published Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Hargis: Bailey family has kids playing on two state teams

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Jay and Melanie Bailey may have used up an entire month’s worth of family-plan texting in the first two days of the Spring Fling.

The Baileys were living every athletic family’s dream by having both their son Hadyn and daughter Morgan playing in the baseball and softball state tournaments this week. Hadyn is a junior pitcher and shortstop for Soddy-Daisy, while Morgan is a sophomore catcher for the Lady Trojans.

“We are constantly texting or calling each other for updates,” Jay Bailey said. “But I look at it like winning the lottery. I mean, how many people in the state get to say they had both kids playing in the state tournament? We feel really blessed.”

Even during the regular season, because both kids typically have games going on at the same time at different sites, the Baileys have been known to flip a coin to decide which one goes to watch Hadyn and which will go cheer for Morgan. Early Wednesday afternoon, with Soddy-Daisy’s softball team beginning defense of its Class AAA state title at the same time the baseball team was trying to avoid elimination after a first-day loss, Jay was at Morgan’s game and Melanie was Hadyn’s.

As Morgan made her way toward the on-deck circle for her first at-bat of the state tournament, during the first of two wins Wednesday, she looked through the chain-link fence and asked her father, “How’s Hadyn’s team doing?”

“My wife called and said Hadyn did the same thing at his game,” Jay said. “They’re really close and they’re each other’s biggest fans. That’s pretty neat to see as a parent.”

The Bailey’s signed Morgan up for softball when she was 3, but because of a lack of players, she switched to play on Hadyn’s youth-league baseball team and played with the boys until she was 7. She even made all-stars twice.

For nearly 15 summers since then, the Bailey kids have grown up at area ballparks. The family has eaten more grilled hamburgers or concession-stand candy for supper than they can count.

“My mom and dad used to help clean up at the Hixson youth park after our little league games, so I remember Hadyn and I would be out on the fields after our games sliding into the bases or playing together,” Morgan said. “I remember we both had the same bat that we liked to use in little league, and my dad would have to run it back and forth between the two fields where we were playing so we both could use it.

“We’re just a real close family. I’m glad Hadyn’s team made it up here so he could experience the state tournament. Even though I didn’t play much last year, it was an awesome experience, and now it’s even better because I’m playing. I’m happy he gets to know what this is like, too.”

While they Lady Trojans won both their games Wednesday, Soddy-Daisy’s baseball team was eliminated in its second game of the day.

As Hadyn finished his postgame supper, he was able to put a tough loss in perspective.

“Having both our parents support us is pretty special. It means a lot to both of us,” Hadyn said. “I wish we would have made it further, but I’m looking forward to getting to watch Morgan play now."

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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