Archive - Jul 2012 - Sports Article
At 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, the Bryan Packers pulled out ofthe West Point High School parking lot.
The team was without All-Area Player of the Year, starting first baseman Lance Martin and starting third baseman â€śHotâ€ť Rod Williams.
Martin and Williams had accepted scholarships to play football and practice had begun. The pair would miss the trip to Kansas City, Mo.for the American Legion Mid-South Regional.
The bus made it to the windmill on Highway 50, headed toward the Birmingham Airport when a car pulled up behind, flashing its lights.
On Monday, the Oak Hill Lady Raiders kick off their season with a trip to Starkville Academy.
The Lady Raiders share a conference with Winston, Manchester, Canton and Leake Academies.
Leake Academy begins the season on the heels of a 70-game winning streak and back-to-back state championships.
â€śEverybody in our conference is playing for second,â€ť Oak Hill coach Marion Bratton said. â€śTheir pitcher is one of the top ranked pitchers in the state and sheâ€™s a good hitter and an excellent runner, too. It seems like it takes her about three steps to get to first out of the box.â€ť
By the time the Bryan Packers played Tuscaloosaâ€™s Hillcrest on June 11, the season was almost two weeks old.
The Packers took a pair of games, winning 9-7 and 7-5. It was their first wins on the season.
â€śSome couldnâ€™t come at the beginning,â€ť Packers coach Frank Portera said. â€śThey came on a little later in the year. Youâ€™ve got graduation stuff, youâ€™ve got senior trips, youâ€™ve all this stuff. Thereâ€™s a couple of weeks in there before you can get everybody together where so much is going on that we didnâ€™t get together until a week or two until after the season had started.â€ť
It would be known in the baseball history books as the year there was no World Series. The Major League Baseball season was in trouble as early as June, 1994, with tensions between players and owners building before erupting with a strike in August, leaving thousands of angry fans in its wake.
That spring, someone approached Frank Portera about starting an American Legion baseball program in West Point.
It started as a suggestion.
â€śWe put up a suggestion box months ago,â€ť West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley. â€śItâ€™s for officers who have ideas or suggestions about how we could run the department better or how we could better contact the community.â€ť
Detective Sgt. Albert Lee suggested a charity softball tournament.
â€śWe have all kinds of things for kids,â€ť Lee said. â€śBut I thought it would be good to go forward with all the departments in the city. Itâ€™s a healthy thing, a good way to get exercise for city employees.â€ť
The two teams representing West Point in the eight and under Dizzy Dean South State Tournament completed play in Louisville on Saturday.
The West Point Nationals dropped their first round contest to host Louisville 25-2, lost to Starkville 22-4 and Grenada 18-6.
The Nastionals took home the Sportmanship Award, for showing the best sportsmanship throughout the tournament.
The West Point Americans lost their first game to eventual champions Grenada Youth 11-6, defeated Hamilton 22-0, defeated Union 18-2, and lost to Columbus 9-8.
Gray Berry and Jaden Craven catch a Columbus Nationals runner in the base paths during the 10 and under Dizzy Dean South State Tournament on Saturday. West Point won the contest 13-8.
Dylan Scott swings during some weekend West Point Dizzy Dean action for the 11-12 year-old All-Stars.
Aiden Henson (right) watches the pitch from third base during the fourth inning of West Pointâ€™s contest with the Columbus Nationals on Saturday. Henson scored on a passed ball. Aiden Henson
On Saturday, the West Point 9-10 year old All-Stars finished the first inning of their game with Caledonia down 5-0.
"When we got down like that, we could have just given up," Coach Sherman Berry said. "But we chipped away and chipped away and scored enough to win."
The West Point team finished fifth out of 15 teams in the tournament.
The win Saturday put West Point in a Sunday afternoon game with Starkville.
Starkville took the contest 25-16.
"We had too many errors," Berry said.