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Grundy’s baseball and softball programs began their seasons this week after the weather caused some delays. The Jacket men were set to open Monday at White County but it was rained out. Tuesday they traveled to Whitwell. The Lady Yellow Jackets open their regular season today (Thursday) at home hosting Signal Mountain for a 5:00 district contest.
The men host a site for the Pirate Classic beginning today. They will face Warren County in the event today and play against East Robertson and Marion County on Friday. Coach Jason Evans has 26 players in a Lady Jacket uniform after 34 tried out for the team. Twelve players return from last year’s squad with four seniors, Kirsten Jones, Angel Schild, Ashton Scissom and Summer Northcutt.
Coach Evans talked Monday about the preseason. “We began weight training and conditioning in October for the players that weren’t involved in another sport. We had our tryouts February 11 and 12 to determine the team for this season. In five preseason games we picked up one win against Cornersville and a tie against Community High School. We had losses to South Pittsburg, Murfreesboro Blackman and Shelbyville,” said Evans.
He said there are things to get excited about even early in the season. “With 26 players on the roster we will be playing an eight game JV schedule along with the varsity schedule. The desire to improve has been a key to forming this year’s team. Seven players on this team are multi-sport athletes and several more have been multi-sport in the past. That’s a good foundation,” commented the coach.
He also knows there are weaknesses that have got to be shored up. “This softball program is on its fourth coach in four years. Even with returning players, the change in strategies and terminology are presenting challenges for a fairly young team. Right now we’re looking for the players to fill key leadership roles within the team in order to produce a successful season,” added Coach Evans.
Some Lady Jackets that should make in impact right away are seniors Summer Northcutt on the mound and at first and third base, and Kirsten Jones in center field, junior Torie Scissom at short stop, sophomore Harley Davis at pitcher and freshmen Madison Rogers at catcher and Sierra Kilgore who could play many spots.
On the baseball diamond Coach Chase Jones three seniors back with experience. The four seniors, Hunter Brown, Austyn Cooper, Josh Rhea and Dylan Cleek as well as junior Schylar Burgess are key players to watch this season.
Coach Jones’ team played in four preseason contests. “We were fortunate enough to get in all four scrimmages we had scheduled. We’ve had some bright moments in those and we’ve had some not so bright moments, but that’s what the preseason is for. We have a long way to go but I’m pleased with where we’re at right now,” said the coach.
And while the team is young if you look at the classes on the roster several of those younger players have experience. “We have a younger group that’s really not that young. They had a lot of experience playing last year. We’ve got several sophomores in our lineup that played last year. We also have a couple of juniors that are definitely going to contribute this year,” added Jones.
When asked what teams he was worried about this season Coach Jones put the focus directly on his team. “Not to be cliché but we’re worried about us. We’re going to make sure that we’re going to hustle and that we’re going to outplay folks. I don’t know what the scoreboard is going to say but our goal every time we step on the field no matter who we play is to outplay them. That’s what our goal is going to be the whole year and we’re going to play as hard as we can play. We’re going to do things right to the best that we can do them. Our goal is to play a perfect game of baseball. I don’t know that we’ll ever achieve that goal but our goal every time we step on the field is to play a perfect game of baseball. I want our kids 100% focused on doing things the right way and we’ll let everything else fall where it falls,” said the coach.
Both the coach and his team are ready to get the season underway. “I’m excited to get into competition and see where we stand. I’m very pleased with the work ethic that our kids have shown in the preseason. We’re all chomping at the bit to get out there and play. It’s going to be an exciting and fun year,” said Jones.
The Lady Jackets play a doubleheader at Cascade Friday beginning at 5:30. Monday they host South Pittsburg at 5:00. Tuesday they travel to Dunlap to face the Lady Indians at 5:00. After this weekend’s action in the Pirate Classic the Jacket men host White County Tuesday at 5:00. Get out to the diamonds this week and support Grundy County baseball and softball!