Former Mt. Juliet High School softball standout Sarah Beth Roberts has seen her share of promotions over the years.
One came when she was named to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team in 2012 after lettering four years in the sport as a Lady Bear.
In high school, the Mt. Juliet native helped the Lady Bears on a Region 5 sub-state finish her senior year and a district championship in 2008. Also during her senior year, she was district most-valuable player, all mid-state first team and made the Tennessee Sports Writers Athletic Addociation’s All-State team. She was three-time all-district as a sophomore, junior and senior.
Roberts said she owes a lot of her success to former Mt. Juliet head softball coach Kacey Pedigo and travel coach Michael Connell.
“They have molded me into a great player,” Roberts said.
Then the promotion came two years ago. In her freshman season with the Lady Mocs, Roberts started 48 games at third base and appeared in 50 during the season. She finished with a .328 batting average with 45 hits and 6-out-of-7 stolen bases. She was fourth in the Southern Conference with 110 assists.
For her efforts, Roberts was named to the All-SoCon Second Team and all-freshman team.
Last year, Roberts started and played in 52 games, recorded 52 hits and drove in 30 RBIs. She led the sophomores with a .310 batting average, scored 23 runs and was 1-for-1 in stolen base attempts all while nursing a hurt hip.
“Last year, I was recovering from hip surgery,” Roberts said. “I was happy I at least got one [stolen base] in. It’s tough coming back from an injury, as always.”
Her coaches describe her as a strong starting third baseman with a quick release and solid at the plate.
“It’s known as the hot corner,” Roberts said. “It’s not ever soft when it comes to me, but it keeps me on my toes.
“We didn’t have as great a season as we wanted to, but I think next season will be better with the players that are coming in. We’re just going to put last season behind us and focus on next year.”
Roberts said she’s taking it easy a bit this summer as time draws closer to report back to school for two-a-day practices Aug. 18. It’s then when Roberts’ next promotion will come to that of upperclassman.
“There’s no better feeling than to start and finish at one school and to progress from freshman to senior,” Roberts said. “I’m looking forward to being a leader not only next year but also my senior year.”
She said the speed of the game compared to high school play is certainly faster and more intense, but she was quick to offer some advice to younger girls who have their eye set on playing at the collegiate level.
“It gets rough at times, but you just have to keep pushing through it,” Roberts said. “You will definitely have your heart challenged a couple of times, but there’s no doubt it’s worth it. The end result is amazing.”
While at UTC, Roberts is majoring in exception learning with an emphasis in special education. She plans to report back to school Aug. 10, a few days before fall practice starts.