Sale Creek softball’s senior duo of Madison Stott and Madeline Ilene Gentry have been instrumental to the tremendous success that the team has enjoyed over the past couple of years as the Lady Panthers have transformed into one of the elite programs in the state.
In the past two seasons, the Lady Panthers have an overall record of 65-17, and have won back-to-back District 4-A, Region 2-A, and sectional championships. Making it to the state tournament in Murfreesboro both years, they advanced all the way to the championship game in 2018 before falling to Summertown to finish as the state runner-up.
Now, with a young but promising team this season, head coach Clifford Kirk said that Stott and Gentry were pivotal in their roles as team leaders, often running practices on their own.
“These are two of the best leaders that I’ve ever had,” said Kirk, a Hall of Fame coach who has won over a thousand games and ten state championships in his time at Hixson, Soddy-Daisy, and Sale Creek.
“They were really good at helping to explain anything the girls didn’t understand and setting a tone. Earlier this spring when we weren’t allowed to do a lot with the players, they would take the girls and set up workouts for them and we would just be there for liability purposes. I really thought we had a chance this season with so many young players that were tune in to what we were trying to do. This team has gotten along better than just about any other team that I’ve coached.”
“They have both been a blessing, and welcomed me into the program with open hearts,” said first-year assistant coach Nikki Robbs. “That is something that will never be forgotten; I will truly miss them.”
Madison Stott: Pitcher/Shortstop
Stott is a four-year starter who was named the district player of the year last season after leading the Lady Panthers in nearly every statistical category at the plate and in the circle. She will be continuing her softball career next season at Tennessee Wesleyan.
“Madison is my number one pitcher and leader at the plate,” said Kirk. “I’m glad that she is going to get the chance to play at the next level and continue to play softball beyond this year.”
“She is a stellar athlete driven by her love and passion for the game of softball,” added Robbs. “She displays leadership skills through her actions and has a heart to serve her teammates however she is needed.”
In addition to her accomplishments on the field, Stott did dual enrollment classes. She plans on majoring in special education while in college because of her love for teaching and helping kids. She also collected items to take to Cookeville to aid the tornado victims earlier this year.
2018 (batting): .333 batting average, eight doubles, three homeruns, 20 RBIs, 14 runs scored, .878 OPS
2018 (pitching): 13-3, 1.06 ERA, 91 strikeouts, 99.1 IP
2019 (batting): .479 batting average, 11 doubles, one homerun, 28 RBIs, 20 runs scored, 1.125 OPS
2019 (pitching): 12-5, 2.33 ERA, 80 strikeouts, 105.0 IP
Madeline Ilene Gentry: First Base/Third Base
Gentry is also a four-year starter at the corners in the infield. She was named to the TSSAA All-Academic team last season. She plans on attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and majoring in pre-dental with the hopes of attending dental school after graduation.
“This would have definitely been Madeline’s best year; she had really looked good in the practices and practice games that we had,” Kirk said. “She’s been putting the bat on the ball the best she’s done since she’s been with me.”
“Madeline is the mama bear on the team,” said Robbs. “She is always on top of any task leading by example. She has a big heart for the Lord and her teammates. She is also a big encourager and serves her team well; she exemplifies excellence on and off the field.”
2018: .257 batting average, four doubles, one homerun, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, .741 OPS
2019: .372 batting average, ten doubles, one homerun, 30 RBIs, 14 runs scored, .959 OPS
The Chattanoogan Senior Spotlight series highlights local prep seniors whose seasons have been put on hold due to the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are associated with a high school spring sports team and would like your seniors featured, please encourage the coach to reach out to me at email@example.com. Also, share this article and others like it from this series on social media using #ChattanooganSeniorSpotlight.