Just six days after giving birth to her second daughter, Ella Sue, Tiffany Yehle was back in her role as head coach of the Twinsburg softball team.
Yehle's dedication to her team is matched only by her dedication to her family. The mother of two teaches fourth-graders in the Kent school system during the day, coaches the Tigers in the afternoon and takes care of her family at night while husband Eric works.
"It gets a little complicated but Eric's parents, my parents and grandparents all help out," said Yehle, who has a 4-year-old daughter, Isabel, with Down syndrome. "I have a wonderful husband who allows me to teach and coach and our lifestyle has always been this way."
And Twinsburg has a wonderful coach who was able to make it back to the team for its biggest win of the season – a come-from-behind, 5-4 victory over state-ranked Hudson. It was the first time the Tigers' seniors had ever beaten their NOC River Division rivals, and it gave Twinsburg a 4-1 division record.
"That was an important game for us," said Yehle, who only missed one game due to her pregnancy. "It's been hard for this team because I'm another new coach and there hasn't been any consistency."
Yehle has an impressive softball resume. She played at state power Akron Ellet, which won a Division I state title in 1996, made the Final Four in 1997 and was a state runner-up in 1995. She played alongside sister Tracee two of those seasons and they both went on to play for the University of Akron, where Tiffany was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference pick. Ironically, Tracee preceeded Tiffany as head coach at Twinsburg.
Father Glenn Yehle is the head coach at Copley and is also director of softball for Pinnacle Sports in Twinsburg and Medina. Tiffany began playing softball at age 9 and was a natural. "I got a hit the first time I ever swung a bat," she said.
After weekend wins against Brecksville and Mentor, the Tigers entered this week's action at 8-3 overall. Twinsburg lost a coin flip for the top seed in the Akron Firestone District and is seeded second behind none other than Yehle's alma mater – Akron Ellet. The two teams met earlier this season with the Tigers dropping a tight 1-0 decision.
"With the seniors we have, we have a chance to go pretty far in the tournament," said Yehle. "But we will have to beat teams from our own division like Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson or Stow and it's never easy to play a team three times in a season."
Yehle did not hesitate when stating goals for the 2011 Tigers.
"It's always a goal to win the state title," she said. "Another goal is to win the league and another is to be able to take away a new skill or an idea from this season."
Seniors Lisa Lash (Akron), Ambur Farmer (Niagra), Taylor Menhart (Ashland) and Jessica Bequette (Notre Dame College of Ohio) will all continue their careers on a collegiate level. "We have a strong senior class with a lot of talent and our other girls will have to work hard in the off-season to replace them," said Yehle.
Yehle looks forward to working with the Twinsburg Youth Softball league in developing a feeder system for the high school team. "We have a good partnership with TYSL," she said. "And we want to do a great job keeping our alumni involved like they do at Akron. My goal is to keep developing the talent at Twinsburg through hard work and passion."
Hard work, passion and dedication are a way of life for Yehle, who is already making her mark at Twinsburg as both a coach and a role model.