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Coan, also the Peach Belt Conference pitcher of the year, has a 26-4 record with 309 strikeouts in 1991⁄3 innings. Her ERA is 0.77 and opponents are hitting just .142 against her.

Trio of Bulldogs earn all-region

Three Gwinnett grads playing at Georgia earned Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region honors this week, including Shiloh grad Megan Wiggins as a first-teamer. She leads UGA with a .374 batting average, 61 runs, 20 doubles, five triples and 16 RBIs.

North Gwinnett’s Brianna Hesson (15 home runs, 57 RBIs) was a second-team selection, as was Buford’s Ashley Razey (54 RBIs).

Rollins named all-region

South Gwinnett grad Colette Rollins of Valdosta State made the Daktronics All-South Region Team this week.

Rollins, also a first-team All–Gulf South Conference selection, hit .327 with six homers and 35 RBIs this season.

MAAC awards Osterhaus twice

Marist College sophomore Emily Osterhaus, a Peachtree Ridge grad, was named to the All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference second team as a pitcher last week and also was an All-MAAC Tournament selection.

She was 15-10 this season with 22 complete games, 114 strikeouts and a 3.14 ERA. She pitched 17 of her team’s 21 innings, including two complete games, in the MAAC tourney.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.