Ange leads young Bullets to state|Jamesville veteran mentor tabbed 2009 WDN Softball Coach of the Year

Published 3:59 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sports Editor

Jamesville veteran mentor tabbed 2009 WDN Softball Coach of the Year
Sports Editor
JAMESVILLE — When Richie Ange first stepped onto the dirt for Jamesville’s first softball practice of the 2009 season, he knew he had his star pitcher returning to the mound. Elizabeth Ange, the lone senior on Jamesville’s squad, racked up impressive numbers over the first three years of her pitching career.
While Elizabeth Ange pitched well in the early stages of the 2009 season, she wasn’t getting much help behind her. Coach Ange knew his team needed a defensive fix, and he opted to move Elizabeth Ange to shortstop and bring in freshman pitcher Caroline Tetterton.
The move by the veteran coach was a brilliant one. Tetterton went on to have a solid season on the mound, Elizabeth Ange gobbled up everything her way at shortstop and the Bullets ended up being the most successful team in the area.
The Bullets advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state championships at Walnut Creek.
Thanks to making all the right moves and enjoying such a successful run, Richie Ange was tabbed the 2009 WDN Softball Coach of the Year.
“It is a big deal,” said Richie Ange, who also won the award in 2003.
“It’s an honor that should be represented of what our team did this year.”
The Bullets dropped two of their first three games of the season. Besides switching pitchers, coach Ange also shook up the rest of the defense. Of the nine players who took to the field in the first game, only two held those same positions at the end of the year.
The moves helped Jamesville reel off 11 consecutive wins heading into the state championships.
“We kept working at it,” coach Ange said about his team’s success. “We really did. It was a work in progress the whole year. We were trying to find our way early on. Sometime around Easter break, we really found our way. We kept punching the clock and going to work.”
Coach Ange noted that every player was accepting of the position switches. With leader Elizabeth Ange being open to the move, coach Ange said everything else fell into place.
“I’m most proud of how we came together,” he said. “The chemistry of our team, we jelled as the year went on. That’s one of the things that made us successful.
“It was not one person that made us successful. One through nine in the order came up big at some point during the season. That was offense and defense.”
The Bullets, finishing 15-6 overall, played brilliantly in the playoffs. It was during that run when coach Ange knew his team was pretty special.
“We just found ways to win,” coach Ange said. “It was our approach to everything. We just took it one game at a time and we just found a way to win.”
Jamesville took a 2-1 win over Perquimans in the first round of the state playoffs, then followed that up with victories of 1-0 over Williamston, 4-0 over Camden and 5-1 over Manteo.
The victory over Manteo, which vaulted the Bullets into the state championships for the first time since 2006, was a highlight for coach Ange.
“Just winning the Manteo game to get to go to Raleigh (was big),” he said. “That had to be the highlight for me, if I had to pick one. But there were a lot of them.”
Jamesville’s successful run ended at the state championships in Walnut Creek. The Bullets fell 3-0 to North Johnston in the East Regional championship game, then dropped a 5-0 decision to East Surry in the loser’s bracket.
Coach Ange will have eight returning starters for the 2010 season, but he said getting back to Walnut Creek won’t be easy.
“I feel pretty good with what we have coming back,” he said. “I know a lot of area teams are also young. The competition to get back to Raleigh is going to be difficult.”
If Ange continues to make the same strategic, successful moves, the Bullets just may find themselves back at Walnut Creek.