Berkery sees young group of Lady Vols

By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

Thomas Berkery had a reputation of being a very good hitter during his days as a baseball player at Mississippi State.
As the baseball coach at Starkville Academy, he hopes that background will help the offense succeed.
He wants the same thing for the Lady Volunteers in softball.
Even though softball has some different characteristics than baseball, Berkery looks forward to sharing his knowledge with the girls in their sport.
“A lot of the stuff is simple baseball and softball talk,” Berkery said of how he addressed the softball team. “We’re looking forward to getting rolling.”
Starkville Academy has been practicing three days a week and is preparing to open the season at Oak Hill on July 30.
Caden Cutshall, a pitcher and infielder for the Lady Vols, likes what she’s seen from Berkery so far.
“I think he really knows his info,” Cutshall said. “I’m really excited about all he has in store for us. When we’re in batting practice, he gives us good tips on how to fix our swing.”
Berkery will look for leadership out of Cutshall and sees her helping in many different aspects of the game.
“She looks to hit in the middle of the order, pitch and play short,” Berkery said. “We’re still trying to figure all of that out and how the pieces fit.”
Berkery said Starkville Academy will be “a very young group” this season, but believes it will be fine as the Lady Vols “get stronger, more mature and understands the speed of the game.”
It has been an encouragement to Berkery that the players are hungry for coaching. He looks forward in helping them reach their potential.
“They are all in on listening and giving effort,” Berkery said. “They are trying to get better and working on what we’re talking about.
“I keep telling them you do this from your seventh grade year on up and by the time you are in the 10th and 11th grade, it’s going to be a great deal for all of these girls that have stuck it out and worked hard together to get better. They are going to have a lot of reps to develop that a lot of other people haven’t gotten.”

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