Abby Shoulders

Abby Shoulders

Abby Shoulders didn't see the need to wait around.

She already received what she was hoping for.

The Macon County High softball standout recently verbally committed to continue her education and playing career at Middle Tennessee State University.

"MTSU has been my No. 1 for a while now," Shoulders said. "I thought that was where I should be.

"I always said that if my No. 1 offered me that I would take it. There was no competition between the other ones."

Shoulders attended a camp at MTSU on Sept. 1.

"That was the first day that college coaches could talk to us," Shoulders said. "After the camp, they invited me back to the homecoming (game on Oct. 26).

"When I went down for the visit, I really liked the coaches, the campus and the facilities. Most importantly, I liked the coaches and the girls the most. They were nice and laid back. It was also close to home. That made me like it even better."

MTSU was the only scholarship offer that Shoulders received, although she received interest from Austin Peay State University, Belmont University, Western Carolina University and Western Kentucky University.

MTSU extended the offer that Saturday, and Shoulders accepted that weekend.

"I've dreamed of playing college softball for as long as I can remember," Shoulders said. "I knew I had to work hard for it. I knew I had to put a lot of time into it and take it serious."

Sholders' sister, Allyson Shoulders, is a freshman at Cumberland University.

"I kind of knew what I was expecting (in the recruiting process), but some of it was a little different (than Allyson Shoulders' recruitment)," Shoulders said. "It's a big relief. I didn't like the recruiting process. It stressed me out. It was stressful trying to perform every weekend (in travel softball). I'm glad it's over and that I get to go to MTSU. Now, I get to just go out and have fun on the weekends and not worry about anything."

Shoulders was the District 8-AA Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season, after being selected as the 8-AA Most Valuable Freshman in 2018.

She plays shortstop for Macon County High, though she has also played second base and in the outfield for the Chattanooga-based Fury Platinum. Shoulders is expected to be a middle infielder for the Blue Raiders.

As a sophomore, Shoulders led the Tigerettes with 45 runs scored, 22 stolen bases and six triples. She had a .485 batting average, 11 doubles, one home run and 26 RBI.

She helped Macon County win its first regular-season district title since 2008 and then finish third in the 8-AA Tournament, ending the season with a 26-11 record.

As a freshman, Shoulders hit .505 with 15 doubles, scored 38 runs, stole 28 bases and drove in 15 runs.

Shoulders is also a starting guard on the Tigerette basketball squad and also played soccer for Macon County High as a freshman.

"I used to say that basketball and softball were my top two (sports)," Shoulders said. "There's something about softball I just love to do."

Jeff Breeden is in his eighth season as the head coach at MTSU, having helped the Blue Raiders win the Conference USA Tournament last May and advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. It was the program's second conference title and second NCAA Tournament appearance in the history of the program (having won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament in 2000).

MTSU posted a 39-22 record last season, a single-season record for wins.

Abby Shoulders' parents will have decisions to make in relation to travel with daughters playing at two different schools.

"I have no idea what they'll do," Shoulders said. "They're a little sad that Allyson is gone. I don't know how they'll be when we're both gone. I guess they're just going to have to travel all the time … get a little bus or something.

"I'll be close to Allyson too. I like that I'm not too far from Lebanon."