Local Notes

Four Johnston County schools have new softball coaches for 2014

February 24, 2014 

Four Johnston County softball teams will have new head coaches when the season begins this week. Cleveland, Clayton, Smithfield-Selma and Corinth Holders are all under new leadership.

Former Clayton High School standout Samantha (Godwin) Coats is the new head coach at Cleveland High School. She teaches health and physical education at Cleveland Middle.

Coats is a 2004 Clayton graduate and wants to see her team, which made the playoffs the past two seasons under coach John Wood, develop a sibling kind of relationship.

“I would like to see my team develop a sister-like bond with one another on and off the field because I know from experience that with that, a team will be able to reach their full potential,” Coats said. “Of course, I want my team to be great softball players too, but I believe you need more than that to be successful.”

Clayton will be led by James Westbrook, who came to Clayton with head football coach Randy Pinkowski from C.B. Aycock before the start of this school year. He’s an Aycock grad and played baseball at Mount Olive College who has coached in youth leagues for several years.

He steps in for Kelli Stephenson who is a new mother. Westbrook is surprisingly looking forward to washing uniforms a lot.

“I hope I have to wash a lot of dirty uniforms after every game and practice,” Westbrook said. “Our main philosophy is that we are going to play hard, hustle and play as a team. Coach Stephenson has built a great foundation with her prior success and we are looking to carrying on and building upon the existing program.”

Sanderson High School grad Jessica Potter takes over for Don Andrews at Corinth Holders after serving as an assistant coach with the Pirates the past three seasons.

“This year will bring a new opportunity for me and the team,” Potter said. “We are in a new conference with good teams, so the biggest thing I want to see from our players is for them to continue to work hard and get better.”

Wes Hill, another assistant football coach like Westbrook, is the new head coach at Smithfeild-Selma. He takes over for SSS alum Britney Smith who is now the head coach at Holly Springs.

Soccer tourney begins Thursday: The 2014 Four Oaks Bank Cup, the girls soccer championship for Johnston County, begins Thursday at four sites across the county. The tournament continues at Corinth Holders next week with semifinal matches on Monday, beginning at 5 p.m., consolation matches on Tuesday (5 p.m. start) and the championship match on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

West Johnston is the defending tournament champion.

Thursday’s first-round matches are Corinth Holders at Clayton, Cleveland at Princeton, North Johnston at South Johnston and Smithfield-Selma at West Johnston.

Johnston County Track Championships: Corinth Holders High School will host the Johnston County Track and Field Championships on Wednesday, March 5. The event will begin at 3 p.m. and feature up to three entries in every event from each school.

The championship teams and individual meet MVPs, the entrants scoring the most points, will receive awards.

Admission will be $5 for spectators.

Racing resumes at Southern National: Southern National Motorsports Park will begin its 2014 season at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, at the Kenly area track. The track will have the NASCAR Wheelen Southern Modified Tour visit on March 15 and hosts the PASS Super Late Models three before wrapping up the calendar with the three-day Thanksgiving Classic from Nov. 28-30.

For more info on the season, visit snmpark.com.

Best: 919-524-8895 or cbest@newsobserver.com; Twitter: @dclaybest

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