Kettle Run Spring Sports Ramping Up; New Softball Coach Hired

Mandy Holmes

The Kettle Run Cougar sports teams are getting ready for an exciting spring season. Many teams performed very well last season, despite many Covid restrictions. 

For one spring sport, there is a big change happening this season. Varsity softball has a new head coach, Ritchie Jacobs, and he brings a lot of experience. Coach Jacobs was a long-time college coach at the University of Mary Washington and has coached for multiple high schools and travel teams throughout his career. He does not work for Kettle Run and is coming in with a fresh perspective.

Coach Jacobs grew up around sports, particularly baseball; his father was a professional player for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm team in the 1950s. Jacobs only has daughters, so he shifted gears towards learning and teaching softball. Coach Jacobs has been in the softball business for more than 20 years and has a lot of knowledge about the game. Coach Jacobs is a certified instructor and has worked various college camps and clinics. Coach Jacobs is a part-owner of SixFour3, a premier training facility designed exclusively for softball players. He is one of many excellent trainers there and specializes in pitching. This facility has been running for six years and has a second location.

Last year with the shortened season the varsity softball team went 6-3 after being eliminated in the northwestern district quarterfinals. It was a very quick season, and players didn’t have a lot of time to practice or gel as a team. Coach Jacobs has high hopes for the upcoming season and wants it to be a “learning experience and happy experience” for players. Coach Jacobs claims he would like Kettle Run softball to be a positive environment and a good memory for students to look back on when they graduate. Coach Jacobs preaches “open verbal relationships” with the players, emphasizing back and forth communication as a key to success. 

The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t changed Coach Jacobs perspective on softball but has made coaching more challenging. He says not being able to work in large groups can be difficult and makes him manage the team a little tighter. Alternatively, he believes that working in smaller groups can help make individuals’ skills sharper. 

Coach Jacobs hopes for a full roster of players and encourages anyone to try out. Now that the team is back to a normal-length season, there will be more time for improvement and play. Coach Jacobs plans to have a female assistant coach working alongside him as well.

Tryouts for all spring sports start on Monday, February 21st. These include track and field, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and tennis. Anyone is welcome to tryout, but must have a VHSL physical on file prior to tryouts.