Vote for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week: Week 1

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Coaches teach young athletes about hard work, passion and good sportsmanship — skills that are just as important off the field — and they can instill a lifelong love of the game.

All summer long, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Braves are teaming up to honor the youth baseball and softball coaches who are making a difference on the field and in their communities.

“We would like to recognize the outstanding coaches in Georgia providing our young athletes with exceptional playing experience. The most important thing to know is the fundamentals, but there is so much more than that,” the Braves said in a statement.

This week’s nominees have all demonstrated outstanding dedication to providing youth athletes with exceptional playing experiences. Check out their profiles and vote for your favorite. The winning coaches will each be profiled in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and receive a $100 gift card from Kroger and an autographed Braves ball.

ExploreVote for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week: June 27, 2022

Shawn Bell

Shawn Bell — better known as Coach Tink to her players — coaches in Newton County. According to parents, she’s a “dedicated, loving, hard working coach. She cares about each player individually and puts extra time in struggling players to boost their self esteem.”

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Shawn Bell is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Shawn Bell is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Combined ShapeCaption
Shawn Bell is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Credit: RCT

Bell was nominated by more than 10 parents for Coach of the week. One of them, Kimora Lewis, wrote, “Shawn Bell has a heart of gold. She gives our girls confidence, strength and encouragement. This season was my daughter’s first year playing and she fell in love with the sport because of the level of dedication the coaches put into their players.”

Andrew Claxton

Andrew Claxton coaches youth softball in Buford. According to parents, he gives players “confidence that far exceeds the softball fields.”

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Andrew Claxton is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Andrew Claxton is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Combined ShapeCaption
Andrew Claxton is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Credit: RCT

Claxton was nominated by Ashley Childress, who wrote, “His players love him, as do the parents. He goes beyond the role of coach by being a positive and uplifting figure in his players’ lives. His energy and encouragement will stay with these girls forever as they go through life.”

Wes Ward

Wes Ward is a 10u girls softball coach for East Cobb Edge in Marietta. According to parents, he’s “a phenomenal coach who cares about the girls. He has spent so much time developing the girls individually while also teaching them sportsmanship along with life lessons.”

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Wes Ward is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Wes Ward is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Combined ShapeCaption
Wes Ward is a nominee for Braves Coach of the Week.

Credit: RCT

Credit: RCT

Ward was nominated by Stephanie Witherspoon, who wrote, “He keeps a great balance with giving constructive criticism while also praising what their achievements. Wes cares about winning, but he cares more about making sure our 10 year old girls love the game of softball.”

Vote for your favorite coach

Voting runs through Sunday night. Winners will be announced on Monday afternoon on the Braves Coach of the Week page.