Head Coach Hutchens fulfilling a dream at Perry

Perry Head Baseball Coach TJ Hutchens talks about the opportunity to lead his alma mater at Thursday's summer practice. /(Luke Hetrick, WGXA)

PERRY, GA -- Since his childhood, TJ Hutchens has had a special connection with the Perry Baseball program.

"My household home is about a mile away from here," Hutchens said. "I could see the lights when they come on when they're playing their games. I can here the ping of the bat when they're taking batting practice."

From growing up down the street, to playing on the Panther Pit diamond, Hutchens has always had maroon and gold pumping through his blood.

"It's always been a dream job of mine," Hutchens said. "Graduated from here in 2003. Played on this very field for four years having success as a player. I'm looking forward to carrying that success over into my coaching career."

The dream became a reality for Hutchens Tuesday afternoon when the longtime assistant earned the promotion to Perry's head baseball coach. For seven years, Hutchens patiently waited for the opportunity to arrive. Now that it's come, the entire Panther community is rallying around their new coach.

"As soon as people found out I got the job, I got text messages, phone calls," Hutchens said. "They've all asked how can we help. That's important."

Hutchens is excited to work with a young and up-and-coming team. Thursday kicked off summer practice for the Panthers who are coming off a first-round exit from the GHSA AAAA playoffs.

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