Elkins hasn’t emerged victorious in every game he’s coached since taking over in 1999, but with the Hoyas’ 6-0 victory over Lassiter on Monday, he can claim he’s won 300 of them.
Former Harrison pitcher Christian Turnipseed, who pitched the first complete game of his career against the Trojans to win the Class AAAAA state finals in 2010, was one of at least 15 former players who returned to witness Elkins’ milestone victory. They came on the field following the game to present Elkins with a large poster that signified his 300th win with all their signatures on it.
“The players mean everything,” said Elkins, who also helped Harrison win a title in 1998 as an assistant under current Roswell coach Mike Power. “The coaches get too much credit when things go well. We always put the team first. This (milestone) is a by-product of them working their tails off. This was a total team effort.”
A few of Elkins’ former players talked endlessly about his preparation and the tireless hours Elkins logs every day to get his team ready for each game. They also say he’s one of the better instructors of the game and relies on his players to give it their all every time they take the field.
“He expects 110 percent from you every day, that’s really the best that I can explain it,” said catcher Jace Whitmer, who played for Elkins in 2005 and 2006 before going on to play three years at Kennesaw State, and two seasons in the Braves organization.
Pitcher Ben Schniederjans, now a freshman at Georgia Tech, said, “He just prepared me for the next level the best that he could. He has everything planned before hand and holds each of us accountable.”
Kyle Burchfield, a former Harrison player who is now Elkins assistant, said he’s fully committed and will work with each player privately for however long when they need assistance.
“He’s the best coach to prepare you for what’s to come,” Burchfield said.
Current Harrison pitchers Chandler Firestine, Andrew Burchell and Ryan Rogers were all in on the shutout against Lassiter on Monday and gave up just three combined hits, two of them to Grant Berry.
Lassiter had the bases loaded against Harrison in the third inning, but Firestine pitched his way out of it, and that was the last time the Trojans reached scoring position.
Tanner Weeks was 2-for-4 at the plate for Harrison and Hayden Messina was 2-for-3. The Hoyas pulled away in the fifth inning when Cole Austin led off with a triple and Ross Neely brought him home with a single.
Weeks had an RBI single in the second and scored on an error in the first.