Lorelei Spradlin and Katey Mathena have been friends since preschool, and they have played softball together since elementary school.
This has included several years of recreation-age softball and four years for the Blacksburg High School varsity. This week, they announced plans to attend Carson-Newman University to continue their collegiate careers, but what else, together on the diamond.
Spradlin is excited about continuing the journey with her friend.
“I’m looking forward to being able to mature in the game together,” Spradlin said. “We’ve already been together for so long (10 years), and built a strong foundation of chemistry, but playing at a higher level will push us further than ever before, and I can’t wait.”
Spradlin is a pitcher and Mathena is her catcher, making this relationship even stronger. Those positions will not change in college.
Mathena chose CN after looking at over 30 schools with the only one that excited her being the final decision.
“The atmosphere and welcoming nature that that school gave made it feel like home. The coaching staff at Carson-Newman is also another reason why I chose to continue my softball career at Carson-Newman. They spent a lot of time telling me all about their program and showing me how much they cared about each of their athletes. It also helps that my best friend and pitcher is also attending,” she said.
Spradlin said the school checked all her boxes.
“I was looking for a small, Christian, environment that had my major and an opportunity to play softball. Plus, all of the coaches and players are super kind-hearted, so I can tell that’s where God wants me to be.”
Mathena has been a starter for the past four years and was named first-team All-District for two years in a row and second-team All-Region her sophomore year. Last year, she batted.417 with 25 hits.
Spradlin has been right there with her battery mate. In her sophomore and junior years, she was named first-team All-District and second-team All-Region. She pitched 90 innings this past year with 123 strikeouts, giving her 200 strikeouts for her career, while posting a 2.0 earned run average including a perfect game against Salem.
Carson-Newman University is a private Baptist university in Jefferson City, Tennessee with current enrollment of 2,536 students. The school is a member of the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) and fields 21 varsity teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II competition.
CNU finished 31-18 in softball this past season, losing in the NCAA Regionals. Michael Graves returns for his 16th year as the head coach of the softball team.
In his five full seasons at the helm of the program, Graves has coached Carson-Newman to a trio of NCAA Southeast Regional appearances. In 2018, as the Eagles’ interim head coach, he also captained C-N to a regional appearance, as well as a SAC tournament title.
In college, Mathena plans to major in Graphic Design and minor in marketing, while Spradlin is leaning toward Kinesiology/Exercise Science (Athletic Training).