The 2016 Yellow Jackets have nowhere to go but up. The majority of the team’s pitching from last year is gone and this year’s team is heavy on freshmen and sophomores, but Coach Chase Jones knows the future is bright for his team.
“It’s a rebuilding year but that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad year. I’ve told our kids in the regular season wins and losses don’t matter. It makes the season a lot more enjoyable the more games you win. This is the first year in a long time, if not in forever, that I’ve been coaching that I don’t have a clue what we’ll have win/loss wise. We could have as few as five wins but realistically we could have as many as 25 wins,” said Jones.
Grundy opens their season at Whitwell on Monday with a 5 p.m. start. Thursday through Saturday, they play in the Wildcat Classic in Chattanooga.
“We’re going to have some growing pains. We’ll go through some struggles early. We lost position players and our top seven out of our pitching rotation out of last year’s team. There’s just tons of question marks. We’re going to have some surprises that are going to step up for us. They’re going to have to step up for us. They’re going to have to step up for us, because if not it will be a long year. We’re going to make some youth mistakes early but I believe that when May rolls around, we could be one of those teams that other teams don’t want to see that time of year. We’re going to play with nothing to lose this season except for getting focused on getting better each and every day,” added the coach.
Grundy will have two seniors, two juniors, seven sophomores, and 12 freshmen this year.
“The future of the program is in great shape. There’s a lot of things to look forward to. I’m planning on having three teams in our summer program. Our Junior Jacket program, we’ve got some kids coming up. If those kids continue to make the right decisions on and off the field the future could be bright for our program,” said Jones.
Grundy will play the majority of their games on the road early.
“In week two we play Notre Dame and CCS in tournament action at home. Other than that we’re pretty much on the road for March and a lot of games at home in April,” said the coach.
The Yellow Jackets will fight against Cancer this season in a big way.
“We are going to be doing cancer awareness games with Marion County here and there. We’re going to be raising money as a competition to see who can raise the most. We will sell pink t-shirts and wearing special uniforms. We’re going to take that money and put it towards the Miracle on the Mountain Play Park in honor of Audrey Nunley. We want to do everything we can to see Grant Nunley be able to enjoy that park before he’s too big to enjoy it. We’ll take all the money from that game in gate, concessions, and other sales at the game and other things we’ll do to raise money in the community the Miracle on the Mountain Play Park,” said Coach Jones.
The Jackets are also raising funds with their annual hit-a-thon and selling ads for the game programs. Fans and businesses can still get an ad in the program if they would like.
“We’ve been blessed with tremendous community support since I’ve been here. We would be able to do the things we do without the great support of the community. If anyone would like to be in our program they can contact me at the school or Karen Davis,” said Jones.