Thursday, February 21, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-02-21 10:32:22)
 
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-Since taking over the Cocke County High School baseball program in 2010, Andy Chrisman has been seeking a competitive edge.

He might have found one of his biggest yet. And it does not come from the high school level.

This season will introduce the inaugural Cocke County Middle School baseball program, which is something that Chrisman noted from the day he was hired as being one of the biggest things that needed to get the high school competitive with other District 2-AAA squads.

"When I first got the job, (director of schools) Manney (Moore) asked me what I needed to be successful," Chrisman said. "I told him we needed a locker room, good assistants and we need a feeder program."

The baseball program now has a locker room, recently hired former Chuckey-Doak head coach Dustin Morrow to be on staff and will start up the initial middle school program this season. Tryouts for the squad will be held at the CCHS baseball facility on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The session will be conducted by the high school baseball staff.

Chrisman said the introduction of the middle school program will be instrumental in preparing players to compete at the high school level. Most recently, CCHS wrestling coach Randy West has reaped the rewards of establishing a middle school program and basketball play has steadily improved since the introduction of the AAU Roadrunners program in 2011.

"I think it helps with overall speeding up the clock of getting kids ready to compete at the high school level and it helps introduce our terminology," Chrisman said. "I think a lot of times our freshmen come in and we're having to teach stuff that should’ve been taught several years ago.

"Hopefully this will help bridge that gap a little bit and feed our program some players who are ready to take that first step," Chrisman said. 

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