ALL AREA SOFTBALL: Wayne Deans
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Conley head coach Wayne Deans led the Vikings to yet another deep playoff run this season, as his squad finished 25-3 overall and a perfect 12-0 in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference, winning the conference title. The Vikings fell in the East Regional final to Eastern Alamance.
“We did really well,” Deans said. “We won a conference championship. We haven’t had that happen since 2015. To win the conference tournament championship, which is also really important because we really haven’t been able to have that. Last year, we got rained out and couldn’t finish that. The last time I remember being involved in a conference tournament was back in 2007. To win one was pretty special.”
Deans’ leadership earned him The Daily Reflector’s Coach of the Year honor. Deans graduates 13 seniors this season but retains another strong group of underclassmen who will return next year.
“It’s a funny situation,” Deans said. “I remember a team this season came into our facility and we had our senior banners up. They counted each senior that came out and one of the players said, ‘They have 13 seniors, they’re not going to be that good next season.’ I had a big smile on my face because yes, we had 13 seniors, but then I look at the underclassmen and what they will continue to bring. I think some teams will be surprised with us.”
Notable names returning include All-Area Batter of the Year and rising sophomore Anna Sawyer and Pitcher of the Year and rising junior Lauren Wiles.
Contact Jake Keator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.