UNC softball player to be first female coach in Coastal Plain League history

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Thursday, May 26, 2022
Eyewitness News at 6am - May 26, 2022
Eyewitness News at 6am - May 26, 2022

MACON, GA (WTVD) -- A UNC softball player will be the first female coach ever in the Coastal Plain League.

The CPL is a summer baseball league that brings together some of the best collegiate baseball players in the area.

UNC sophomore Kianna Jones, who started 50 games for the Tar Heels this year, is set to make history in the league. She will be the first woman to ever coach in the CPL.

She's slated to be the Macon Bacon's bench coach. Which means she will oversee the team's analytics and coach bases during the game.

"I'm super excited to get started with the Bacon," Jones said. "My main goal this summer is to inspire the next generation of young women who want to work in baseball and to show them that there are so many more opportunities to follow their dreams."

She's also following in the footsteps of one of her own UNC Softball teammates: Kayla Baptista. Baptista was a coach in the Cape Cod League last summer. This year, she was hired as a player development coach with the Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball.

As for Jones, Macon Bacon team president Brandon Raphael said she first reached out to the team about an internship. But after talking with her, Raphael decided she could best help the team by being part of the coaching staff.

"When we connected her to Kevin Soine, our manager, he felt she was a perfect fit. We're thrilled to have her blaze the trail for history in the Coastal Plain League," Raphael said.

"We feel extremely lucky to have Kianna as a part of our staff," head coach Kevin Soine said. "Kianna's skills in data analytics and player development will bring a huge competitive advantage for the team. I'm looking forward to working together and welcoming such a great role model for young people pursuing a career in baseball."

As a softball player at UNC, Jones is coming off a successful season. She hit the second most home runs of any Tar Heel softball player this year, and she was third on the team in slugging percentage.

The Macon Bacon open the season Friday and will play through July into the beginning of August.