Congratulations to the Whitley County Colonels boys baseball team for making it to the state Elite Eight! This is an accomplishment they will remember the rest of their lives.
It is historic because it is the first time a Colonel baseball team has made it to the state.
My fondest memory of a Colonel’s team going to state was the year the girl’s team won the state basketball tournament played in Bowling Green. It was 1985 and they beat Louisville Atherton 38-37 in the finals.
I had the good fortune of broadcasting the games on cable television in Williamsburg. Paul Estes, the owner of the company, called me and asked if I would do the play-by-play of the games. I was glad he invited me to do it because it produced a lasting memory for me that I very much enjoyed.
For each trip to Bowling Green Paul would pick me up in his van and take me to Diddle Arena. At that time the only way to send the action back home in the Williamsburg area was through the cable.
You may wonder if many people heard the broadcast? It seems that all those who didn’t go to the game somehow, if they didn’t have cable they found a friend who did. From the reaction after the game I believe everybody that followed the Colonels either heard the broadcast or went to the game.
This year’s baseball team has pulled off another remarkable feat. Notice the Sports section in the News Journal this week how many businesses came forward with support for the team.
Of the best memories I have in life some of those are from playing baseball. From Little League on to Babe Ruth League I had the time of my life.
My baseball career started when I got my first glove at age seven and a friend gave me a baseball she caught at a Philadelphia Phillies game.
I drew a big circle on the foundation of our home and I pitched and pitched until I could throw the ball in that circle every time. By the time I went to tryouts for Little League that ball had several coats of tape around it.
Putting on that first uniform was thrilling. We played our games at Campbell Field in Corbin. Whereas the little ones get to play on a manicured field today, that was not the case back then. You learned to catch a ball after it had hit a rock and taken a crazy bounce.
When we would win a game, we were treated with milkshakes from the Dairy Queen on Main Street in Corbin, located next door to the Krystal Kitchen.
Now to say that the training I got by pitching at a circle on our home’s foundation served me well, it didn’t. There was one game when I pitched a no-hitter and we got beat 17-15. I either walked or hit the batsman for those 17 runs.
But it was fun. We would spend the days each summer at the ballpark. One thing that was great about our games was that practically no parents attended. I say that because it was just for fun and no loud shouting or arguing went on.
I have always loved baseball, more in the past than I do now because the Big Red Machine spoiled me. However this year’s Reds team shows promise.
We can hope that the Colonels can pull it off and win the state, but just getting there is a huge accomplishment. Again, Congratulations on making it to the state tournament.