By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan County senior catcher, Maeson Tanner, is no stranger to hard work. When coaches, teammates, parents, and fans are asked to describe this young lady, the first thing that comes up is her work ethic. She was asked why? “I’ve watched my Dad (Johnny Tanner) work his butt off every single day in his landscaping business in the heat along with my “Pop” (John Tanner) who is 73 years old. He worked like that to make sure he could give us everything we ever needed and wanted. He has been a role model for me and my sister our whole lives. My Dad is one of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet and comes from a hard-working family. So is my Mom (Brenda Tanner). I guess it rubbed off on all of us.”
The 17 year old graduate’s hard work behind the plate for the Morgan County Bulldogs paid dividends this past week when Maeson decided to commit to play at the next level for the Johnson University Royals in Knoxville, Tenn. She said, “My church is involved with the school. It’s a Christian school. A travel team teammate told me about them so my Mom, sister, and I took a visit and had a tryout. Coach Woody (Bryan Woodlief) liked what he saw and told me I could come in next year as the starting catcher or if I decided to go somewhere else, I could transfer to Johnson at any point in the future. It seemed to be the best fit for me.”
Tanner plans on majoring in early childhood education. She and her parents are excited about her future in athletics and academics at Johnson. Mr. and Mrs. Tanner told the Morgan County Citizen, “To say we are proud of Maeson is an understatement. She has had a heart and passion for this game that most people can only dream of having. At a young age she showed such a natural talent and a true love for the game even though her quiet demeanor left a lot of people questioning her abilities on the field. Her hard work on the field and willingness to help her team out even if it’s pitching with not a single lesson
under her belt has proven her abilities time and time again. She has earned numerous awards over her years including the Golden Glove Award in centerfield as a seventh grader, the Lady Dog Award in eighth grade after moving to Morgan County, Defensive Player-of-the-Year her junior year, and the Heart Award her senior year. Maeson was a member of the varsity squad all four years and had the opportunity as an eighth grader to catch for the junior varsity. She has always been our fighter and endured many a trip to the ER only to ask ‘can I go back and play’? While we have enjoyed watching her on the field, it’s also been a blessing to watch her faith grow as she has participated in MOCO’s CLC program
all four years while also attending our church regularly. We are very excited to see her continue in her walk of faith at a Christian university where she can learn to touch the lives of children in more ways than just academics all while continuing the sport that she has loved for so very long.”
Tanner says her Dad was a major influence on her softball career and coached her travel team, the Georgia Breakers, along with Kemp Crawford since she was 10. “They groomed me to be a catcher. I have a passion for the position. You’re in on every play.” However, she didn’t move into the position at MCHS until her junior year when starting catcher Madison Henry was injured. Tanner was the starting right fielder at the time, but the transition was a natural one for her. She was named to the second team All-Region 8-AAA squad following her senior season in a very strong league with superior competition at the catching position. MCHS head softball Coach Jason McBay was quick to say, “Maeson is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. She received the Heart Award her senior year for being tough, refusing to quit, and playing some of her best ball when she could barely breathe with a pulled muscle against Alcovy.”
Kemp was also asked to comment on his travel squad star. He said, “She is
a fantastic kid and truly deserving of some recognition. Maeson is far more than her stats on the field. While she is an amazing player, her real strength is her love, loyalty and commitment to the people in her life. Her heart is so big; it can’t help but push her teammates, as well as coaches, to be better. It’s the effect she has on her teammates that makes Maeson special. Her parents are the best example of what a sports parent should be. Johnny and Brenda could write a book on how to do it. Maeson is like family to me. I’ve grown to love her like a daughter and I can’t wait to see the great things the future holds for her.”
McBay added, “Maeson Tanner is one of the toughest players I have ever coached. She is the perfect combination of grit and grace. As a catcher, she worked hard to become the best defensive catcher in the toughest region in AAA. She has so many qualities you look for in a leader – servant, diligent, speaks up when needed, sets example for others, and very loyal. I’m so excited for Maeson signing with Johnson University. She will do great things on the softball field and even more amazing things in her life after sports. She is secure in who she is and “whose” she is. I can’t wait to see all that God does in her life. Way to go #99!”
Maeson finished up the interview with these words, “Catching is a lot of work. It’s tough on the knees, but it’s where I want to play and be. I don’t know where I’d be without my parents.
My Mom quit her job to be at home with us every day. She will drop everything to get us whatever we need. I also wouldn’t be here without Coach Kemp. I’m his ‘other’ daughter. Playing for Coach McBay for four years has been awesome. He made me a better player and person.”
Her Dad said it best, “She likes to W-I-N! I think that’s why she works so hard.” If hard work has anything to do with the measure of success that Maeson has at the next level, it’s a shoo-in that she will do well.