Athlete of the week: Madeira Sirmons had a softball career to remember at Troup

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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Madeira Sirmons lived on the softball field. The Troup senior had a career to remember as a Tiger and is heartbroken to see it come to an end.

“It is extremely sad because I have played softball my entire life,” Sirmons said. “To watch the sport I love kind of being taken away makes me really sad.”

Her softball career with the Tigers had some lows and highs. Sirmons felt like she was in a slump in the playoffs until her two-out double in the 11th inning against Cairo in the state playoffs.

“I was in a bit of a slump to start the playoffs and I knew I had to do something to leave behind, so when I hit that double against Cairo it was probably the highlight of my softball career,” Sirmons said. “To know that it gave us a chance to keep moving forward and keep playing was super satisfying.”

Sirmons saved the Tigers from elimination as they went on to play two games against Perry for the super regional championship. That 11-inning game against Cairo will be imprinted into her memories for as long as she lives. 

“It was the best feeling in the world,” Sirmons said. “When I rounded second and looked back at the dugout, all my teammates and parents were screaming for me.

“That was the most intense game I’ve ever played.”

There have been highs and lows for Sirmons during her softball career at Troup, but it will represent a high that she will not likely forget anytime soon.

The four-year journey has been a long and winding road for Sirmons, who would not trade a second of it for the world.

Sirmons finished her senior season hitting .325 with a .389 on-base percentage. She finished fourth on the team with 19 RBIs and consistently locked down either corner infield spot on defense.

“I feel like my junior year was probably my best season, but this year was the most fun I’ve had,” Sirmons said. 

Sirmons has developed a strong bond with her fellow senior softball players during her time at Troup. The four, including Hadilee Arnold, Haley Kitchens and Patience Watkins are inseparable. They can often be found shooting texts to each other or at one of their favorite local spots like Sakura.

“We’re like the best of friends. We’ve grown as players especially,” Sirmons said, “When we met, we were just a couple of 12-year-olds playing softball not knowing what we’re gonna do out there in the outfield, but now we all play different positions.”

Sirmons also has curated a strong bond with her two high school softball coaches — head coach Ryan Simpson and assistant coach Haley Dodgins.

“I didn’t play varsity as a freshman, but they called me up to hit some as a sophomore and they really trusted me,” Sirmons said. 

The three will be reuniting along with Kitchens and Watkins for the flag football season which starts next week for the Tigers. 

“I’m playing flag now for the first time this year and a lot of the softball girls are playing so it is going to have a lot of the same team dynamics we had with softball,” Sirmons said. “I think we’re going to have fun this season.”

Sirmons is calling herself QB2 going into the season as she expects to be the backup quarterback to her friend and fellow senior softball player, Haley Kitchens. Sirmon’s older sister — Madison Shelton — is a softball coach at LaGrange High, where the two have enjoyed a fun sibling rivalry. The two plan to add another chapter to their playful sister rivalry as Sirmons suits up for Troup’s flag football team and Shelton serves as an assistant coach with the Grangers.

Her time on the diamond has come to its conclusion for the Tigers, but Sirmons still has some life left in her on the softball field. She plans to play travel ball in the spring, hopefully with some of her Tiger teammates.