Coaching an all-star team is nothing new to Jeff Jessie. The veteran coach has guided several local baseball teams into tournament play and has been able to find success.
As he prepares to take Glasgow into the first round of the 10-Under Little League District Tournament this weekend in Springfield, Jessie believes this year’s squad could be one of the better Glasgow teams in years.
“We have a great group of kids. They have a lot of experience, speed and pitching. They are great hitters and have a high baseball IQ,” Jessie said. “They know the game very well. I am really excited about this group. We have high expectations this year.”
Glasgow opens the tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday against South Hardin. If the Scotties win, Glasgow will play either Campbellsville or Marion County on Sunday. The tournament is being played at the Washington County Little League Park.
“We have four kids from last year’s (10U) team on this year’s team. That’s Peyton Dial, Carson Jessie, Taye Poynter and Jackson Poland. They played last year so they bring a lot of experience,” Jessie explained. “However, Ashton Cerwinske, Carson Beckham, Tristan Franklin, Zach Poore, Kellen Thompson, Louis Darst, Cade Bishop, Mason Bragg and Nick Kerney all bring something to the table for us. I am really excited and I think we have a shot at bringing back another district title. And hopefully we can bring back a state title this year.”
Besides Glasgow and South Hardin, the tournament field includes: Marion County, Campbellsville, Russell County, Washington County and Adair County.
“I haven’t had a chance to learn much about South Hardin. We saw them last year, but I think they were pretty young,” Jessie said. “I think this is a pretty even field. Russell County is always good. Marion County was good last year and I think Washington County, the host team, will be pretty strong. Hopefully, we’re one of the strong teams, too.”
Jessie said the versatility of his players may prove to be one of his team’s biggest assets. Each player on the roster has the ability to play several different positions.
“I think we will be tough defensively in the infield,” Jessie said. “We’ve got Peyton Dial, Taye Poynter, Ashton Cerwinske and Jackson Poland anchoring up the middle for us. Carson Jessie should play first base with Kellen Thompson, Mason Bragg or Jackson Poland playing third base. It depends on who is pitching.”
The outfield will probably include some combination of Bishop, Kerney, Beckham and Darst.
Jessie said he feels comfortable with his pitching staff heading into the tournament. Each of the players on the roster, he said, have some experience pitching. “All of the kids have pitched sometime during the regular season,” Jessie said. “I would not be afraid to bring any of them in to pitch.”
A district championship would propel Glasgow into the state tournament which, according to Jessie, will be in Bowling Green this year.
“Not knowing what the other teams have, this tournament is going to come down to pitching. It always does,” Jessie explained. “It takes one run to win, but you have to be able to stop the other team. You have to have solid pitching and I think we have that. And, something I told them (his players) at the state tournament last year, let’s just have fun. Let’s go play ball and see what happens.”