State Gazette Softball Offensive Player of the Year: Dyersburg Lady Trojan Lily Kate Jones

Monday, July 8, 2024
Dyersburg Lady Trojan Lily Kate Jones


With a coming-out party of a sophomore season, Dyersburg Lady Trojan 10th-grader Lily Kate Jones provided some big offensive pop late in the softball season as Jones has been named the State Gazette Softball Offensive Player of the Year.

Dyersburg Head Coach Matthew Shearon said Jones is an all-in girl for softball. Jones was also a member of the Lady Trojan Girls Basketball team which won the TSSAA Class AAA State Championship in March.

“She plays the game and travels every summer,” Shearon said of Jones’ commitment to softball. “She’s very knowledgeable in the game.

“She wants to be good and wants to be coached.”

Jones finished her freshman season as the team’s starting right fielder but had worked her way into the middle of the lineup. Due to the basketball team’s run to the TSSAA State Championship, Jones missed pretty much all of the team’s preseason.

“She started the year coming out of basketball and I had her at the bottom of the lineup,” Shearon explained. “As the season got on, she fully earned her spot in the three-hole for us.

“She came out of basketball and started making in impact immediately in our lineup and our defensive structure.”

The Lady Trojans’ head coach added Jones got hot and stayed hot for the majority of the season.

Jones’ statistics from her 2024 season reflect this. The sophomore batted .440 with seven doubles, a triple, and two home runs. She drove in 32 runs and scored 23 times herself. Jones had an on-base percentage of .452 while slugging at a .604 pace.

Of Jones’ stats, one of the most impressive is her average with runners in scoring position as she batted .517.

“Like I said, she earned her way into the three-hole and stayed there the rest of the way,” Shearon said. “We had great RBI production from her.

“She also hit a couple bombs as a sophomore. The future is really bright for her.”

Some of her biggest and most important production came towards the end of the season and into the postseason. This was big for a sophomore.

“Sometimes your seniors are involved in a lot of other stuff,” Shearon explained. “And, sometimes your younger kids are just playing loose and free with not a lot of stress on them.

“I think Lily Kate doesn’t get rattled. She handles stress very well if there’s any there. She came on and did really well as a sophomore and I am looking forward to some big things from her in the future.”

Over the course of her second year at the high school level, Shearon said he saw Jones improve the most through her defensive versatility.

“She’s played catcher and a lot of outfield for us,” Shearon said. “She had a couple games for us where she played third.

“She’s very versatile which has opened the door for her to be able to stay in the lineup. It’s like I tell the kids all the time – if you hit, I’ll find a place in the lineup for you. There was never a day that she was not going to be in the lineup when healthy. She earned her way in and definitely produced to stay there.”

Jones’ toughness is something which doesn’t show up on a stat sheet, according to Shearon.

“She attacks everything she does,” Shearon explained. “She’s really fun to be around and has a great personality.

“But, her grit. She’s really tough. She really wants it and you can tell. The kids you get in sports that really want it and want to be coached, it usually translates to success. And that’s what she is for us – a successful person on the softball field.”

Moving forward into next year’s junior season, Shearon is looking for Jones to become more of a leader – especially with a large senior class being lost to graduation following the 2024 season.

“And, just continue to do what she does,” Dyersburg’s head coach added. “Attack the workouts like she does.

“Be aggressive. Just be her. And, now take that next step and be a vocal leader. Lead by actions and be a vocal leader.”

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