VOTING CLOSED: Vote for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week: Week 2

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.

ExploreVote for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week: Week 2

“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 be profiled in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and each will receive a $100 Kroger gift card and a baseball signed by a Braves player.

Vote for your favorite coach

Voting is now closed. Winners will be announced on Tuesday afternoon on the Braves Coach of the Week page.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Jackey Felker

Credit: Photo courtesy of Jackey Felker

Jackey Felker

The common thread through the three nominations for Jackey Felker were how much he cares about the members of his team.

“Jackey is a great coach because he cares for each and every player on his team. He encourages them and gives each one of them a chance to show their true potential,” Kayela Ledford wrote.

Christy, who didn’t give a last name, called Felker “a motivator for each girl on the team. He listens to what they say. The girls respect him.”

Felker also makes sure the girls have fun, according to the nominations. “He makes sure the girls are always having fun and constantly encourages them,” Brenda Hall wrote. “He pushes them to be the very best they can be and inspires the girls every day.”

“He dances and has fun with them,” Christy added. “He makes sure they are having fun at every game. These girls are blessed to have him as there coach.”

Credit: Photo courtesy of Amber Palmer

Credit: Photo courtesy of Amber Palmer

Amber Palmer

Although Nicole Camplen nominated Amber Palmer, she said Palmer and coach Lisa Chapman “kind of go hand in hand. Both ladies pour their effort, time and talents into our 10U fast pitch team. They encourage and develop these girls to help them grow their love of the sport. They take time to connect with each player and hold them accountable to always give their best efforts. They believe in them!”

Credit: Photo courtesy of Paige Vaughan

Credit: Photo courtesy of Paige Vaughan

Paige Vaughan

Paige Vaughan isn’t just a coach; she’s also a friend, according to people who nominated her.

“She’s loving, and we can tell her anything,” player Libby Glass wrote. “She lets us have a lot of nicknames for her, and she is really good at keeping her calm. She helps me be the best ball player. A year ago I couldn’t hit and now I can really good. She also supports our dreams. She’s my best friend She’s short.”

Felicia Clemonts agreed. “It means more to me to hear my daughter talk about softball and how much she loves practice. Her words were, ‘I guess it helps when your coach is your best friend!”. And I truly believe she is her best friend. The bond she has with these girls is unbelievable, there’s no way as a parent to say how thankful we are.”

Although Vaughn is young, “she has been coaching for the longest time,” Lilah Thompson wrote, “and she has been with me and the girls on my team for a while now, and she has formed an amazing relationship with us.”

Braves Softball Coaches of the Week

Week 1: Wes Ward