Airport baseball team works to continue building success from season to season
Tim Perry has watched the Airport High baseball team grow since taking the reins as head coach four years ago.
Perry and his staff guided the Eagles to the 2013 AAA state championship during his second season as head coach. They fell in the final matchup to A.C. Flora High but posted a 26-6 record that season. The 26 wins also broke the previous record of 25 set in 1984 as the most wins in a season at the school.
But the wins and the state championship appearance aren’t the only positives the head coach has seen during his time at Airport.
Perry said he’s seen the image of the program change and gain momentum on their crosstown rival Brookland-Cayce, at team that has had success under former head coach Brian Hucks and current coach Shawn Torbett.
“There was just a perception out there that Brookland-Cayce was the better of the two baseball programs,” he said. “It was a challenge to come in and change that. The biggest thing that I wanted to do was to bring in some organization and some structure.”
Perry said his ideas for the team’s structure came from his time in the college ranks where he was an assistant at schools like Newberry, University of North Carolina-Ashville and Temple. He said his philosophy about weight training and footwork was a big part of the change in the program.
“(In) my first year, it was a challenge to get any guys to show up for any optional weight lifting in the offseason,” he said. “Now we consistently have 25 to 30 guys in there every day after school and we have a planned workout.”
Perry said he thinks the squad has a big chance to make some noise this season because his players have bought into this system over the past four years.
The Eagles return just two seniors in catcher Caleb Morris and shortstop Jacob Shirey. Both finished last season as All-Region players. Junior Josh Tucker will man the centerfield position where he earned All-Region honors last season as well.
Perry also likes his band of junior pitchers with Josh Talton, Tanner Glenn and Chris Ellisor and said they all will see significant time this season.
Airport finished last season with two consecutive losses that knocked them out of the first round of the AAA state playoffs, but Perry said he thinks this team can go even farther than that. He said he doesn’t know how far that might be but that he hopes hopes veteran players and those stepping into new roles can gel together and make it a special year.
“We just need a couple of those guys, this year, to make those strides and make those contributions to this year’s club,” he said. “If we can do that all around, I think we have a chance to be really good.”