Former Fort Mill High School standout Bradley Blanks is getting an opportunity to play professional baseball.
Blanks, a right-handed pitcher, has signed a contract with Evansville of the Independent Frontier League. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Blanks is one of 10 pitchers on the roster.
He played two years at Blue Ridge (N.C.) Community College before transferring to USC Upstate. As a junior, Blanks set a USCU record with 12 saves and finished the year with a 3-2 record and a 4.06 ERA. He struck out 35 and walked 16 in 44 1-3 innings.
He became a starter at the end of his senior season and finished the year 2-4, with a save and a 6.23 ERA.
Never miss a local story.
Blanks is one of three South Carolina natives on the roster. The others are former Citadel pitcher Justin Smith, a Clinton native, and ex-Middle Georgia outfielder J.J. Jennings, an Orangeburg native.
• THE CITADEL: Former Bulldogs running back Lyvonia "Stump" Mitchell has been named running backs coach of the Washington Redskins.
Mitchell, a 1981 Citadel graduate, spent the past nine seasons as running backs coach with Seattle. He joined former Seattle quarterback and assistant coach Jim Zorn after Zorn was hired to take over in Washington.
Mitchell is the Bulldogs' all-time leader in rushing attempts in a season (291), rushing yards in a season (1,647) and rushing yards in a career (4,062). He played for the Bulldogs from 1977-80. He was an Associated Press third team All-America choice in 1980, a member of the All-Southern Conference team his senior year and the conference's player of the year.
Mitchell played professionally for the St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals and holds the franchise record for total yards with 11,988.
• FRANCIS MARION: Lady Patriots senior runner Codi Knoch set a school record in the 5,000-meters at last weekend's SSU Eyeopener Track and Field Meet at Savannah State.
A native of Wapakoneta, Ohio, Knoch won the event in a time of 19:22, besting the old mark of 19:46, which was established by Beth Muncey in 1999.
Knoch was an All-Peach Belt Conference cross country runner in 2006.
• GUILFORD: Ex-Northwestern guard Mat Stanley is a member of Guilford's Quakers, who won their first Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship last week.
Stanley, a 6-1 junior, has appeared in 10 games and is averaging 1.6 points and almost one rebound a game.
The Quakers (24-4, 16-2 ODAC) won the conference championship with a 91-80 overtime victory over Virginia Wesleyan.
Coach Tom Palombo's Quakers earned the ODAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. The Quakers will host a four-team regional Friday and Saturday. Averett (14-14) will play Widener (22-5) at 6 p.m. on Friday and Guilford will meet St. Mary's (17-11) at 8 p.m. First-round winners meet at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
• WINGATE: Bulldogs senior guard Sean Barnette was named South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time this season.
A 6-4 guard out of Northwestern, Barnette averaged 26.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and four assists in helping the Bulldogs to a pair of victories last week.
Barnette had a 31-point, 16-rebound and five-assist performance against Lenoir-Rhyne, then followed with 22 points and 11 rebounds vs. Carson-Newman.
Barnette leads the SAC in scoring (20.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.6 rpg). He was the league's MVP last season.
• WINTHROP: Coach Joe Hudak's baseball team can't be accused of avoiding strong competition.
During the first month of the season, the Eagles (3-5) will have faced five teams which were picked to win their conference or division.
On the schedule are St. John's, the top choice in the Big East; Kent State (Mid-American); Rice (Conference USA); and College of Charleston (Southern). North Carolina was projected as the ACC's Coastal Division champion.