When Southeast Raleigh’s softball team gets runners on base with two outs, coach Gregory Watkins is standing tall as a tight end in the third base coach’s box.
“If the ball is on the ground, you got to go,” calls out Watkins.
He never stops with fundamentals. Now in his fifth year, he knows teaching base-running awareness is not a part of the job to overlook.
“I like working with the kids,” Watkins said. “I knew the girls needed someone to stick with them instead of a new coach every year. We have a lot of optimism.”
The Bulldogs are off to a 1-6 start, but can match last year’s win total with their next victory.
“He takes a lot of time to talk with us and work with us,” senior shortstop Are’on Bobbitt said. “Everybody on our team is always working hard to improve. We spend a lot of time on game situations and fundamentals.”
Watkins is banking on future improvement from Dejah Brown as his junior pitcher. Pitching is a disproportionate part of softball success. Freshman Janaiah Saravia shows promise with her bat.
“This is my best team since I’ve been here,” Watkins said. “We’ve got some good hitters, and our pitching is coming along. (Brown) started pitching last year, and she’s improved a lot.”
Yes, those are modest goals, but listen to the players, and it’s obvious they’re still having fun playing and learning.
“This team loves working together,” Brown said. We have great cooperation and chemistry.”