MABEN – When Lee Berryhill took the softball head coaching job at East Webster, he didn't know much about his team or what he was getting into.
Early in his first year with the Lady Wolverines, he has gotten his slowpitch team to a 9-0 record after wins against Tupelo 13-1 and Saltillo 17-4 on Saturday.
Much of the success has to do with his team buying into the concept of 'team.'
"I stress team," Berryhill said. "You're either all in or all out. It don't matter who you are. I don't know anybody and if you're going to commit, you're all in. That means you're at practice everyday, you give 100 percent and if you don't, you're not going to play."
Berryhill didn't realize he had one of the best young players in the state. Sophomore Autumn Frost led the Lady Wolverines last year in both slowpitch and fastpitch.
Berryhill is glad to have players like Frost, but he knows one person does not win games.
"We are going to be a team," Berryhill said. "No individual is going to win for us and no individual is going to come out here and play by themselves. It's all about team."
Berryhill had been the head baseball coach at Eupora for approximately 18 years and decided to take the East Webster softball job. First week in practice, he presented his coaching philosophy to his team and he saw that it didn't take long for his girls to buy in.
"They've bought in and they know they have to work hard," Berryhill said. "These girls want to be successful. It wasn't hard to buy into my philosophy. Work and do your part or you don't play. We set practices up that way.
"It was a lot of excitement from the girls. It was a little optimistic. They figured out the work ethic they had to have in the practices. They bought in quick."
Along with having the coaching philosophy of being a team, being tough is something Berryhill also believes in.
It's obvious that his team has picked up on this as well. The record and play of the Lady Wolverines support this.
"In this game, if you're mentally tough, you play hard and you make people beat you," Berryhill said. "You will win a lot of games."
Berryhill had never coached softball until he came to East Webster. He had been coaching baseball.
Many see that there is a lot of difference between the two, whether it be the strategy or just the fact that you move from working with boys to girls.
Berryhill doesn't see much difference and sees the two games as being the same.
"It's not a lot of difference," Berryhill said. "The defense philosophy is a lot of the same and the running is a lot of the same except for the leadoffs."
One of the main factors Berryhill decided to make the move from Eupora to East Webster was family.
Berryhill's wife is a teacher at East Webster and his girl is starting 5th grade this year at East Webster.
He now sees his family a lot more and is something he's glad he did.
"When I was at Eupora, during spring I was gone five nights out of the week," Berryhill said. "I got home and they're in bed. I got to see them 15 minutes every morning. I made the move over here, family-wise and for me too. Now I get to see my wife during the day at school, I see my daughter in the mornings and she gets to ride the bus to softball games and sit in the dugout."
The Lady Wolverines look to improve on their 9-0 record Tuesday when they host Nanih Waiya.