The Teen Jakes|Teen duo coaches team to title, prepares for All Stars

Published 6:36 pm Monday, June 29, 2009

By By Adam Robinson
Sports Editor

Jake Hodge and Jake Hunsinger are not much older than the Babe Ruth players on the White Sox team they coach.
But Hodge and Hunsinger, both 19, have commanded respect from the team they coached to a regular season championship.
Hodge and Hunsinger, 2008 graduates of W.S. Neal High School, mentioned just about the same reason for wanting to coach this year.
Hodge agreed.
The coaches have not seen their age as a problem in their relationship with their fellow teen players.
Hunsinger and Hodge even had players on their team to coach that they played baseball with at W.S. Neal their senior year.
Initially, Hodge said, the players all thought that the coaches were only there to have fun, meaning few respected them. So they were forced to demand it.
Even though the two coaches were young, and even after a slow start, the White Sox won the regular season championship.
Hodge said the season was touch and go.
Both coaches said some people outside of their team may not have respected them because of their age.
Neither Hodge nor Hunsinger said he is ready for solo head coach responsibilities just yet.
Hodge agreed he does not want to pursue coaching as a career.
Hodge said the transition from player to coach was unique.
Hunsinger saw a difference as well.
Both players said they used what they had learned from their coaches while playing the game — especially from their high school baseball coach, W.S. Neal’s Coy Campbell, and assistant coaches Robbie Grace and Kevin Jordan.
Hodge said he used a lot of things that he had learned from his high school coaches as well.
Winning the league championship gave the young coaches the opportunity to coach the 15-year-old Babe Ruth All Stars.
Hodge said winning the league was the proudest moment of the season for him.
Both will go to school at the University of Alabama in the fall.
Hodge will also be heading to Alabama in the fall.
Hunsinger and Hodge said they appreciated the support from Babe Ruth leaders Mike Perry and Joey Shell.
The coaches said they also appreciated the support of board members, parents, players and umpires.
Hodge’s father, Lamar Hodge, served as an assistant coach.

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