rising junior 2nd baseman
Claire Smith, leadoff hitter and "spark plug" for Wilson Central's Class AAA state championship softball team, has verbally committed to Middle Tennessee State University following an on-campus visit earlier this week.
Having just completed her sophomore year at Wilson Central, Smith hit .449 at the top of the Lady Wildcat lineup with 66 hits.
She scored 59 runs and stole 15 bases. Smith drove in 28 runs and in the state tournament -- tied a TSSAA record with two triples in the second round win over Siegel.
Smith and her teammates went 4-0 in the state tournament and closed out the 2015 season with 14 consecutive victories -- finishing 41-7-1.
Along the way, Wilson Central won both the District 9-AAA and Region 5-AAA tournaments as well as a Class AAA sectional contest.
"I just love the atmosphere at MTSU," Smith said, "the coaches are great. You can tell they are building a great program there and I want to be a part of it.
"I've been recruited by several other schools, but Middle Tennessee is close to home and my parents will be able to come see me play.
"They've got a new hitting facility and the dorms are great. It's everything I want in a school."
Smith plays with the Tennessee Illusions during the summer months and is sure to continue to attract the attention of other college coaches.
"I'm firm in my commitment," Smith said, "I'm glad to have had the opportunity to go ahead and get my decision out of the way."
Wilson Central coach Michael Shepard couldn't be happier for his second baseman.
"She set the table for us this year," Coach Shepard said. "She's so aggressive on the bases and she stepped her game offensively.
"She's always been a great bunter, but she worked on the small game -- slapping -- and that made a big difference this season.
"I think this was a good move for Claire," Shepard said, "now she can focus on school and softball. She's the kind of player who won't let this go to her head."
Smith is the daughter of Shawn and Dayna Smith and is scheduled to graduate from Wilson Central in 2017.