Former pitcher helping Tigers at the plate
Pigeon Forge’s new softball coach is settling in quite nicely.
After all, Jessica Henry was a district MVP for the Tigers back in 2007. But the former pitcher is hoping her playing experience will help Pigeon Forge at the plate as well as in the circle.
“A lot of times, you’ll hear me saying to the players, ‘Here’s this count, she’s going to come to you,’ ” Henry said. “Where I pitched, I have that experience. I can talk about, ‘If the pitcher’s down in the count, she’s probably going to come to you with a strike trying to get you to hit.’ ”
Henry’s hoping that knowledge will help the Tigers reach a region tournament for the first time in five years. She said her team’s strength will be on the defensive side. It’s getting Pigeon Forge to hit the ball that is the problem.
But right fielder Jimena Meza said things are already looking up at the plate. The senior surprised herself with a triple in a preseason scrimmage.
“We’re not the strongest hitters but I feel like we definitely have improved,” Meza said. “That (triple) is like a huge improvement for me. Just knowing that I can actually do that definitely boosts my confidence up. I think this is going to be a really good season for us.”
The Tigers open the season on Monday at Alcoa.
Shelter making a difference
SEYMOUR — One of the county’s more veteran baseball coaches is expecting that same kind of offensive improvement in 2014.
Seymour’s Scott Norman said a full offseason in the Eagles’ new indoor facility should pump up his team’s run production this season and for years to come.
“We’ve really been so excited about it that a lot of our offseason has been just hitting,” Norman said. “It just makes hitting so much easier to teach when you can work with hitters one-on-one in a nice, controlled environment instead of it being 40 degrees and the wind’s blowing 20 miles an hour and it’s spitting snow.”
It also allows more time to work with middle schoolers. By the time today’s sixth graders reach high school, Norman is hoping the new facility, which opened right before last season, will help them master their swings.
“It’ll take I think about three years,” Norman said. “We can go in there and work with those guys and get those guys that trained, mechanical swing.”
Lions get started
Three wins, two shutouts, four runs given up.
That’s not a bad way to start your program if you’re Marc Weekly, the new softball coach at The King’s Academy. Weekly said his team, which will compete in Division II-A’s District 1 tournament this year as the last seed, beat West High School of Knoxville 10-0, Sevier County 3-0 and Northview Academy 11-4 over the weekend at Heritage’s Play Day.
Pitcher Haven Taylor threw nine innings on the day, allowing just two hits and striking out 18. TKA opens up against Bearden on Tuesday before hosting its first-ever home softball game against Gatlinburg-Pittman on Thursday.