Published: March 23, 2013
Since Oakland Middle was created in 2011, its athletic program has enjoyed success in most sports, including softball.
The Lady Chargers softball team finished an undefeated season as county champions two seasons ago. Last season, they finished with only two losses in the county, but one was in the postseason tournament.
The program has only had one head coach during its young history, former MTSU and Oakland star Charlotte Peay. She has made the program one of the gold standards in the county. She gives credit for the success to everyone involved in the program.
“We just have a bunch of good kids, good talent and good parents,” Peay said. “They have bought into our hard work ethic as a coaching staff.”
So far, this season, Oakland Middle has an overall record of 8-2, including 4-0 inside the county, which included a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the Lady Falcons on Thursday at Oakland High.
The Lady Chargers trailed for most of the contest until the bottom of the fourth. Down 4-2 to the Lady Falcons, Oakland Middle scored three runs, including a two-run RBI single to right field by left fielder and eighth grader Lindsay Randolph to give Oakland Middle its first lead of the game.
Stewarts Creek Middle tied the scored in the top of the sixth, when right fielder Breanna Balmer scored on a fielder’s choice by third baseman Ali Decker. However, the Lady Chargers responded in the bottom of the sixth on a pop fly by second baseman Olivia Davenport, which sent the winning run across the plate.
Even with the hard fought loss, Lady Falcons head coach Selina Walker was pleased with the team’s performance.
“I was very impressed with the girls. We had a made a few errors in the field that probably cost us a couple of runs,” Walker said. “In all, I am very impressed with them, especially when they stayed in there, kept their heads up and never got down on themselves. So I’m very proud of them.”
As for the players, they pride themselves on being successful on the field and in the classroom. According to Peay, the Lady Chargers have a combined grade point average of 3.56.
For one of those players, eighth grade pitcher Maleia Gray, who picked up the win on the mound Thursday, taking care of the studies has made her better both on and off the diamond.
“As an athlete, I think it’s important to keep a high GPA,” Gray said. “We focus more on schoolwork, because that always comes first. Knowing you have to have a high GPA to play, it keeps you going.”
Some of the previous Lady Chargers have taken their success to the high school level as members of the Oakland High Lady Patriots softball team.
For Stewarts Creek Middle, their current players will get the chance to move up to the high school level, and stay in the same area when Stewarts Creek High opens next year.
Walker is excited for the future of not only the middle school program, but seeing some of the players getting a high school to call home.
“It’s going to be awesome for them. They will get a high school of their own. It’s been hard for our school since they had been split up in three different high schools,” Walker said, referring to Smyrna, La Vergne and Blackman. "There has never been that unity, so for them to have a high school of their own is going to be a big bonus for us. It will be an opportunity for us to build a program.”