Early loss helped pave path to 3A title

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

It’s said that coaches remember losses more than victories.
Nettleton coach Chris Kidd is no exception. His Lady Tigers, 3-0 at the time, suffered a stinging early-season road loss to New Hope, but then rebounded to win 21 straight and an MHSAA Class 3A state fastpitch softball championship.
“Getting beat that day gave us some of our focus back,” Kidd said. “At any given time in softball, things can go south.
“That day, we saw we could lose.”
For his efforts in directing Nettleton to a 24-1 record and a state championship, Kidd has been selected the 2009 All-Area Fastpitch Softball Coach of the Year by the Daily Journal.
The former Ingomar baseball standout also won the award last season after his Lady Tigers finished 22-4 overall and lost in the state championship series to Newton County.
Kidd believed his 2009 squad had the talent to return to the championship series. However, the coach warned his players in the preseason that there were no postseason guarantees for anybody.
“I told my players the first practice that just because we made it last year didn’t mean we would make it this year … not unless they buckled down and worked hard,” he said. “But I didn’t see any of that thinking from our team.
“Our goals were to win division, win north half and hopefully get back to the state finals.”
Kidd said he feels more pressure coaching than he did when he was playing.
“I’m 10 times more nervous as a coach,” he said. “I can teach and help a player in practice, but once a game begins there’s not a lot you can do.”
Kidd is joined on the Daily Journal’s All-Area team by two of his players – senior outfielder Kimmy Nicholson and sophomore pitcher Michele Hester.
A leadoff batter, Nicholson batted .494 and stole 29 bases.
Hester forged an 18-1 record with a 1.04 earned run average and 119 strikeouts.