Trinity Episcopal ready for upcoming season under new head coach
Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 23, 2017
Since beginning the sport at the age of 7, Jennifer Harrison has learned a lot about softball. Now, she has been given the chance to live what she has learned.
Harrison — a Vidalia native — was recently hired as Trinity Episcopal School’s head softball coach, eager to immerse herself in the game once more.
“I’m passionate about softball, and it’s something that I love. I just have knowledge of the game,” Harrison said. “Even though I had no previous coaching experience, I didn’t lie about anything. Trinity knew everything, and they were looking someone to lead.”
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Trinity was left with an open spot in its staff after girls basketball coach Fay Minor decided to step down from her one-year stint leading the softball program.
Harrison said a family friend approached her this past March about a possible interest in coaching. She then contacted Trinity athletic director Graham Roberts about the opening and was approved for the position in late April.
“I never thought about coaching. I had to give it a little bit of thought, but I was honored to be thought of,” Harrison said. “At first I was nervous, but now I’m not extremely worried about it. I have Coach Roberts there helping me whenever I need to ask questions.”
Harrison — who played varsity softball at Vidalia High School — said the position has become more concrete since starting practices in late June.
With exactly nine players on her roster, Harrison knows she has a long road ahead.
“I’ve got enough for a team,” she said. “If someone gets hurts or is sick, we are done.
That could be an issue, but they are extremely motivated and excited for this new year.”
Despite the lack of extra players, Harrison thinks the team’s youth could serve as one of its greatest assets.
Ja’Mescya Queen will lead the Lady Saints as the lone senior, with the remainder of players starting as majority underclassmen.
“One of the reasons I decided to take the job is because I have years I can work with these girls,” Harrison said. “They are starting to learn each other and improve their skills. We are rebuilding the entire program, that’s just what it is.”
Harrison said though a willingness to learn is crucial for her players, she realizes that she must also stay open to fresh ideas.
“I’m trying to go back to when I was younger,” she said. “I have to remember that they don’t know what I know. I have to remind myself about that all the time.”
In the short time she has had with the Lady Saints, Harrison said she has already seen a great deal of improvement.
“I’ve got some out here that have never played a day in their life,” she said. “The first thing we started on was hitting, and we have that completely almost turned around. Now we are working on defense.”
Trinity will use rising seventh-grader Addison Jackson as perhaps its main specialist, taking the starting spot in the circle.
“I will rely on her a lot since she is the only pitcher I have,” Harrison said. “She is going to have to be a leader.”
The Lady Saints will also utilize the leadership of Queen at first base.
Queen said as a senior, she wants to aid her team with passion. While she doesn’t expect everything to be perfect, she said, she wants to keep a confident attitude.
“We have to stay positive,” Queen said. “Everything is not going to be easy and come straight to you. Since we all started last year, we got to know each other. I hope we win some (games) now, but I know we will probably get there. We just have to keep working.”
When the time comes to take the field for its first game at Clinton Christian Academy on July 29, Harrison said she hopes Trinity stays calm.
“To build them up as a team, they have to learn to work together,” she said. “From talking with the girls, they have never had someone put the time and effort into them. They were always told they weren’t going to win. It’s time to turn it around.
“We didn’t start with much, but now I can see a team. I’m optimistic, I really am.”