Begley’s having fun, winning games at Jesup

He’s at it again.

John Begley is turning another softball team into a winner.

It might not approach the run he enjoyed at Solon, but Jesup is on a steep incline. Just two years after back-to-back 10-win seasons, the J-Hawks are 11-2.

“This is easily the most fun team to coach that I’ve ever had,” Begley said. “There’s not a spoiled kid in the bunch.”

Jesup was 10-28 in the final year before Begley’s arrival, then went 10-32 in his first year before jumping to 19-16 and winning the North Iowa Cedar League East Division crown last season.

“The second half of my first year, we got more competitive. Last year, we played a lot of competitive weekend tournaments, and that helped us feel a lot more comfortable in our league,” Begley said.

Five all-conference performers returnes for this season, including first-team first baseman Leah Durnil, who’s batting .486 with a team-high 11 RBIs. Erica Soppe is hitting .548 with 19 runs and 16 steals.

Begley called Durnil “the best first baseman I’ve ever had in terms of scooping the ball out of the dirt. She’ll block anything.”

The most drastic change this year has been the pitching. Eighth-grader Kelsey Lough, Begley’s granddaughter, is 10-2 with a 1.42 ERA.

“With a little more maturity, she’ll be really good,” Begley said. “It was really hard for her at first to call me Coach instead of Grandpa.”

Begley lives in Marion, a 40-minute drive from Jesup. He said the drive gives him a chance to relax.

At Solon, he compiled a 208-52 record that featured a Class 2A state championship in 2003 and three other top-three state finishes. The Lady Spartans won another title in 2007, after Erin White succeeded Begley.

The J-Hawks host a 16-team tournament this weekend that features Wamac Conference heavyweights Mount Vernon and West Delaware.

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One Response to “Begley’s having fun, winning games at Jesup”

  1. Begley’s having fun, winning games at Jesup | IowaPrepSports.com Says:

    […] Read full article […]

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