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Sports & Rec Blog

Showcases and spotlights local high school sports and sports leagues. Recreational resources are also reviewed.

Braves ballpark builders to hold meeting on bidding opportunities

Atlanta Braves

Anyone interested in an opportunity to be a part of building the new Atlanta Braves ballpark is invited to join American Builders 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. on August 11 at Riverside EpiCenter in Austell. At that meeting, interested parties will receive information on bidding opportunities for the project, learn more about American Builders 2017 and hear an overview of the project. RSVP at

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by MDJ staff, July 30, 2014. View the original article HERE.)


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Paulsen getting most out of his Colorado call-up

After patiently biding his time through parts of six seasons in the minor leagues, former Kell standout Ben Paulsen finally received his first major league call-up from the Colorado Rockies. Thus far, Paulsen’s doing his best to make sure the team has a tough time deciding if he goes back down to Triple-A when veteran Justin Morneau returns to the lineup. Associated Press photo


Ben Paulsen dreamed of playing professional baseball as a child.

A 2006 graduate of Kell, he got his wish in 2009, when he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft, following three years at Clemson.

Paulsen paid his dues in the minor leagues for the better part of six seasons, steadily climbing through Colorado’s farm system, biding his time as Rockies great Todd Helton continued to man first base.

Even as Helton retired following the 2013 season, the Rockies signed veteran Justin Morneau to take over at first, leaving Paulsen to begin another year in the minors.

But after Morneau was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a neck injury, Paulsen finally saw his dream come true Monday, when he was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs and immediately placed into the starting lineup against the Washington Nationals at Denver’s Coors Field.

“It was pretty crazy (to step out onto the field),” Paulsen said Friday from Denver, where the Rockies were preparing for a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It was like a climax of nerves. I couldn’t stop sweating, and it wasn’t even hot. But once the ball was put in play, I was able to calm down and remembered that it’s the same game I’ve played since I was 6.”

Paulsen made the most of his opportunity in that first game, batting 2-for-4 — including a base hit to left field in his very first plate appearance — and driving in a run.

The moment was everything he thought it would be.

“That was the cherry on top,” said Paulsen, who got to keep the ball. “I just want to do my part to help the Rockies win. Whatever I can do is a plus. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

The 26-year-old Paulsen spent two seasons apiece in Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A. In 648 games as a minor leaguer, he batted .277 with 78 home runs and 375 RBIs.

“I had a good time through the minors,” Paulsen said. “I was pretty successful in high-A, and the next two years, I struggled in Double-A. In Triple-A, I started working with a mental skill coach, and he helped me get back on a better track to succeed at that level.”

Before his call-up, Paulsen was hitting .291 with 15 homers and 57 RBIs in 95 games with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, and was selected to the Triple-A All-Star game.

“That was a pretty crazy moment,” Paulsen said of getting the call that he would be joining the big-league club. “I was close with (Colorado Springs manager Glenallen Hill). It was such an emotional time, you couldn’t script it really. I was so excited, I didn’t know whether to cry or give a hug to everybody.

“I had no clue I’d get called up. It was just after the all-star break, and we had come back from playing at Memphis over the weekend. I wasn’t aware (Morneau) was put on the DL, and then I got the call. It was all pretty amazing.”

An all-state and all-region member of Kell’s state runner-up team in 2006, Paulsen batted .318 with 31 homers and 130 RBI over his three seasons at Clemson. The 90th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he hit .367 with 13 homers and 61 RBIs in his last season with the Tigers.

“Ben was one of the hardest workers I ever coached,” said retired Kell coach Donnie English. “He spent six years in the minor leagues, and it was great to see him get called up. He was a guy who did everything you asked him to do.

“I’m really excited for him. He paid his time in the minors and gets his shot to prove his worth. Hopefully, he’ll keep it up.”

So far, Paulsen is making a great impression with the Rockies, hitting safely in each of the first five games since his call-up. After four starts, along with a pinch-hit appearance Saturday, he was batting .533 (8-for-15) with two RBIs, three runs scored, two doubles and two walks.

“I definitely want to make the decision hard for (the team),” Paulsen said about possibly being sent back down to the minors once Morneau is able to be activated from the disabled list.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss has been impressed with his new first baseman.

“He was behind a legend at first base, and then Todd retires and he’s still off the roster in Triple-A,” Weiss told the Denver Post on Friday. “That’s tough to deal with when you’re a young player. But he put his head down and he’s had a great season. He’s had a tremendous attitude.”

Paulsen is the third major leaguer from an English-coached team, joining Osborne product Todd Jones and Kell’s Zeke Spruill. He was quick to credit English and longtime assistant Keith Brown, who became Kell’s head coach following English’s 2013 retirement.

“I want to thank coach Brown and coach English for helping me in my early stages of baseball,” Paulsen said.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, July 27, 2014. Written by Carlton D. White. Read the original MDJ article HERE.)

Local softball standouts pursue travel-ball successes

Hillgrove pitcher Abby Evans is one of a large number of Cobb County products that have vied for national championships with their travel softball teams this summer. Staff file photo by Jeff Stanton


Georgia travel softball teams have won four national championships since 2010.

The East Cobb Bullets were the first to claim the prize, capturing the Amateur Softball Association 18-and-under Gold Division national title at Lost Mountain Park in Powder Springs.

Since then, the Atlanta Vipers organization has won three national championships of their own.

As the summer season winds down, title aspirations are heating up, and the focus once again shifts to crowning ASA and Premier Girls’ Fastpitch champions.

Four tournaments —ASA 16U Gold, ASA 18U Gold, 14U Premier and 16U Premier — will crown champions this weekend.

The ASA 18U Gold championship in Oklahoma City ends Saturday. The Vipers (Loveless) team, which includes Hillgrove’s Taylor DeCelles and Kathryn Jackson, is still alive and will play a quarterfinal game today, while the Georgia Knockouts Gold, featuring Kell’s Lanie Angel, Lassiter’s Emily Syvarth and Allatoona’s Casey Lewis, was eliminated early.

The Vipers (Loveless) won the 14U Premier championship in 2012.

The 16U Premier tournament in Huntington Beach, Calif., ends today, and as many as six teams with local ties participated in the event. The Vipers (Palazzo), featuring Lassiter’s Andrea Summey, bowed out early, as did Georgia Impact (Daniels), with Harrison’s Savannah Freeman and Kennesaw Mountain’s Kelli McGrail, and the Bullets (Legere), with Allatoona’s Rachel Legere.

The Vipers (Kates) made a deep run in the consolation bracket before losing.

Georgia Impact (Gibson), with Harrison’s Abby Broome, Lindley Bruce, Pierce Fox, Emily Kachel and Mikenzie Vaughn, as well as Pope’s Quentin Staton, lost in a consolation semifinal.

Premier Girls’ Fastpitch will hold its 18U Premier, 18U and 12U tournaments beginning Saturday, with the championships set for Aug. 2.

The ASA will conduct the remainder of its national tournaments next week, with the finals slated for Aug. 3.

The 18U event will be in Montgomery, Ala., 16U tournament in Salem, Va., 14U tournament in San Diego, 12U tournament in Bloomington, Ind., and 10U tournament in Johnson City, Tenn.

Georgia will have several teams competing at these events, and players from Cobb County could play a big role in the outcome.

“So many kids in Georgia are playing the sport nowadays,” said East Cobb Bullets 18U Gold coach Greg Schnute, whose team will be playing at the Premier event in Huntington Beach, Calif. “Outside of California, I feel like Georgia has caught up to the groups in Texas and Florida, and we’re starting to surpass them. We’re competing against all these teams, and it shows in the capabilities of our teams.”

Local players on Schnute’s team include Pope’s Kelly Barnhill, Kennesaw Mountain’s Malea Bell and Lassiter’s Kelly Sinclair. The Bullets finished third at the SoCal Invitational and second at last week’s Triple Crown Sports/USA Nationals in Georgia.

“We have a really good team,” Schnute said. “We want to go out next week and win the whole thing. It will be a challenge, but the kids are excited. They get along really well. We have outstanding hitting, our defense is strong and we have one of the best pitchers in the U.S. in Barnhill. With those three factors, and the attitudes these girls have of never giving up and playing hard, we have a chance to win.”

The Vipers (Jennings) team, with Hillgrove’s Abby Evans, Lassiter’s Carli Kayler and Harrison teammates Sierra Maddox and Bridgette Rainey, will join Schnute at 18U Premier. Vipers (Jennings) won the ASA 16U title last year.

Georgia Impact (Pauly), which includes Kennesaw Mountain’s Lexi Bates and Allatoona’s Bailey Crawford, is also in the tournament.

Hillgrove’s Abby Akins, Maddie Garner and Rachel Jarvis join Allatoona’s Erika Dunbar as part of the Vipers (Akins) team at the ASA 18U championship. Georgia Fire 18 (Michaud) has Kell’s Taylor Colclasure and Lassiter’s Brianna Michaud competing, while Team Georgia 18U (Jacobs) has Lassiter’s Sally Swan.

The ASA 16U tournament includes North Cobb’s Josi Elder, Casey Page, McKenzie Krause and Taylor Krause on the Georgia Fire (Downs) squad. McEachern’s Khayla Green plays for Georgia Force 97 (Pealor).

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Carlton D. White, July 25, 2014. Read the original article HERE.) 

View inspirational film; Cobb County Senior Games upcoming

Cobb Senior Services staff will host a free viewing of the new documentary titled “Age of Champions,” Monday, July 28. This film is the inspiring story of a group of athletes — a 100-year-old tennis champion, 86-year-old pole vaulter, team of basketball grandmothers and a pair of swimming brothers — all chasing gold at the National Senior Olympics. The 9:30 a.m. showing will be held at Cobb County’s Senior Wellness Center, 1150 Powder Springs St, Marietta, with a special appearance by neurologist Dr. Marshall L. Nash and one of the film’s producers, Tad Ochwat. Nash will give a brief presentation on steps to take to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A continental breakfast will be provided. Registration is required to attend. Contact a nearby Cobb County senior center to register. For more information, click here.

Registration for the 2014 Cobb County Senior Games is open until Aug. 8. Events will include basketball (three point shot and free throw), billiards, bocce ball, bowling, field events, golf, pickleball, putting, swimming, table tennis and track events. Registration is $20 for Cobb residents and $25 for non-residents. Bowling has an additional fee of $5 and includes three games and shoe rental. Golf has an additional fee of $40 and includes greens fees, cart, continental breakfast and lunch. Opening ceremony will be held Aug. 20 and closing ceremony Sept. 16. There is a $10 guest fee for each ceremony. For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Cheryl James at 770-528-1447. To download the registration form, click here or


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Titans Baseball Tryouts are this Weekend

Titans Sports Academy will be holding its annual Baseball tryouts at Titans Sports Complex Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 25 – 27. The tryout will be run by Titans’ professional staff and the coaches of next year’s team will be in attendance. Teams for the following year will NOT be selected until after tryouts. The head coaches of the teams will be evaluating talent along with the staff. This tryout will be thorough and informative.

Click Here to Register Online

Titans Sports Academy is located at 1235 Kennestone Circle Suite A, Marietta, 30066.


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Braves fans can celebrate the season all summer long

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves released a promotional calendar full of fan-friendly happenings, gate giveaways and exciting events for the 2014 season.

Prior to the July 27th matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves will hold a viewing for the 2014 National Hall of Fame induction and free poster gate giveaway for fans. Following their induction, the Braves will welcome Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux to Turner Field as Hall of Famers for the 2014 Alumni Weekend Aug. 8-10.

In continued dedication to honor the United States Military and Armed Forces, the Atlanta Braves will celebrate our service members by donning a new military-themed jersey in the 2014 season. After each game the jerseys are worn, the new jerseys will be auctioned online with the proceeds benefitting military-supportive charities.

  • July 19 vs. Philadelphia Phillies – The Braves will honor the US Marines (online auction to benefit United Military Care, Inc.)
  • Aug. 30 vs. Miami Marlins – The Braves will celebrate the US Navy (online auction will benefit The Shepard Center SHARE Military Initiative)
  • Sept. 19 vs. New York Mets – The Braves will honor the US Air Force’s anniversary (online auction will benefit the USO).

Some highlights of the promotional calendar include:

  • The Braves will commemorate the centennial anniversary of their 1914 World Series win over the Philadelphia Athletics when the Braves take on the Oakland A’s Aug. 15-17.
  • Other free giveaways include magnetic schedules, presented by Georgia Power, a Hall of Fame poster giveaway on July 20 and a NAPA cap on August 16.
  • Doggone-good event at Bark in the Park will be held on Aug. 31.
  • Every week at Turner Field throughout the regular season, fans will be dazzled by spectacular fireworks-filled evenings during Friday Night Fireworks, presented by Georgia Lottery, meet and greets with players of yesteryears during Alumni Sundays, a whirl around the infield for Kids Run the Bases, presented by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as well as free pre-and-post-game concerts.

Fans can also enjoy:

  • Coca-Cola Two-for-$30 Tuesdays: Two tickets for $30 in the Club Level Pavilion every Tuesday, fans save up to 50%.
  • Chevron Family Value Plan: Save Up to 40% and bring your family out to Turner Field with the Chevron Family Value Plan. Packages start as low as $69, and include: four game tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks, a parking pass and a $10 promotional card from Chevron.
  • All You Can Eat Seats: For as low as $50 for group tickets on Super Value games and $60 at the gate, fans can enjoy unlimited smoked BBQ sandwiches, chicken wings, all beef franks, potato salad, peanuts, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, Coca-Cola products, and draft beers.
  • AAA Discount: Two Upper Box tickets for the price of one and $8 Outfield tickets with a AAA ID card.
  • College Discount: Two Upper Box tickets for the price of one with a valid college ID.
  • Military Discount: Two Upper Box and Outfield tickets for the price of one tickets with a valid military ID.
  • $1 General Admission: Available two and a half hours before every home game at the Turner Field Ticket Office.

Purchase single game tickets by clicking HERE, or contact the Turner Field ticket office, the Braves Clubhouse Store at CNN Center, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Free fishing rodeo at Lost Mountain Park

fish hook in water_b&w

Cobb PARKS Natural Resource Management unit staff will host the Annual Fishing Rodeo 9-11 a.m., Saturday, July 26, at Lost Mountain Park. Four age divisions will be offered: 3-6, 7-9, 10-12 and 13-16. Trophies will be awarded for the most fish caught in each age group as well as the five biggest fish overall. The event is free. Lost Mountain Park is located at 2334 Bells Ferry Road,Marietta. For more information, contact John Purcell at 770-55-8825 or


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Atlanta Swim Academy Aims to be Atlanta’s #1 Aquatic Facility


Bob Cutrone, Head Swim Teach Coach, and Brad Grzelka, Vice President

Atlanta Swim Academy has grown up with East Cobb. Since 1985 the aquatic center has taught the community’s children and adults to swim, as well as develop a love for the sport. Vice President Brad Grzelka literally grew up at ASA, assuming the leadership role from his parents who founded the center. Always evolving with the community’s needs, ASA is continuing that trend as it adds a SwimFit Club on August 11 to a full range of lessons, classes and swim teams.

With 250 swim team members, ASA identified that about 50 percent of its participants wanted to swim at home meets only and didn’t want the commitment of a competitive team. A parent survey revealed the need for a program that bridged the gap between lessons and a competitive team. So Grzelka and Bob Cutrone, head swim team coach, pioneered the SwimFit Club, an aquatic program that promotes fitness through regular athletic training while improving swimming technique in a fun environment.

Cutrone explains, “Members participate in workout sessions that include swimming, dry land exercises and stroke drills. Throughout the season, they can participate in SwimFit Club home meets, Fun Swim game days and club socials.”

Benefits of the SwimFit Club are a lower cost (compared to a swim team membership) and a minimum practice of one day per week (compared to multiple days per week for a team). ASA remains committed to providing a flexible practice schedule for all levels of both its SwimFit Club and swim team members. SwimFit Club members can choose one, two or three workouts weekly and attend any times listed for a swimmer’s ability level.

“We strive to be Atlanta’s No. 1 aquatic facility,” says Grzelka. “We offer the best possible service and staff, with 40 dedicated staff members. The aquatic business is also about cleanliness, and we are known to be one of the cleanest facilities around.”

In addition to the SwimFit Club, ASA offers swim lessons with more than 1800 participants currently enrolled. Summer stroke clinics are being taught from now until July 26. The ASA 2014-2015 Swim Team also begins on August 11. Both the Swim Team and SwimFit Club seasons last until May 22, 2015.

For more information about ASA’s new SwimFit Club or other programs/classes, contact ASA at 770-973-3120 or You can also go to A $50 deposit will hold a membership for the new SwimFit Club.

(Paid Advertisement. Reprinted from the June/July 2014 issue of EAST COBBER) 

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Feeding Time at the CNC is Saturday

Feeding Time at the Chattahoochee Nature Center on Saturday, 7/12/14. Join a naturalist for an in-depth look at one of their resident animals as they are being fed. The fun begins at 4pm. Admission: $10 adults/ $7 seniors/ $6 children ages 3-12 and free for 2 and under and members. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. More info: 770-992-2055.

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