VOTING CLOSED: Vote for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week: Week 7

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Great coaches can instill a lifelong love of the game

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

This summer, 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 7

“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. Not only will the winning coaches be profiled in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but each will also receive a $100 gift card from Kroger and a baseball autographed by a Braves player.

Vote for your favorite coach

Voting is open through Sunday. The winner will be announced the following week on the Braves Coach of the Week page.

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Josh Burris has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week. Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Josh Burris has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week.
Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Combined ShapeCaption
Josh Burris has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week. Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Josh Burris

Josh Burris is praised by his nominators as not only a team builder, but also as someone who creates players.

Burris “took a group of 12 girls, ages 6-8, from two regular season teams in Roswell. It was most of these girls’ first year playing, including my daughter’s, and took them to compete in two All Star tournaments,” Bo Watson wrote in his nomination. “They showed vast improvements on both sides of the ball every week. Most important, coach Burris has made the girls fall in love with the game of softball. Thank you, coach Burris, for your hard work and dedication to working with all the girls and pushing them to get better and better.”

Natalie Grabowski echoed that sentiment: “Josh has been my daughter’s coach for three seasons. He has taken girls who have never thrown a ball and turned them into amazing softball players who support each other and know what it means to be a part of a team.”

Dave Grabowski also praised Burris’ skills: “Josh has been pivotal in my daughter’s development as a softball player, teammate and young lady. He has instilled confidence, determination and the value of teamwork in her. I am so grateful for his commitment to our daughter, team and community.”

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Bobby Gresham has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week. Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Bobby Gresham has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week.
Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

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Bobby Gresham has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week. Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Bobby Gresham

Lori Townley nominated Bobby Gresham for his work on and off the field.

“Coach Bobby spends countless hours with his girls on the field and in the cages every single week,” she wrote. “He has dedicated so much to making his team better and better. Though one of his players actually is his daughter, he treats them all like one of his own. He is tough on them when he needs to be, but always keeps games and practices fun.”

According to Townley, Gresham’s players “absolutely adore him, and most couldn’t imagine playing for anyone else after they have played for him.”

But the coaching doesn’t stop when they leave the field, she added.

“Off the field, the girls have the most fun each week during our virtual meeting where he takes time to have lots of laughs and really get to know the girls, but also helps them to learn all the ins and outs of the game of softball. Players and parents alike love and appreciate all the time and effort he puts into helping these girls become better athletes and better little human beings. I can’t think of anyone more deserving than our Ohana Tigers fastpitch head coach, Bobby Gresham.”

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Scott Spence has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week. Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Scott Spence has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week.
Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

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Scott Spence has been nominated for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week. Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Scott Spence

Scott Spence is more than just a coach, according to nominator Michaela King. He’s a “God-sent angel to our softball team.” King added Spence goes beyond just teaching the basics of softball. “He will see a girl struggling at a position mentally and will take the extra time with that girl. He led our team to two undefeated seasons with one championship.” She also wrote Spence is like a father figure to them off the field, always checking on them.”

Courtney Drewel praised Spence’s dedication to his players: “Scott is one of the most dedicated coaches we have had the pleasure of our girls being coached by. His love for the game and teaching is unsurpassed. He truly desires for his players to learn fundamentals, not just winning. He pours our grace, builds confidence, and leaves each family better than he found them. Those things are not easy to find in youth sports.”

His patience was touted by Chris Kitchens, and Ashley Reese pointed out how he encourages his players to have fun.

For Hannah King, it’s how Spence individualizes his coaching that prompted her to nominate him. “Scott has coached my niece for three years now. We absolutely love him!! He takes up time with each child and focuses on teaching them in a way that is unique for them. He encourages each and every player to play their very best. He is such an amazing coach.”

Previous Braves Softball Coaches of the Week

Week 1: Wes Ward

Week 2: Jackey Felker

Week 3: Emily Barnard

Week 4: Tony Maldonado

Week 5: Nicole Black

Week 6: Kevin Pittman