David Entrekin grew up on baseball, but now he’s a self-described “softball guy”. A former head baseball coach at Lumberton High School, Entrekin has led Purvis’ fast-pitch softball program the past decade-plus.
“Softball, to me, seems more of an action-packed sport,” he said. “It’s a quicker sport, and it seems like there’s a lot more action to it.
“I really fell in love with it the first couple years I started.”
Of all the years he’s been around the sport, Entrekin called 2019 “the most satisfying season” he’s experienced as a coach.
“We’ve had a lot of good teams in the past couple years, but it just seems like everything clicked this season,” he said. “We got the hits when we needed them in clutch situations, and when we needed that big out, we got that out this year.”
The Lady Tornadoes used that clutch play to capture the program’s first division title since 2008.
“It was really fun. It seemed like we came from behind in some games. I can’t remember off the top of my head how many walk-offs we had, but we had a good bit of them,” Entrekin said. “With the energy from our group, we felt like we always had a really good chance to win.”
Most notably, Entrekin’s Lady Tornadoes pulled off a come-from-behind, walk-off win against division rival Sumrall in extra innings on March 22. A month later, they beat the Lady Bobcats again to clinch the division crown.
Purvis went on to reach the third round of the Class 4A playoffs, where they fell short against eventual champion Newton County. The Lady Tornadoes finished with a record of 18-7.
Entrekin says their success started inside the pitcher’s circle and behind the plate.
“We were really blessed to have two really good varsity pitchers in Sarah Ballard and Gracey Baucom, and then also to have Lillie Hale coming back as the catcher, who did a phenomenal job behind the plate,” he said. “Those three right there in the circle and behind the plate gave us a chance every game. And we had some new players that came in, stepped up and played good.”
Looking forward, most of those players will return next season. That, coupled with the program’s upward trajectory, has Entrekin excited for the future.
“It feels like our program is getting stronger every year,” he said. “We just have quality kids and a great community, and softball is a popular sport in our area.”
Entrekin is Sports601’s Softball Coach of the Year.