LADY LIONS SOFTBALL
LIONS BOYS' GOLF
LIONS GIRLS' GOLF
ALUMNI DAY 2012
July 17, 2012By Jimmy White of Prattville High School
FIRST ALUMNI DAY A BIG HIT WITH FORMER LIONS BASEBALL PLAYERS
Saturday July 14 I woke up and hustled outside to see what the weather was doing. I did not see any rain clouds, so I felt it was going to be a great day for the events that was planned for Prattville High School’s baseball field.
New baseball coach Martin Jackson had planned a day for former players to make a visit to the school for what he was calling “Alumni Day.” His schedule called for a home run derby as well as a game between the old timers, so we needed some sunshine and no rain, at least until after 2 p.m.
The old timers would begin to gather around 10 a.m. and the events would kickoff as soon as everyone was registered.
I was being very careful not to make a lot of noise so I wouldn’t wake Joy, after all she is the only one in the family working, and Saturday she deserves to sleep late. I put on a pot of coffee and tip- toed down to the road to pick up the morning Advertiser.
Shortly thereafter I had a cup of coffee, glanced at the paper, and was on my way to the high school. It was quite a sight to see as I walked toward the baseball field. There was a number of “old timers” already showing up, and it was certainly nice to see a bunch of these former players. After all I had the pleasure to watch those kids play Abner Doubleday’s game. I spent a lot of time with them, thinking about the lonely rides on the cheese wagon, and countless Big Macs we had, as well as the time in the dugout.
What a great idea young coach Jackson had planned for former players who worn the Cardinal and White of the baseball team. Baseball is truly a team sport, and while it doesn’t get the glory as football does, it is game that calls for team play and a great deal of practice and certainly camaraderie.
As the events unfolded Coach Jackson introduced all the players. I was hoping that at least one player from the 1974 team would show up. While I was not close to that team, as I later was with many teams following my retirement. I was working at the time and was a District manager that required a heck of amount of traveling. I was trying to climb the old corporate ladder with my employer that I worked with for 32 years.
But I did see the team play after they made a run at the state championship. That was Prattville’s first team to make some noise in the state baseball playoffs. I knew some of the kids from that team (now grown men with families) was still around Prattville, but none showed.
The oldest player to attend the gala event was Steve Haynes, a member of the 1978 team. I was happy to see Steve, although he didn’t play in the Alumni Game. He gave a nice compliment for the baseball program at Prattville High School.
When Steve played there was no baseball field, and the games were played at Newton Park. The baseball field is long gone from Newton Park, as it is now a softball only field.
Steve tossed out accolades for the Prattville High School baseball Program that allowed him to receive financial aid to attend Alabama, Christian College in Montgomery. From the Eagles program Steve was drafted in 1981 by the Detroit Tigers in the 1th round of the amateur draft. He was the 432nd overall pick.
Forty-eight (48) former players showed for the event. In additional to the former players three former coaches also dropped by to check out the activities and renew old friendships with their former players. Tommy Goodson, the most recent former coach, even participated in the Alumni Game. Roger Lambert, who coached from 1989 until 2006 was the starting pitcher for the home run derby. Lambert was the driving force in the construction of the current field.
“When coach (Bobby) Wasden brought me out to the field house after I was hired, none of this was here. The field house was very small and he took me out behind it and there was this great big empty field. This is where we plan to play baseball,” Lambert said Wasden told him.
Roger Lambert with the help of hundreds of baseball fans and parents of the former players began to work miracles via countless hundreds of fund raising projects and built the current baseball field to be recognized as one of the best in the Central Alabama area.
Along the way Roger Lambert’s baseball teams won 501 games at Prattville High School. Adding Tommy Goodson’s 308 wins to Lambert's record, that’s an incredible 809 victories in 24 seasons, not bad indeed.
One of the highlights of the introductions of the former coaches was assistant coach Rocky Minor. Some of the former players told some hilarious tall tales about Rocky, and by the way, most of them were true. Several players remarked “Those are just some of the stories that can be told, there are others that we’ll just keep in our memories,”
Yes, there are some wonderful memoires of assistant baseball coach Rocky Minor who was with coach Lambert all those 18 years. He was, and still is a hoot.
After all the former players were introduced and graciously took their turn at recalling their glory days, Coach Jackson called for all the players who would enter the home run derby to get their bats and head to home plate.
Coach Lambert was on the mound and he promised to not throw any cutters or curve balls. Each player would have ten pitches to hit. He promised all his pitches would be down the pike and all big old meatballs.
The derby saw six former players come out of top of the first round. The competition in the first round was fierce and very competitive, why half of the sluggers did hit coach Lambert’s pitches out of the infield. Several even banged the walls with a couple of neat drives.
Walter (JR) Myers, Jr. had the longest home run in the preliminary round rapping one over the 400-foot marker in dead center field.
Six players qualified for the championship round. They were Toxey Dorsett (’04), Mike Corrigan (’99), Cory Belyue (’09), Reggie Jackson (’06), Walter Myers, Jr. (’06), and Austin Bailey (’07).
From this group Mike Corrigan, JR Myers, Austin Bailey and Reggie Jackson advanced to the championship round where each player had five opportunities to claim the title.
JR Myers and Austin Bailey both rapped out two over the fence to advance to the final round with one opportunity to take home the first championship home run derby. Myers went first and his blast fell well short of the fence. Bailey followed with a towering shot over the left field wall a nice 340-foot roundtripper to claim the 2012 First Ever Alumni Home Run Derby.
Following the presentation of the beautiful trophy to Austin Bailey the “Old Timers” game began with Managers Craig Luckie’s Old School team taking on Manager Wayne Mooney’s Cageyvets.
Two pretty good hurlers toed the rubber. Corey Luckie, just recently a graduate of Auburn University, and heading off to the University of Alabama in Birmingham to take on a tougher game—pre med, was on the hill for the Old School.
Gage Mooney, still doing some pitching over in Selma with Wallace State Community College was on the hill for the Cageyvets.
It was nip and tuck as the game began with the Cageyvets jumping out front early 2-0 despite Manager Wayne Mooney being tossed out at the plate in an attempt to steal home.
The Old School cut the lead to one in the bottom of the first, but it was the Cageyvets who held on to win the big game.
“It came down to my managerial skills,” winning manager Wayne Mooney said. “I told my team just to play sound fundamental baseball, don’t make any mistakes and they played that way,” he added. “I think the Old School tried to go yard and win on the long ball.”
The roster of the Alumni who had a great day returning to a place where there are so many memories. They enjoyed seeing each other and certainly the camaraderie of former teammates with an excellent lunch and fun time.
Sy Banks (’03), Pratt Bedwell (’85), Cory Belyeu (’09), James Boyer (’97), Alan Butts (’03), Kerry Causby (’80), Mike Corrigan (’02), Jake Corrigan (’99),Toxey Dorsett (’04), Jordan Freeman (’10), Steve Haynes (’78), Logan Hughes (’11), Matt Hunter (’04), Matt Hutcheson (’98);
Scot Jackson (’98), Greg Jones (’83), Dalton Kelley (’12), Mark Lively (’04), Craig Luckie (’80), Corey Luckie (’07), Austin Bailey (’07), Hugh Hollon (’82), David Evans (’83), Walter (JR) Myers, jr. (’98), Tommy Merrick (’85), Bryant Minor (’05), Gage Mooney (’10), Wayne Mooney (’81), Keith Mullins ’87), Chad Oates (’09), Brett Price (’09), T. R. Hope (’98)’
George Rowe, Senior (’80), Brad Sansom (’98), James Strickland (’86), David Weedon (’99), Martin Jackson (’98), Reggie Jackson (’06).
Former Coaches Roger Lambert (1989-2006); Tommy Goodson (2007-2012), Rocky Minor (1989-2006)