Unity starting a softball team

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CHOCOWINITY — Unity Christian Academy is still a relatively young school. The school’s sports programs are progressively following behind. Basketball and volleyball teams recently started up. Both teams have been successful in their infancy.

Now the school is looking into a softball team come springtime.

Ashley Harris is helping spearhead the creation of the team. He’s coached baseball and softball at Terra Ceia. In five years managing the Lady Knights, Harris helped lead the team to states four times.

“They hadn’t been to states much. It’s probably nothing I did. Mostly the girls,” he humbly said.

Harris has also coached at Trinity in Greenville and recreation league softball in Chocowinity.

The first concern is recruiting interested girls. The school, Harris said, only had nine girls from 7th through 12th grade.

“That right there tells you we’ve got to have some outside players,” Harris said. “What unity is doing is similar to what TEACH does. If they don’t have schools to play for somewhere, Unity will let them play for them. I think they’ve already got a couple. It could be charter school or early college.”

Unity won’t be able to take players from Washington, Southside or Northside.

“It’s not just a bunch of girls together just to have a team,” Harris said. “No. 1, we’re trying to build a program at Unity. No. 2, we’re trying to give girls that don’t have a chance a chance to play. That’s where we’re headed with it right now.”

Harris is already excited about the potential talent on the team, although he isn’t sure about pitching just yet.

Unity has been open to starting a softball team, which has made it much easier on Harris.

“I didn’t have to sell it and I didn’t have to sell myself,” he said. “I have an advocate in Ken Leys. … Several of the girls, I already know. I coached some in rec ball in Chocowinity. They’ve been all for it. They really want their own team.”

Harris won’t be alone, either. He’s enlisted the help of former Terra Ceia softball standout Katie Jackson as an assistant coach.

Harris said that anyone from 7th through 12th grade is welcome to reach out. He’s not sure how many more players will be needed and the Unity students will have priority. It’s a great opportunity to play high school softball at the level of the academies. Everyone on the team will get a chance to play.

Harris can be reached at aharriscpa@embarqmail.com.