Hayes, Daniel will help lead Region 1 softball squad

Published 5:24 am Wednesday, June 18, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — The 2008 State Games are set to kick off this weekend at UNC Greensboro and, for only the second time in the event’s history, softball will be a featured sport. In 2007 softball was added to the State Games roster for the first time and after a successful debut, it looks like it is here to stay.
Williamston softball coach Damon Hayes was a part of the history-making 2007 State Games as he and D.H. Conley coach Wayne Deans served as assistants to head coach Chris Miles on the Region 1 softball team staff.
Deans said he was excited that he had the opportunity to be a part of history.
The head coaches are selected by the North Carolina Coaches Association. Once a head coach is chosen, a number-one assistant and a number-two assistant are then selected. The next year the head coach can move up to a different age group (or choose not to coach), while assistant number-one slides into the head coaching position.
Deans was the number-one assistant last season, which positioned him to be the head coach this season, while Hayes slid into the number-one assistant spot.
The State Games is a three-day tournament that features teams from eight different regions of North Carolina. Girls from that particular region tryout with hopes of making the 15-player roster. Region 1 consists of players from Eastern North Carolina counties such as Pitt, Martin, Beaufort and Gates.
The eight teams are split into two brackets, and will battle it out until Sunday when the medal rounds are played.
The climb of Deans and Hayes left the number two assistant coaching position vacant, but it was quickly filled by Washington Pam Pack coach David Daniel.
With the coaching staff filled out, the next phase was to pick the roster. Deans said it is always a challenge to pick the best 15 players, but also said that he wished more players would try out.
Two talented players who tried out and made the squad were Williamston’s two super sophomores, Heather Jackson and Cassie Harrell.
Hayes said he was happy to have two of his own on the team.
Jackson played on the team last year, which finished in fifth place, while Harrell is entering her first season with the Region 1 team.
Harrell said she was looking forward to playing against some of the best players in the state.
While Region 1 is hoping it can walk away with a medal this year, Deans said the most important aspect of the games is that it gives his players more exposure.