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STATE TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: 5 things to know before the Lady Raiders hit the field in the 2023 TSSAA Spring Fling

CHS Lady Raiders celebrate after beating Smyrna 4-0 Friday, May 19, 2023 and clinch a third straight state tournament appearance. -- Photo by Holly Peterson, THUNDER RADIO WMSR

Coffee County fans should be pretty accustomed to the policies, procedures, driving directions and all of that good stuff when it comes to the TSSAA Spring Fling by now. After all, this will mark the third consecutive trip to the big dance for the Lady Raider softball team.

But just in case it is new for you – we will fill you in.

The Lady Raiders (27-7 overall) will take on Nolensville (37-14, according to Max Preps) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23 at McKnight Park Field #2. (complete bracket at the bottom of this story).

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1 – The matchup

Coffee County comes into the state tournament winners of 11 straight – dating back to a April 26 win over Shelbyville. Coffee County’s last loss was 3-0 to Green Hill on April 24.

Coffee County has not allowed a run in 5 straight games, including a shutout run through the region and sectional behind the right arm of Kaitlyn Davis and the Coffee County defense, which has not made an error in three straight games.

Coffee County will have the luxury of an experienced veteran in the circle at the spring fling. Davis was Coffee County’s primary starter last year and got a couple innings of work her sophomore year when the Lady Raiders finished state runner up to Farragut. Davis brings a 1.32 ERA to Murfreesboro this year and she will be bringing her big bat, too. Davis has launched 11 home runs, including 2 big ones against Smyrna in state sectional Friday. With two more big flys she can tie the CHS single season home run record set by …. Kaitlyn Davis in 2021.

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Nolensville is a tough draw. The Knights have won 5 straight and they dismantled Beech in the sectional round, winning 10-0.

The Knights are led by Rylan Smith in the circle. The Western Kentucky signee has gone 24-4 with a 1.03 ERA.

2. How the media sees it

The Tennessean latest large class rankings unsurprisingly have Coffee County and Nolensville neck and neck.

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Coffee County is ranked 2nd, ahead of Nolensville at third. Green Hill tops the rankings with a 40-2 record. All three teams are in the spring fling.

3. How to get there

Games are played at McKnight Park with two centers – StarPlex and McKnight Park. Both locations are on the same 81-acre complex near the Murfreesboro airport. Put 120 Dejarnette Lane Murfreesboro into your GPS and that will get you close.

Keep in mind, traffic entering the park at peak times (basically anytime after 3 pm) can leave you in a jam (no pun intended). If you’re leaving from Manchester, give yourself an hour to get there accounting for interstate traffic and Murfreesboro traffic. If you get lucky and slide right in – enjoy a burger and get some merchandise. You could also swing by and find the Thunder Radio team and say hello.

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4. Bring your wallet

Tickets are $15 if you purchase with cash at the gate. You can purchase in advance through GoFan and save $1.40. TSSAA advertises GoFan tickets at $12, but that figure is a bit misleading considering $1.60 service fees make your total $13.60. If you want to purchase tickets in advance, click here and scroll down to select “Softball- Starplex & McKnight Fields.” Otherwise you can pay at the gate.

You will also need to pay for parking, which is $5 per day so be sure and bring cash for that.

5. How to keep up during the games

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Plenty of people will be making the trek – but not everyone can pick up and go to Murfreesboro every day. That’s what Thunder Radio WMSR is for.

You can hear every single Coffee County game in the state tournament on Thunder Radio WMSR. Tune in at AM 1320 or 107.9 FM. You can also listen from your computer or phone by clicking here or on your phone with the Manchester Go Smartphone App.

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