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In the region: NCAA ends Virginia Tech's hammer celebrations

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Then-Virginia Tech standout Cade Hunter is surrounded by his teammates in front of the dugout as he pounds the team’s sledgehammer after hitting a homer against Duke.

Virginia Tech baseball players will no longer be able to celebrate a homer by swinging a sledgehammer in front of the team’s dugout.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel announced Thursday it has banned all baseball teams from using celebratory props outside of their dugouts.

The ban will begin with the 2023 season.

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee had recommended the ban last month, but the recommendation needed to be approved by the oversight panel.

“Hokie Nation, we would like to apologize to all of our fans, especially kids, on behalf of the NCAA,” Tech volunteer assistant Tyler Hanson tweeted Thursday. “We know you enjoyed the experience of seeing the hammer slammed. We’re no longer allowed to do that. It’s a shame that the fun was taken out of the game.”

The Hokies began their celebration in the 2020 season. The homer-hitting Hokie would pound a sledgehammer into the ground in front of the Tech dugout as his teammates gathered around him.

The team had to change its celebration during the 2022 NCAA tournament.

The Hokies had been allowed to bring their sledgehammer in front of their dugout to celebrate homers during their NCAA regional, but they were informed by the NCAA that they could not do it during their Super Regional series.

NCAA baseball secretary and rules editor Randy Bruns had said in a June statement that there had been “potentially volatile situations” at various regionals and so “in the interest of promoting good sportsmanship, participants at all locations were asked to restrict any activities that use props of any kind to within the dugout.”

According to Bruns, an NCAA baseball rule states that “any orchestrated activities by dugout personnel designed to distract, intimidate, or disconcert the opposing team or reflect poor sportsmanship shall not be allowed.”

Instead of scrapping the celebration altogether, the Hokies who homered in the Super Regionals swung an imaginary sledgehammer instead.


Miller wins Senior Women’s Am

Andrea Miller of The Club at Glenmore won the 65th VSGA Senior Women’s Amateur on Friday at The Homestead’s Old Course in Hot Springs.

She became only the third player to win that title three straight times. She also became the first player in eight years to win the Senior Women’s Amateur and the Senior Women’s Stroke Play Championship in the same year.

Miller beat Kay Tyler of Belle Haven Country Club 5 and 3 in the final. She clinched the win with a conceded birdie on the par-5 15th hole.

On Thursday at The Homestead, Shawn McCullough of Mount Vernon Country Club won the fourth Super Senior Women’s Amateur. She beat Linda DiVall 3 and 2 in the final.

Both tournaments began with stroke-play qualifying on Monday, with match play having started on Tuesday.


Ferrum coach exits

Michael Baggetta has stepped down as Ferrum’s coach to become the first head coach of the new men’s lacrosse program at Life University in Georgia.

Baggetta steered the Panthers for five years. The team was 4-11 overall and 1-9 in the ODAC this year.

NAIA member Life plans to begin playing men’s lacrosse in 2024.

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