Richmond, Ky. -- Eastern Kentucky is playing some of its best baseball of the season, and it has a pair of Conyers natives to thank for a lot of the success. Dustin Dunlop (Salem) and Anthony Bazzani (Heritage) each polished off excellent regular seasons recently and will help lead the Colonels, winners of 14 of their last 16 games, into the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament this weekend.
Eastern Kentucky, the No. 2 seed which played No. 4 seed Eastern Illinois in the opening round Thursday evening, won a share of the OVC regular season championship with a win over Murray State last week. Bazzani, a junior, closed the win with a perfect ninth inning, while Dunlop, a senior who hit .312 (53-for-170) with a .390 on-base percentage during the regular season, drew a walk and scored a run, and made a diving stop on a ground ball at second base to save a run in the 7-1 victory. It was the Colonels' first regular season conference title since 2000.
Bazzani, who moved into the bullpen almost exclusively in 2012, has a 2.76 ERA in 26 appearances (24 in relief) and has converted eight saves.
Franklin a national champ
Chattanooga, Tenn. -- A former local softball player can now call herself a national champion. MeQuilla Franklin, a sophomore who played infield at Rockdale, was part of the Chattanooga State team that won the NJCAA Junior College national championship recently.
The Tigers defeated Salt Lake Community College, 4-1 in the championship game on a three-hitter by tournament MVP Ashley Czechner.