First Posted: 6/11/2009
PILOT MOUNTAIN Derrick Hill has shown what he can do as head coach of East Surrys softball program after leading the Cardinals to back-to-back NCHSAA 1A championships the past two seasons.
Now, Hill has a chance to make another squad the best in the state after he was chosen to lead the Region 7 all-star team in the North Carolina Fastpitch Softball Associations statewide tournament. The tournament for Hills team begins Monday at 11:15 a.m. at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte. It is also scheduled to play Tuesday at 1:30 and 5 p.m. Games are divided among Mallard Creek and the UNC-Charlotte campus.
Hills team is comprised of underclassmen, while another tournament is scheduled for seniors. No East Surry players tried out for Hills squad due to conflicts with their various traveling teams. However, Hill will coach two local products in North Surrys Raven Medina and Mount Airys Rachel Harris. Seven players hail from 4A state champion Alexander Central.
Hill teams up with Gary Payne of Wilkes Central and Monte Sherrill of Alexander Central to make a formidable staff. Sherrill is a friend of Hills.
We believe in doing things the right way and not having gimmicks, Hill said of his colleagues. Just playing solid, fundamental ball.
The team was put together through a tryout. There are eight regions in the state competing in the tournament, divided equally among the east and west. The winners of each side face off for the championship, while the other place-winners take on their match as well.
The biggest obstacle for Hill to lead his team around is their lack of familiarity.
To me, its just a new challenge, Hill said. Obviously, these kids can play. In a very, very short period of time, we need them to bond.
That lack of acquaintance is also a challenge for Hill.
Its completely different from coaching at East Surry, because Ive got kids Ive been coaching for several years, he said. With these kids, its going to be different for me. Can she lay down a sacrifice bunt? Can she steal second?
Talent-wise, its there. Its just figuring out who to plug in to what spot.
Hill was one of the original members of the NCFSA who championed for the tournament. Sports like football, basketball and baseball have similar events.
While Hill values each East Surry championship (hes won four) as a team accomplishment, he said it is nice to be recognized as a coach and community leader by those around him.
Its an honor, Hill said. Theres no question about it. If we can be to some degree a role model to these kids, I dont think theres anything better we can do.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.