Jessie Sharp is Pigeon Forge's 'energy pack'
Mired in a tight district battle with Fulton, Pigeon Forge pitcher Jessie Sharp ran to the dugout ready to fire up her teammates.
“C’mon, let’s get some points!” she said. “Oh! I mean, runs!”
“That’s Jessie for you,” said Tigers third baseman McKenzie Murphy. “It doesn’t matter what she does. Even if she has to correct herself, she’s always up and at it and just fun. She’s fun to be around.”
That effusive personality drives the Tigers on and off the field. An All-State selection a year ago, Sharp is Pigeon Forge’s ace pitcher and a bear to handle at the plate. She showed that Thursday, striking out five while driving in two runs and tripling in a 9-3 win over the Falcons.
But Sharp does more than just pitch and hit for the Tigers. First-year coach Jessica Henry calls her the “backbone” of the team.
“She’s definitely the personality of the team,” said BrieAnna Styles. “She’s a really good senior to look up to. I mean, I’m a senior, too, but I look up to her. She’s very hyper and she just gets everybody pumped up.”
Sharp said this year had its ups and downs, something you’d expect from a squad hovering around .500 at 8-10. But her teammates say Sharp’s enthusiasm is a constant.
She’s also not afraid to take risks. She drove in the Tigers’ first run on Thursday, stretching an easy double into a triple in the third inning. When the senior rounded second on the play, one of her teammates blurted out “Oh my god,” from the dugout. She slid in safely, foreshadowing aggression on the base paths that would lead to six Tiger runs an inning later.
“I think being aggressive on the base paths is very good for any team,” Henry said. “But especially when you have someone like Jessie there who has the smarts to see where the ball is at and look at me and see how things are looking and go for that.”
Alisha Norris pulled the same feat in the fourth, legging out a triple that allowed her to score the go-ahead run.
“I guess I’m a senior leader,” Sharp said. “When I get going everyone kind of follows along. When I make plays like that, everyone gets going, gets up, gets pumping. It definitely turned around after that inning.”
The leadership role is something Sharp said she takes seriously. She remembers being a freshman on a team loaded with seniors three years ago, and pushing herself to be like those upperclassmen.
That’s the point of Sharp’s always churning motor.
The cheers — and occasional dancing in the dugout — are meant to inspire her teammates to perform.
“She’s our little energy pack,” Murphy said. “No matter what we’re doing — we could be losing 13-0, know we’re about to lose — Jessie could scream or start singing or whatever. We get up.”