It was unknown at the time, but when Sonny Oliphant’s (Coach O) baseball Tigers captured the 16th District title in 1984, they barely beat the bell as consolidation was to come just a year later. The championship for GHS was the first since the early 60s when the Tigers of Tommy Downing won the old 20th district. Ironically, the two outgoing Monroe teams won the last two titles before the MCHS creation with T-ville winning honors a year later in ‘85.
“It’s hard to win districts when you’re the smallest school in the group,” said Coach O, recently in reminiscing about those purple-and-gold champs. He should know, he spent the majority of his coaching years at GHS and Park City, a small Barren County school.
Oliphant later led Monroe Falcons to a pair of runners-up and a 16th District title in basketball before retiring.
The Tigers won the five-team tourney on their home diamond and did it the hard way by going the long route (three wins) becoming the first team in 10 years to do so.
GHS 12 – Metcalfe 6 (opening game)
Pounding out 18 hits, the winners were led by Jack Downing (four hits) and Bobby Deckard, Toni Brown and Tim Billingsley with 3. Downing and Ron McCormick combined for the pitching win.
GHS 8 – Tville 7 (semis)
Gamaliel overcame a huge six run-sixth inning deficit to eliminate their cross-country rival in what was to be the last district tourney game between the two schools. John Harlin delivered the winning RBI after Chris McGuire (grand slam), Jeff Taylor, Downing and Brad Murphy had contributed RBI hits. Max Petett and Steve Kirkpatrick led the Bears with two hits each.
GHS 8 – Cumberland 6
Eight was again the magical number for the champs as they again rallied after falling behind 3-0 in the third inning. Home runs accounted for six of the go ahead runs as
Murphy, McGuire and Kelly Rich cleared the fences.
Making All-District for GHS was Deckard, Murphy, McGuire and John Harlin. Kirkpatrick and Dwight Tooley received honors for THS.