Coach Brian Hering circled his Todd Beamer High School softball team, concluding a brief practice to discuss their upcoming game.
Hering sat on a bucket and his players plopped onto the floor around him. Well, all except Jourdin Hering, who stood in the back.
“Let’s make sure we put the ball in play,” Brian says.
“If you see your pitch early, go after it,” Jourdin quickly interjects.
Brian takes back over: “Just know that Alex (Haven, Beamer’s pitcher) is going to keep us in the game, so let’s keep her in the game.”
More Jourdin: “Make sure we’re talking a lot.”
Brian regains the room before concluding the post-practice speech.
“If we play defense, we’ll be in it,” he says.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think Jourdin was one of the assistant coaches.
Brian Hering says that’s just what you get when your senior four-year starter and NCAA Division I-bound center fielder doubles as the coach’s daughter. Together they’ve cemented themselves in Beamer history, taking three consecutive trips to the Class 4A state tournament — the only three state appearances in school history.
“I really just want to get to state one more time — make it four in four years,” Jourdin said.
But all that success hasn’t make them impervious to father-daughter spats. Like when Brian tries to set up a practice drill one way, but Jourdin insists it should be done another.
“I’m like, ‘Dad, we’re doing it wrong. This is how we do it.’ And he’s like, ‘No, this is how I want it done.’ I’m like, ‘Well, it’s not how you’re supposed to do it.’ ” Jourdin said.
“It’s things that most people would think is not a big deal — but to us, it has to be perfect, it has to be this way. That’s what you get being the coach’s daughter.”
Other times, Brian insists that dad must be coach and daughter must be player.
“Jourdin and I are, like, identical — we’re like two peas in a pod,” Brian said. “So we do butt heads a lot. But it’s more that I think she knows the game better than I do.”
Jourdin has scintillated as a contact hitter near the top of the lineup each of the past three years, but this year bats third to accommodate the loss of some key middle-of-the-order hitters to graduation.
She leads Beamer (10-8, 9-7 4A SPSL North) with 27 RBIs and is batting .479.
“Jourdin (will bring) speed, athleticism and great outfield experience,” Stony Brook coach Megan Bryant said. “… We look for Jourdin to make an immediate impact at the top of our lineup.”
It doesn’t hurt to have Kenzie Palmer, another four-year starter, batting leadoff. The Western Washington signee is hitting .557 with a team-best 17 extra-base hits at the top of the order. Together Palmer and Hering have helped stabilize a new-look lineup this year.
Palmer also doubles as the frequent mediator between those Hering father-daughter altercations.
“My dad coached me until I was in the eighth grade and at the time I thought it was the worst thing ever,” Palmer said. “But looking back you appreciate it, and you appreciate that it was our thing. Jourdin and Brian — they can have their rough days in practice. But at the end of the day, you can tell this is their thing.”
Brian was a three-sport athlete at Decatur before heading to Skagit Valley Community College for soccer.
He took over the Beamer softball program the year before Jourdin arrived. Coaching is his passion, as is watching his daughter play softball. So he figured he’d combine the two.
They’ve traveled across the country, as far as Orlando, for softball. Brian said he’s missed just one of Jourdin’s tournaments — school or select — since she was eight years old.
“If I couldn’t see her play every day, I would not be coaching,” Brian said. “I would be at her games. I do everything around her games. I coach club ball, too, but I told that team that if I can’t watch (Jourdin) play, I don’t coach.”
Jourdin heads to New York next year. That will complicate things.
“My goal is to coach here as long as I can, and I will still go watch her play in New York,” said Brian.
“I’m hoping next year I can talk the league into letting me play on Thursdays so I can fly there for the weekends. … I’ll probably have to stream all her weekday games.”
Jourdin doesn’t mind. She actually encourages it.
“So many times when I started playing outfield he would be telling me, ‘move over, get into position,’ ” Jourdin said. “There were a few years there where I would say, ‘Dad, you have to be at my game. You can’t not come.’ ”
It’s not like there’s much other time to spend with each other.
Brian’s worked a graveyard shift at Sea-Tac International Airport for the past year. He said he gets home from work at about 7 a.m. and tries to get as much sleep as he can before 1 p.m. — when he has to get ready for softball practice.
And Jourdin spent the past three years as an ASB official at Beamer, played soccer all four years and last year competed in wrestling.
Jourdin’s mother lives in Bothell, as does her 21-year-old brother, Tanner, who played three sports at Bothell High School.
When Jourdin was 10, she told her father she planned on becoming a Division I softball player.
“Coaching Jourdin is just fun,” Brian said. “I just love to watch her play. You should have seen this catch against (Thomas Jefferson). She was in left-center, catches it in center field diving, gets up and throws it and we end up getting a triple play. The things she does — sometimes they are unbelievable.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677