From the time I walked out of Marrs’ Gymnasium on May 27, 1971 — (with a signed – thank goodness) diploma in hand — I left with a dream of returning to THS and bringing a baseball district title back to my alma mater. When I asked around about the last district won by the Bears I was usually told “It’s been at least 20 years — if ever.”
The four-based, glove, bat and ball games of softball/baseball were the sports where God saw fit to give me my best abilities and, more importantly for coaching, the best comprehension of the finer points of the “three-strikes-and-you’re out” games.
I never imagined by the time I got back to the Gold Bricks Diamond from Western Kentucky University (WKU) that the skid would still be active. The Hornets of Metcalfe were the stinging villains for three of my four baseball years. The luck of the draw was not kind to us in that stretch as we drew the northern rivals in the opening round in ’68, ’70 and ’71. Looking back now I see that the Edmonton school put as much support and emphasis on baseball as they did the other two major sports.
The ’79 T-ville team was one that featured a solid core of seniors (Kerry Kerr, Steve Hagan, Tony Harlan, “Moonie” Geralds and John Polston). Jimmy Short was a mainstay on the golf team but did some fill-in pitching to relieve the stress on the main hurlers (Kerr, Joey Emmert and Tim Dubree). Brothers Randy and Barry Murphy (freshmen) and junior outfielder Larry Wilson rounded out the nucleus of that team.
Ironically the team we beat (on their home field no less) on May 9, 1979 was the aforementioned Hornets; it was a 5-2 game with the black-and-gold coming back from a 2-0 fifth inning deficit. The date is forever etched in my mind as it was the first district c-ship of my career. I take great pleasure in saluting this treasured bunch of athletes… a team that never questioned my “small ball” (bunting, base-stealing, hit-and running) preferred type of baseball philosophy. A special acknowledgment goes to Tony Gumm who implored me to “coach that team in the district just like you have all year!”
All four classes were represented well in the win with freshman Randy Murphy contributing a key two-run single in the big inning. Sophomore Tim Dubree pitched a complete game for the win—marking the first time that a tenth grader had performed that feat since1959.
Juniors Joey Emmert and Larry Wilson each gloved outstanding plays in the field and each senior had at least one hit. Sophomore Barry Murphy dug out a low throw at first for the game’s final out.
Along with that baseball success, the last spring sports season of the 70s recorded other accomplishments by T-Ville athletes both team-wise and individuals. The boys’ golf team (coached by Lewis Carter) won the first SKAC title in the history of the school. Members of that team were Lowery Anderson, “Little Bill” McClendon, Kevin Hagan, David Anderson, Kerry Anderson, Johnny Travis and Jimmy Short. Short recorded the second lowest individual score in the nine-school meet.
In tennis, John Polson and Timmy Johnson placed second in the double’s competition. In boys’ track, Jeff Stephens and Brett Crowe won honors in the high and low hurdles respectively. Sandy Tooley set SKAC records in the triple and long jumps as the ladies’ team places second in the conference. Thelma Emmert and Janice Walden were the coaches.
The spring and summer of ’79 saw a lot of building and construction projects at various stages. Final touch-ups on the Ben Franklin store were completed in June. Early building also began on the new courthouse and hospital in the last year of a unique decade.