Wright City’s Joclyn Young – Player Spotlight Presented by Pine Cellular

By Nick Hampton

Even the best athletic programs have to stop and take a breath and retool every once in a while, and that may be the case this year for the Lady Lumberjax at Wright City. There’s a new coach and a lot of new players on the field for the fast pitch team this season. So it will be up to some more experienced players like sophomore Joclyn Young to help take up the slack.

The new coach is Clay Alford who has been a teacher at Wright City for 14 years but never a coach.

“Years ago coach (Dane) Hill and I kidded around about me taking over someday when he retired. I didn’t seriously think it would happen but he left and here I am,” said Alford.

Joclyn is the oldest of four siblings and so she’s blazing the athletic path for them. And speaking of blazing, it’s her blazing speed that is probably her biggest asset.

“She’s a great bunter. She can slap it or lay it down. And she can really create havoc for the defense when she gets on base with that speed,” said Alford.

Joclyn hit .452 last year with a better than .500 on-base percentage but a shoulder injury suffered in an early game this season kept her out of the line up for most of August which has been frustrating for her.

“It’s been really tough just to have to watch and know I could help them if I was playing,” said Young. “I’m ready to go again but I’m still not throwing with the velocity I had before the injury.”

While a lot of young players have a favorite college or pro player that has inspired them, Joclyn says she looks no further than two senior team mates for role models.

“I’ve always admired Gracie Woods and Mahala Battiest,” said Young who also plays basketball for Wright City. “I like the way Gracie plays the game and never gives up and Mahala and I have played together since we were little and she’s always been great to me.”

Wright City is a small town that has built a big reputation as an athletic powerhouse, winning state championships in basketball and baseball in the past three years. And while fast pitch hasn’t enjoyed that level of success, having made regionals the past two years, maintaining that level of play is important to Young.

“I want the Wright City community to be proud of this program and keeping up the reputation for excellence in athletics is important to me,” said Young.

As far as the 2019 season goes, Alford knows he’ll have to be patient which Young says his one of his strengths.

“We’ve got a lot of new kids that are having to adjust to a new coach, the speed of the game in high school and, in some cases, even new positions. But they’re starting to come around and as long as they give it their best, that’s all I can ask,” said Alford.