The "Canadian Connection" comes to Chattanooga State
Chattanooga, Tenn. —
With the Super Bowl finished, football will rest for the moment.
But Chattanooga State has already started their baseball season.
Friday was the home opener for the Tigers and their slew of international players.
And this year, they've made a Canadian Connection.
Infielders Ethan Cummins and Conner Morro connect beyond the baseball field.
Both players are from Toronto.
Morro played for Chatt State last year.
"I sort of shot him a message, told him how great this place was," Morro said.
Cummins quickly joined up with his buddy.
The two know each other from playing travel ball together in Canada.
Cummins said, "I really like it. The city's really nice. The baseball's good. I'm definitely happy for sure."
They both love the Scenic City weather.
Morro said with a chuckle, "Back home, I'm pretty sure it's snowing. My little brother was ice skating on my driveway last night. Being down here playing baseball in this weather, you can't really beat it."
Coach Greg Dennis is particularly pleased with the "Canadian Connection."
Dennis said, "Both of those are high academic kids and super young men."
The Canadian players help round out an international roster.
Dennis elaborated, "We try to recruit all over. We want local guys and area guys, but we also want to go out and find guys wherever we can."
The coach values academics before athletics. The team fielded a 3.36 collective GPA last fall.
Dennis added, "We've graduated over 85 percent of our sophomores over the last eight years. We're extremely proud of that fact. And this year, we've got seven guys that are in our global honors program, that are going to graduate with honors from here."
Like their teammates, the Canadians want to keep playing at a four year school and beyond.
For Cummins, baseball was not his first love. "When I was real young, I was a big time hockey player."
He added he saw very little cultural adjustment coming south. Of course, he noticed the accents and he's discovered sweet tea.
"Yeah, I love it. I love it."
Gentlemen, welcome to Chattanooga.