Spring sport state champions will be determined this month after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the games in 2020.
Which area softball teams have the best chance to win titles at Spring Fling May 25-28 in Murfreesboro?
Here are nine Midstate squads to watch during the TSSAA postseason:
Local front-runner: Summertown (27-2-1)
Summertown captured the Class A crown in 2018 and finished second in 2019, so it’s no surprise to see the Lady Eagles back in the hunt this year. The team’s only losses were to Class AA programs Forrest and Nolensville early in the season. Summertown might be ready for better competition after outscoring its opponents 211-19 through the first 30 games.
Not far behind: Eagleville (15-5)
Eighth-grade phenoms Brinli Bain and Addisyn Linton have led a resurgence at Eagleville, which has never advanced out of the district tournament. That should change in a big way this season. The Lady Eagles went unbeaten in 8-A league play and could be primed for a deep playoff run for the first time.
Local front-runner: Forrest (23-3-1)
Forrest is a regular in the Class AA state tournament. The Lady Rockets have made seven appearances and won three titles (2008, 2015, 2019). Jenna Blanton and Laura Mealer both hit over .500, and Ashley Milligan, who struck out 18 batters in a 5-3 win over Nolensville on Monday, has been a pitching force.
Not far behind: Macon County (26-4-1)
Macon County can make school history by qualifying for its first-ever state tournament. The Tigerettes advanced to the sectionals in 2015 and 2017 but lost to Chattanooga Central both times. Macon County’s high-powered offense is carried by Cadence Carter, Macy Meador and Abby Shoulders, who have combined for 126 runs, 135 RBIs and 28 home runs this season.
Local front-runner: Siegel (26-1)
Siegel has had to wait nearly two years to earn another crack at the Class AAA title after finishing as the runner-up to Jefferson County in 2019. The Lady Stars have made the most of their 2021 season, suffering just one loss to South Gibson on March 26. Junior Mary Bradley (20-1, 1.16 ERA) is the team’s ace in the circle, while Reagan Duran (.652 average) and Claire Czajkowski (.413) have combined for 83 RBIs and nine home runs.
Not far behind: Clarksville (35-1-1)
Clarksville’s eight-member senior class has done it all. That group owns more than 100 career wins, three District 10-AAA regular-season titles and two Region 5-AAA appearances. The only achievement missing is a state tournament appearance. Look for the Lady Wildcats to add that – and possibly more – to their resume in the next few weeks behind Murray State signee Erin Lackey and Evansville signee Sydney Weatherford.
Local front-runner: Columbia Academy (35-2)
Columbia Academy won the 2019 Class A state championship and has continued its dominance this year in Division II. The Lady Bulldogs have reeled off 21 straight victories since their last loss on March 31. Juniors Myleah Hardy (.500 average, 17 home runs) and Averi Slaughter (17 wins, 0.98 ERA) make for a lethal hitting-pitching combination.
Not far behind: Goodpasture (28-5)
Goodpasture hasn’t run into much trouble this season – save for a loss to Middle Tennessee Christian in the region tournament. Alabama signee Aubrey Barnhart (.596 average, 28 RBIs) leads the way at the plate, while junior Maddie Bowman (14-4, 2.98 ERA) and freshman Faith Brown (10-1, 1.57 ERA) give the Lady Cougars the luxury of having two reliable pitchers. Goodpasture has won nine state titles, the most recent of which came in 2011.
Local front-runner: Brentwood Academy (18-5)
The Lady Eagles are a best-of-three series win away from punching their third consecutive trip to Murfreesboro. Brentwood Academy is led by eighth-grade pitching standout Anna Groenewoud (2.65 ERA) and a pair of seniors in Caroline Clemmer and Felicity Chandler. The program last won a state title in 2002.
Not far behind: None
The DII-AA Middle Region doesn’t appear to be particularly strong this year. Brentwood Academy might be the area’s only hope for a state bid. Teams like Father Ryan and Pope John Paul II have been competitive but haven’t won consistently enough to be considered title contenders.