2016 - 2017 Season
The Tigers return 8 players from last season and added 3 transfers to round out the sophomore class for this upcoming year. The large number of returners should bring leadership and playing experience to this year’s team.
The Tigers have one transfer pitcher, Courtney Condon (Alpharetta, GA) who will also be the only sophomore pitcher on staff. Courtney will bring leadership and a strikeout mentality to the mound for the Tigers. The coaching staff is excited to bring in a large freshman class of pitchers and look for them to contribute right away. Kaleigh Wynne (Knoxville, TN), a high school stand out will not only bring her power on the mound but she will provide homerun power to the line-up for the Tigers. Abbey White (Greenfield, IN) will also be a go to arm this season as a freshman. She has great speed and command of her pitches, and is a workhorse on the mound. Cede Loftis (Murfreesboro, TN) brings a different element to the pitching staff as a lefty and provides great movement with a mix of speeds. The sky is the limit for the freshman lefty and the coaches look for her to gain both speed and movement in the off-season. Cede is also a utility player and will help the Tigers with her strong bat and see some time at first base. Briley Garrett (Kingston, TN) will also be able to contribute on the mound but she will see the majority of her time in the outfield, using her speed to provide a spark to both the defense and offense.
The Tigers look to use a combination of catchers this season to help anchor the pitching staff. Taylor Cooper (Midland, GA) is a transfer sophomore who will provide leadership and a solid performance behind the dish. Taylor is looking to make a strong statement in her sophomore season on both sides of the ball with her power and speed. Freshman Tori Barnes (Chattanooga, TN) is another catcher who will be seeing some time behind the plate. Tori is a hard worker who provides great energy and work ethic. The coaching staff looks for her to develop as the season goes along to be a great asset to the program. Tori athleticism and skill set will allow her to see some time in the infield as well as behind the plate. Madison Kurtz (Clarksville, TN) will also be catching when she is not playing middle infield for the Tigers. This is a new transition for Kurtz and the coaching staff feels she could be a great option behind the plate with her strong arm and knowledge of the game.
In the infield, the Tigers will find leadership with 5 returning starters Devan Brown (Ringgold, GA), Lillie McCrary (Pisgah, AL), Madison Kurtz (Clarksville, TN), Alaeni Ray (Knoxville, TN), and Jennah McElheney (Winterville, GA). Each of these sophomores held a starting role on last year’s team and will be even stronger in their sophomore seasons. Not only can these five players get it done defensively, but offensively they combined last season for 49 of the teams 82 homeruns.
Newcomers to the infield are Niki Slone (Knoxville, TN), Aimie Davidson (Ringgold, GA), Leslie Sands (Pulaski, TN), Haley Johnson (Chickamauga, GA), and Emmaly Morgan (Cleveland, TN). Each of these freshman bring a different element and playing style to the defense. Davidson, Johnson, Sands, and Loftis will add solid depth to the corner positions with great size and power offensively. Slone and Morgan will add depth to the middle infield and will contribute with their skill set and quick feet. The freshman class will provide competition for the returners and will have equal opportunity to shine throughout the season.
There will be many new faces in the outfield this season as the Tigers return only two players from last year. Colbie Thomas (Dalton, GA) started in all 65 games as a freshman and the coaches are excited to have her leadership and experience in the outfield. Colbie was an offensive catalyst last season with 14 stolen bases and 82 hits on the year. She will be joined by Brie Levy who found herself getting some playing time in the outfield towards the end of the season. Brie often pinch hit and was in a DH role for the Tigers. She was clutch offensively late in the season especially during the conference tournament. Joining these two sophomores will be freshman Emily Burns (Murfreesboro, TN), Alyssia Bowen (Tullahoma, TN), Briley Garrett (Kingston, TN), and Megan Buffington (Vincenza, Italy). Each of these newcomers will have the opportunity to play right away. The outfielders will provide a combination of speed and power and will contribute to the line-up in various ways.
Transfer sophomore Jenna Thomas (Commerce, GA) and freshman McKenna Morgan (Sale Creek, TN) will both be used as utility players throughout the year. Thomas is a power hitter who will most likely find herself in a DH role or playing a corner this season. Morgan has a great bat and can play both infield and outfield and will be used wherever she is needed.
“We are looking forward to a great season and I couldn’t be more excited for all of our players. I have no doubt that we will continue to put up the offensive numbers we have in the past with a good mix of speed and power in the line-up. The biggest change for us this season will be our pitching staff. We have added some exceptional pitchers that we hope will take us a long way. This staff is the best I have had in 8 years of coaching and I am excited to see them grow and develop throughout the season. We have also added three new coaches to our staff this year. Jackie Baird (Chattanooga, TN) comes to us from Tennessee Tech and brings a wealth of knowledge to our team both defensively and offensively. Jackie is excited to get her feet wet and grow in the coaching profession as she completes her master’s degree. Brandon and Jamie Carr (Knoxville, TN) have come on board as our pitching coaches and will make an immediate impact with this year’s staff. I cannot thank them enough for their willingness to join us and I know they will be key to reaching our highest potential. I look forward to seeing all of our fans this season as they join us for this year’s journey. I am grateful for the opportunity to coach at Chattanooga State and I look forward to another special season.” – Head Softball Coach, Blythe Golden.