The 2023 college softball season will be an exciting time for the Edgmon family because sisters Addy and Ella will be playing for Western Kentucky and Georgia Tech, respectively.
The path to Division I scholarships for the recent Sequatchie County High School standouts was built on years of hard work, including playing for select teams that travel to face elite competition at tournaments. Over the years, the Edgmon sisters played in 15 states and went as far as Los Angeles to build their skills and get noticed by college scouts.
"We honestly haven't added up the cost and don't want to," mom Kelly Moore Edgmon said of the price of putting her daughters through select softball. "I am sure the money we have spent over the years we could have saved and stayed home with college paid for, but they loved the game and we enjoy spending time with them. Softball started as a sport they loved to play and expanded to playing better competition in different regions."
The work went beyond games and even team practices. When not playing for Sequatchie's Lady Indians in the spring or traveling with their select teams in the summer, Addy and Ella worked out at home, took lessons from private instructors and molded themselves into the best possible athletes they could be.
Sequatchie County softball's Addy and Ella Edgmon
In the 2021 TSSAA season, the fleet-footed sisters combined for 78 stolen bases and helped Class 2A's Lady Indians slug a program-record 61 home runs. They also helped Sequatchie County reach the Spring Fling state tournament that year and in 2019.
This spring, Ella made an immediate impact at Georgia Tech as the freshman center fielder stole 13 bases and drove in 27 runs for the Yellow Jackets, who won 38 games and were 23rd nationally in the final RPI rankings.
Meanwhile, Addy had a dominant senior season at Sequatchie County, hitting .639 with 14 doubles, 14 triples, 18 home runs, 66 RBIs, 74 runs scored and 53 stolen bases in 36 games. She also was her team's top pitcher, going 17-5 with a 2.82 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 119 innings. The future Hilltopper did not make an error in her final two seasons, a span of 76 games.
"My girls played (recreation softball) as well as local, but I feel the level of competition from travel softball is what made them the athletes they are," Kelly said. "They never complained about missing a birthday party or event. Playing throughout the summer was always something they knew they had to commit to and wouldn't miss. All their hard work paid off doing something they truly love."
The Edgmon sisters are part of a vast softball-loving community in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia. Recently, 515 teams from around the country traveled to the Chattanooga area for the Scenic City Showcase, which was put on by Connect Sports - a local organization founded to help connect athletes with college coaches.
The cost for each team to compete in the event was $1,375, and the gate fee was $10 a day for the four-day tournament held at seven sites in Georgia and Tennessee: Camp Jordan, Edwards Park, Heritage Point, Jack Mattox Recreation Complex, Summit of Softball, Warner Park and Westside Park.
Many of the players and parents at the event would no doubt have understood what drove the Edgmons to stay on the go all those summers.
"Travel softball definitely helped our girls obtain Division I scholarships," Kelly said. "Competing against the best and always putting in the extra work is what helped Addy and Ella make it as far as they have."