With the annual TSSAA spring fling just around the corner, local sports fans are wondering if any area athletes will be putting their skills on display. If things progress as they have been recently, it’s likely some Stars may be aligning.
Siegel high school has enjoyed another banner season on both the softball and baseball fields in 2021. With a sectional appearance cemented, each will gun for a spot in the Tennessee state tournaments later this week.
The Lady Stars have continued their excellence under coach Shawn Middleton. With masterful guidance and great motivational skills, this middle Tennessee athletic coaching icon has engineered another fantastic campaign. For the third consecutive season, Siegel claimed the regular season district 7 AAA title in what is a very tough league. To top things off the Lady Stars capped an unbeaten district regular season with an unbeaten tournament run.
“The chemistry of this team is probably our biggest strength,” says Middleton. “We have got such a great group of kids that all have a team first mentality. They hang together on and off the field and are really a tight knit bunch.”
To go along with that chemistry, Siegel also has tremendous team speed, timely hitting, and great defense behind the excellent pitching of Mary Bradley. Different players have stepped up on different nights as the Lady Stars have found a way to win every contest except one this season.
“We have had some very talented teams here, but one through nine, this is probably our most complete lineup,” says Middleton. We can play small ball if we need to and we have girls that can go yard. Our overall team speed is good and that puts pressure on the opponents defense because a routine grounder is not routine with these kids. That versatility gives me great confidence as a coach.”
The Stars baseball team has also flourished in 2021. Like a super nova, Siegel burned through the district 7 AAA tournament and claimed their seventh title under head coach Craig Reavis. Now in his 25th season coaching the sport he starred in at Middle Tennessee State, Reavis and his cerebral approach continues to produce winning results.
“I still really enjoy what I am doing and it is a lot of fun coaching this game,” says the two time AAA state championship winner. “The competition and the kids still get the juices flowing and this stuff just never gets old.”
Having boasted strong pitching throughout his coaching career, this team is no different. In the 2-0 win over Lawrence County in the Region 4 semifinal, Jameson Nephew tossed a one-hitter while registering 10 strikeouts over seven innings.
“He wasn’t real happy with his last start,” says Reavis, “but he really stepped up here. We have been very fortunate to have a lot of quality arms come through here. There is no big secret to having good pitching, you just need to have talented kids and we have.”
A balance squad that finds ways to win, these Stars have continued to put a smile on the veteran leader in what has been a shining season.
“The best thing about this bunch is they always have fun and are just a great group of kids,” says Reavis. “I have not had to worry about any of them getting in trouble and they all work hard to get better every day. This has been a lot of fun so far, we just hope it continues.”