MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – An eighth grade softball player in Rutherford County has accepted a scholarship offer to play for the University of Tennessee when she graduates from high school.
Caitlyn McCrary is a standout player for the Oakland Middle School Chargers.
McCrary told News 2 UT Lady Vols Coach Ralph Weekly saw her play in a tournament. He spoke to her coach who then spoke to Caitlyn’s parents and suggested they give Weekly a call.
Last October, McCrary took an unofficial visit to Knoxville and committed in January.
“I didn’t expect to commit early,” she said. “I expected to get a college scholarship somewhere but the college I wanted to go to; I was surprised and thankful that God opened the door for me.”
McCrary plays third base for the undefeated Chargers. Her coach Charlotte Peay said her early commitment is something that will motivate the other players on her team.
“A lot of them, that’s what they want to do; they’ll tell you they want to play at a D1 school one day,” explains Peay. “Just to see that dream is almost within reach, I think it gives them a little more motivation to continue working hard.”
McCrary said practice and games take up a lot of her time, but when it comes to being a 13-year-old girl, her parents and coach are careful to keep things in perspective.
“There’s a balance. If you do too much, you get burnt out,” said McCrary. ” [The scholarship offer] takes a lot of pressure off me in high school, so I can just focus on my grades and having fun in high school.”
The scholarship offer and commitment are non-binding so her recruitment won’t likely stop.
The 13-year-old told News 2 while the UT offer is her first, Auburn, Alabama and Mississippi State have all expressed interest in her playing for them as well.