Former Lady Eagle Delaney Smith has grand season

Delaney Smith poses in stands with grandparents Valerie and Tony at one of the many games they attended this year.(Photo:DelaneySmith)

Delaney’s Grands Valerie and Tony hit to road for Granddaughter

June 2018

Dayton, TN —  Delaney Smith, former Lady Eagle softball player, who now just finished her initial season at Memphis University had a great freshman season.  It probably seems like she never left home.  That could be because of her grandparents Tony and Valerie Castlen.  The Castlens were on the road to Memphis, Nashville and Columbia, Tennessee as well as Tampa Florida this year to watch Delaney play softball.  In total they made ten trips.  The seven trips to Memphis along with the other trips to Nashville, Columbia and Tampa amounted to over 6700 miles on the road.  Add in hotels and you have a hefty amount of love for their grand.  Being a grandfather myself, I have sacrificed a lot of miles and times to spend time with my grands but since they are only 4 and 7, trips of this magnitude have not been necessary.  The grands had attended games along her softball career but this year they really put the miles behind their love.

When asked about the trips, Delaney Smith said, “They attended most of my home games and a few of my away games for high school ball. We had so many games during the week for high school it was hard with Maddie(sister) and Cooper(brother) also playing sports so they tried to divide the time equally.”

“My travel team, Fury, we traveled to far places so the only ones they attended was the one in Chattanooga and then they flew out to California twice to watch us.”

“This year, they came to every single home series and even some mid week games. I think it was close to 25 games they came to.”

“I loved having them in the stand especially when they did the 5th inning stretch because my Granddaddy would get everyone singing “take me out to the ball game” and our team’s parents loved it.  I also loved having them there because when my parents couldn’t come because of something else they had to do, they were there so I always had someone there.”

When asked for their reason(besides love) for the numerous trips. Tony and Valerie said, “We wanted to make her feel more at home her first year away from home in College and on the field.”

Delaney had a very good year as a Freshman.  She started all 58 games as a true freshman, making an immediate difference on the field and at the plate.  She ended the season third on the team with a .363 batting average, recording 61 hits with four doubles, four triples, and an inside the park home run.  She was lightning on the base paths, stealing 28 bases, which is third-most in a single season at Memphis.  Delaney scored a Memphis-record 42 times during the season, surpassing the 12-year-old record of 40 runs scored.

In High School, Delaney had a very good career as she was a  four-year letter winner, helped lead her team to a pair of District 6-AAA Championships and was a two-time District Defensive Player of the Year.  Delaney was named District MVP after her sophomore season and as a junior, finished with a .623 season with 40 stolen bases and 81 total hits.  She was also selected Best of Preps and played in Tennessee vs Georgia All Star Game.

Former Rhea County Lady Eagle softball player and future Memphis Lady Tiger Delaney Smith recently was selected for New Free Press Best of Preps first team and was also selected to the Tennessee All Star Team that will play on Monday night against Georgian All Stars.



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