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The Purple Clarion

Baseball season opens with win 894

Sherman Owen
The HHS baseball team posed with coach Jay Thompson before their game.

Coach Jay Thompson earned his 894th win March 12 earning the designation as the coach with the most wins at one school in IHSA history.

“This is my 37th year as head coach. I played [baseball] my whole life and have a love for the sport,” Thompson said.

With this love, Thompson made the journey to become a high school coach. 

“I wanted to be in education, so it was a natural fit. In high school, I played football and basketball. I played baseball in college,” Thompson said. 

Thompson has coached not only baseball, but football as well.

“I coached year round for about 15 years. I continued to coach football for 25 years. It got to the point where coaching more than one sport was too much for me,” Thompson said. 

He now focuses on coaching baseball. Coaching sports takes a lot of time and patience. 

“I’m much calmer than when I started,” Thompson said. “I figured out that all the yelling was not helping one bit. In fact, it was probably hurting us. Kids played nervous and tight, afraid to make a mistake.” 

With this change in coaching style, players became more confident and relaxed. Thompson coaches calmly, prioritizing players’ confidence and relaxation.

“Confidence is a big part of our program. We try to instill confidence in the kids. We try to get them to relax,” Thompson said. “Kids play better when they’re relaxed. But we always try to finish practice with something they do well, so they leave practice feeling good about themselves.”

Thompson believes it is important to pay attention to how players feel and how this impacts their play. 

“It absolutely helps them during games,” Thompson said. “Our kids don’t panic in close games. It doesn’t bother them to play from behind.”

During practice, players focus more on defense, giving their team an advantage. 

“We spend most of our time in practice on pitching, defense, and hitting. We spend more time on defense than most other schools. Year end and year out, we are very solid defensively,” Thompson said.

Thompson does not have specific goals this season, so players aren’t pressured. 

“The only goal for this season is for players to do the best they can. That’s the goal every year. I don’t put numerical goals on them,” Thompson said. 

With this goal, Thompson’s players are not pressured for the team to win every game. 

“We play well, winning and losing takes care of itself,” Thompson said.

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Leah Haugen
Leah Haugen, Staff Writer
Leah Haugen is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her first year as a staff member of the Purple Clarion. She participates in Art Club, History Club, and Key Club.  Leah has an interest in psychology and the medical field. In her free time, she watches medical documentaries and regularly researches psychological concepts. After graduation, she plans to attend SIU to obtain a degree in psychiatry. “Student journalism allows others to be up to date on news in their local community and the world around them through the help of their school’s newspaper team.”

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