Sequoyah softball

Sequoyah softball players celebrate during the Lady Chiefs’ game against Sweetwater on Thursday, May 9.

Searching for some high-quality, competitive softball?

Look no further than Monroe County.

All three county teams fielded strong campaigns this past season, with each school making it to sectional play. The teams produced one region tournament title, one district tournament title and four runners-up finishes in tournament play.

“I’m super proud of our county, the way we’ve been performing between us, Sequoyah and Tellico,” Sweetwater head coach Sarah Davies said after the Lady Wildcats’ win over Sequoyah in the Region 3-AA tournament. “It shows something about Monroe County.”

Sweetwater, despite not making it back to the state tournament for what would have been the third consecutive year, still won the Region 3-AA tournament title, was runners-up in the District 5-AA tournament and finished one game away from state in sectionals, where it was defeated by Sequatchie County.

Sophomore Mari Robbins, the 2019 All-County Co-MVP, was electric, finishing the season with a .616 batting average and 41 RBIs and shedding light on the Lady Wildcats’ bright future. Juniors Addie Lowe and Emily Barnes and freshman Ally Starnes will also be key returners for Sweetwater next year.

Davies herself has been nothing short of a rousing success at the helm of Sweetwater’s softball program. Her coaching has been instrumental in leading the Lady Wildcats to their recent successes.

Sequoyah’s coach, Allen Roberts, has no reason to be envious, though. His Lady Chiefs made it to the sectionals as well and won the District 5-AA tournament title over Sweetwater, while falling to the Lady Wildcats in the region tournament final.

2019 All-County Co-MVP Olivia Underwood was sensational in just her sophomore season, recording 44 RBIs and a .653 batting average. She joins 2019 All-County Rookie of the Year Kadence Brewer as young players that should be key for Sequoyah in the coming seasons.

Sweetwater vs. Tellico softball

Ally Starnes readies to catch a ball as MacKenzie Armstrong runs to base during Sweetwater’s game against Tellico Plains on Monday, March 18.

But let’s not forget Tellico Plains, which produced its own strong 2019 season by finishing as runners-up in both the District 4-A and Region 2-A tournaments. Head coach Sharon Mckinnon’s team dealt with injuries well and used the efforts of an impressive senior class to put the team in good position for the coming years.

“It’s been a great group this year,” McKinnon said after Tellico’s season-ending sectionals loss to Unaka. “It’s been a fun season. We just wanted to punch that ticket.”

So what’s next for these high-achieving county teams?

The goal is to build on their 2019 successes in order to perform even better in 2020. For each program, that means making it to the state tournament, as every team was just one game away from that prize.

That’s a hefty challenge though, one that will take a near-perfect run and some big wins from each squad in order to put them in the right position to make the much-coveted trip to Murfreesboro. It certainly won’t be easy.

But if 2019 is any evidence, there are good things ahead for Monroe County’s softball teams in the future.

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