The Chattanooga-area was well represented on the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Softball Team for 2021. Having 20 girls named to the team is a true testament to the quality of the sport in our area.
There were student-athletes from Chattanooga and its surrounding area honored in every classification with 10 of the 12 spots in Division II-AA going to the Scenic City. As Baylor head coach Kelli Smith remarked, “10 of the 12 spots held by Chattanooga girls illustrates how talented our city is with incredible softball players.”
Baylor roared through their schedule this season and it all culminated in the school’s sixth straight state championship. The Lady Red Raiders led the area with five girls picked for the DII-AA squad.
Smith stated, simply, “We are so proud and honored to have so many Baylor girls represented on the All-State team.”
Senior Acelynn Sellers, a UTC signee and five time state champ, was a major part of Baylor’s success, in the field, on the mound and at the plate. Sellers was selected at the Utility position. She ended the year with a .551 batting average and a 5-0 won-lost record on the mound.
Cadashia Collins was selected as an infielder and earned that pick with a .561 batting average, going 39 for 74 at the plate. She had 53 total bases and an on base percentage of .561.
Rising junior Syd Berzon was another of those players who contributed at the plate and on the mound. Inn 77 innings pitched, Berzon was a perfect 17-0 with 179 strikeouts for an ERA of 0.47. At the plate she finishe with a .389 batting average.
Raven Jones, selected as an outfielder, also saw duty on the Baylor mound, helping tp lead the team to its record of 27-1. In the lady raiders’ first round game against Briarcrest, Jones twirled a two-hitter and four doubles with four RBIs in the doubleheader.
Also, a part of Baylor's tenacious outfield was freshman Addi Yates. Yates had a batting average of .498 and went 38 for 77 at the plate. She scored 38 runs with four homeruns. Yates was a terror on the basepaths, going 20 for 20 on stolen bases and not afraid to sacrifice her body on head first slides.
In Class A, both players named hail from Sale Creek. Infielder Shelby Sullivan . According to head coach Nikki Robbs, “They both were true leaders for our season! Their energy and dedication to our team profoundly impacted our success! It’s been an honor to coach the both of them and I’m thankful for the opportunity I had To coach them their senior year!”
Class AA saw four picks from this area. Red Bank’s Lexie Wright and Bailee Phillips were honored along with Ella and Addy Edgemon from Sequatchie County. Both teams went deep into the bracket at this year’s Spring Fling.
Wright, an outfielder, had a batting average of .561 after going 56 for 91 at the plate She had 42 runs and 42 RBIs to help fuel the Lady Lions’ offense.
Phillips, was an iron horse on the mound for a team that played the year without a lot of players on the bench. She pitched every inning of the Lady Lions’ run in the state tournament and was on the mound in 32 games during the regular season, going 22-10 with 309 strikeouts.
The talented senior also went 52 for 112 at the plate for an average of .464 with 12 homeruns and 50 RBIs.
Sequatchie Cunty head coach Kelly Somerville offered this about her two senior selectees, “Ella is the epitome of a leader-by-example. She has set the tone for our team with her strong work ethic and competitive nature. Ella's teammates look up to her and have become better softball players by playing alongside her.”
She continued, “Addy is self-motivated, driven and passionate about the game of softball. She's willing to lay it all on the line for her team to win. Addy's skill and grit have earned her the respect of anyone who has competed with her or against her.”
In the Class AAA category, the area had two honorees, both exceptional in the field and at the plate.
Syerra Rogers, a Carson-Newman signee, was the workhorse for the Lady Hurricanes and providing senior leadership. Her coach, Norma nelson, said, “This is so well deserved. Syerra worked really hard and led us at the plate and on the mound.”
As a pitcher, the Rachel Gamble Award winner, was 19-3-2. In 144.2 innings she struck out 272 and gave up 75 hits. In the batters box, Rogers carried a .422 average with 38 hits in 90 at bats. She had 12 homeruns and 42 RBIs.
Rogers used the year off due to the pandemic to improve her mound presence, according to Nelson.”She worked out daily and got so much better,” said the veteran coach. She went on to say, “It is a true honor to make the TSWA team, it is the granddaddy of them all.”
Walker Valley’s honoree is infielder Sierra Brown. According to Walker Valley head coach Lauren Limburg, “Sierra is not only an awesome softball player but also a special young lady. She is a selfless teammate who continually cares for and supports her team. She had a terrific season at both the plate and in the field. She is a tremendous hitter. She hits for both average and power.
Limburg continued, “She (Brown) had some huge hits for us this season in key situations. Sierra was an RBI machine and hit several home runs. She has an awesome glove at first base and continually makes great defensive plays. Sierra is an incredibly hard worker and a joy to coach!”
McCade Cooper of Silverdale and Presley Williamson of Boyd Buchanan were selected in Division II-A.
Cooper was her district’s MVP and led the Lady Seahawks to a region championship and third place finish at the state tournament.
Helping out on the mound when her team needed it, her stats at the plate during the regular season was .322 with 42 RBIs and eight homeruns. She da five doubles and scored 28 runs.
Silverdale head coach Jackie Freeland had this to say about Cooper, ““McCade led our team in both RBI’s and home runs. She is a clutch hitter, who you want to be up in pressure situations.”
Boyd Buchanan, Jeff Stone had this to say about his senior honoree,, “Presley was the heart and soul of our team, a leader and fierce competitor. At catcher, she has a strong arm and great glove, yet could play anywhere on the field. Offensively, Presley can hit for average and change a game in one swing with her power. UTC is getting a great one in Presley!
Chattanooga Christian had three players named in Division II-AA, Lauren Kay, Madison Vandergriff and Emily Day.
Kay, a Covenant College signee, is honored as an infielder. Her stats include a .485 batting average with a .585 on base percentage. She had 10 homeruns and 31 RBIs.
Vandergriff, who will play collegiately at Carson-Newman, was also named as an infielder. Her batting average was .394 with 10 doubles and six homeruns.
Day was a Division II-AA East All Region selectee, who was the “go to” presence on the mound for the Lady Chargers.
Lisa Gray, CCS head coach, offered this about her team’s three honorees, “Lauren, Madison, and Emily have played invaluable roles not just this year but in all the years they have been in our program. They are competitors that bring out the best in their teammates and have left a work ethic expectation and culture that will impact this program for years to come.”
When notifed of GPS’ two players named to the team, head coach Martha Hanzelik, said, ”Wow! That's fantastic news! They both had unbelievable seasons. These girls have had to overcome so much this season. They came together and helped lead the team to a fantastic season.”
Of Blevins she offered, “(She) is a player that lays it all on the line. She works incredibly hard to put her best effort into every play of every game. Ansley said that "Being selected for the All State Team is an honorable reward for all the hard work she has put in."
When asked about Cunningham, Hanzelik said, “Chapel has the ability to change the momentum of the game. Weather she made a play and short to end the inning or lead off an inning with a hit she finds a way to make things happen. Chapel had a fantastic season. She lead the team in batting average and on base percentage. Her leadership and energy is contagious and will be missed.”
TSWA ALL-STATE SOFTBALL TEAM
C: Brinli Bain, Eagleville, 8th grade
IF: Hailey Jones, Summertown, Sr.
IF: Shelby Sullivan, Sale Creek, Sr.
IF: Kaley Campbell, Summertown, Sr.
IF: Briley Dover, Loretto, So.
OF: Zoey Neal, Gibson County, Sr.
OF: Sophie Theobald, Union City, Jr.
OF: Ashtyn Danley, Huntland, So.
UT: Hannah Skiles, Sale Creek, Sr.
P: Claire Woods, Summertown, Sr.
P: Addisyn Linton, Eagleville, 8th grade
P: Campbell Gaby, North Greene, So.
C: Olivia Underwood, Sequoyah, Sr.
IF: Abby Shoulders, Macon County, Sr.
IF: Italia Kyle, Alcoa, Jr.
IF: Jenna Blanton, Forrest, Sr.
IF: Laura Mealer, Forrest, Sr.
OF: Addy Edgmon, Sequatchie County, Jr.
OF: Ella Edgmon, Sequatchie County, Sr.
OF: Lexie Wright, Red Bank, Sr.
UT: Mykenzi Duke, Lexington, So.
P: Bailee Phillips, Red Bank, Sr.
P: Cadey McDaniel, Lexington, Jr.
P: Ashley Milligan, Forrest, Sr.
C: Makenzie Henderson, Anderson County, Jr.
IF: Cameron Young, Farragut, Sr.
IF: Cayden Baker, Powell, Sr.
IF: Hayden Dye, Powell, Sr.
IF: Sierra Brown, Walker Valley, Jr.
OF: Avery Strickland, Farragut, Jr.
OF: Reagan Duran, Siegel, Jr.
OF: Syerra Rogers, East Hamilton, Sr.
UT: Lauren Brakovec, Farragut, Jr.
P: Keri Munn, Coffee County, Sr.
P: Catelyn Riley, Jefferson County, Sr.
P: Avery Flatford, Farragut, Jr.
C: Presley Williamson, Boyd Buchanan, Sr.
IF: Myleah Hardy, Columbia Academy, Jr.
IF: Aubrey Barnhart, Goodpasture Christian, Sr.
IF: Kayla Clement, Tipton-Rosemark, Jr.
IF: Brooke Harrison, Tipton-Rosemark, Fr.
OF: Hailey Brooks, Grace Christian Academy-Knoxville, Fr.
OF: Ella Brooks, Grace Christian Academy-Knoxville, Jr.
OF: Karli Quillin, Columbia Academy, Jr.
UT: McCade Cooper, Silverdale Baptist, Jr.
P: Averi Slaughter, Columbia Academy, Jr.
P: Charli Rice, Tipton-Rosemark, Sr.
P: Journey Mitchell, Columbia Academy, Sr.
C: Ansley Blevins, Girls Preparatory, Jr.
IF: Cadashia Collins, Baylor School, Jr.
IF: Chapel Cunningham, Girls Preparatory, Sr.
IF: Lauren Kay, Chattanooga Christian, Sr.
IF: Madison Vandergriff, Chattanooga Christian, Sr.
OF: Addi Yates, Baylor School, Fr.
OF: Neely Taylor, St. Benedict at Auburndale, Jr.
OF: Raven Jones, Baylor School, Jr.
UT: Acelynn Sellers, Baylor School, Sr.
P: Syd Berzon, Baylor School, Jr.
P: Josie Gex, St. Benedict at Auburndale, Sr.
P: Emily Day, Chattanooga Christian, Sr.
(Email Assistant Sports Editor Dennis Norwood at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @noogasportsdude)