“Good luck. God bless you. I love you guys.”
That’s what Coach told team before every game
By John R. Schirmer
Former Coach Jerry Baker said he and his wife Tina (Ms. Lucky) were “very fortunate to be welcomed to such an amazing school and community” when they came to Nashville from Texas five years ago.
Baker came as an assistant football coach and junior high English teacher.
He left as head softball coach for the Scrapperettes and civics teacher at NJHS.
Tina taught at Nashville Elementary School.
Baker took the Scrapperettes to the Class 4A finals in May, where they fell to Pottsville.
There were many highlights during the season, he said.
“The girls did everything we asked of them. That’s a tribute to the girls that we had. They took ownership of the team and believed in what was possible. Their desire and willingness to work were exemplified by their work ethic,” Baker said.
Last year, the slogan for the Scrapperettes was “Hold the Rope.” Each girl “promised to hold the rope for the team,” according to Baker. A horseshoe with the letters “HTR” was the symbol.
This year’s theme was “Backriders,” going back to the 1800s when cavalrymen would go back to pick up anybody who needed them,” Baker said. Players embraced the new theme while keeping their horseshoes from the previous season.
One of the highlights for Baker was the team’s early-morning workout routine. “At 4:30 a.m., half of the girls were there for morning workouts,” well ahead of the assigned start time. “The other half came by 5:15 a.m. That was a highlight and an example of their commitment.”
The Scrapperettes defeated Heber Springs and Stuttgart in the state tournament on their way to the finals at Bogle Park on the campus of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
“Winning the semifinal game against Stuttgart was a highlight,” Baker said. “That was a monkey off the girls’ back.”
Reflecting on the Scrapperettes’ softball campaign, “Everything about the season was positive up until the last two hours,” Baker said.
Baker and Tina returned to their native Texas after school was out. They live in Longview, across the street from their daughters.
Baker will work as a defensive coordinator “with a head coach I’ve known a long time at a private school in Tyler from August to November.”
Tina will work as a math coach three days a week.
“We were very blessed, very fortunate” in Nashville, he said.
Baker presented softball awards during the Nashville Sports Banquet in May. He wrapped up his presentation and his tenure in Nashville “with the nine words I leave my softball chicks with before each game, ‘Good luck. God bless you. I love you guys.’”