Kianna Jones made her debut as head coach for the Coastal Plain League’s Macon Bacon, becoming the first female head coach not only in the CPL but in summer collegiate baseball history.
Normally the team’s bench coach, Jones took over the reigns as head coach after Kevin Soine was not able to make the trip to Forest City due to a medical issue, making way for Jones to make history.
“It’s been fantastic working with the Bacon this summer,” said Jones via press release. “I’ve watched the sport since I was a kid–my brother and father both played it–but I never really saw many females so being a softball player, I thought it would be good to transition into coaching one day. Last year, I met and got to listen to Kayla Baptista, who was the first female assistant coach in the Cape Cod League and Rachel Balkovec (the first woman to manage a MLB affiliated team). I learned a lot from listening and speaking with both Kayla and Rachel, especially that women can have a place in baseball. Now, my main goal is to help the players [I work with] become the best that they can be, but also to inspire the next generation of female players and coaches go on and accomplish their goals.”
“We want to congratulate Kianna on this milestone,” said Coastal Plain League Commissioner Justin Sellers via press release. “We believe women do have a place in baseball and we are proud to be an ally in seeing that more do. Kianna has earned this opportunity and will no doubt be an inspiration for the next generation of our future.”
A softball player for the University of North Carolina, Jones recently completed her first season at for the Tar Heels after playing for two seasons at Minnesota. The versatile redshirt sophomore played as both a pitcher and a utility player through 50 starts in the spring. Overall, she batted .272 with 37 hits, including seven homers to go with 28 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
The Coastal Plain League has been an advocate for breaking down the barriers for women in baseball, having not only witnessed several women owners, general managers (and assistant general managers) as well as league office staff over the years; but also having had female broadcasters (Victoria Conway, Edenton ’19 & Julia Kennedy, Lexington County ’21) and even the league’s first ever female umpire in 2019. Greta Langhenry served as a league umpire in 2019 through the CPL’s then-partnership with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development. Langhenry is now an Umpire Operations Administrator for Major League Baseball.
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