Tidbits - July 22, 2021

  • Print

TIDBITS By RALPH SHEALY

SIXTY YEARS
  It hit me around June that Saluda’s youth baseball program was created in 1961, 60 years ago.
  Had I thought of it earlier, I could have contacted Recreation Director Paul Ergle, and perhaps a ceremony or special program could have been held on opening day, with the original players invited back to attend.
  I have a list of the original 84 players somewhere. I was one of the originals, so I remember me.
  As it turned out, we didn’t need a special program to remember the 60th year. The Saluda 10u Angels softball team took care of that. They won the state championship last week and are going to the World Series, the first youth team from Saluda County to accomplish that feat!
  I played on the old little league field, created at Matthews Field with canvas fences. I kept the scorebook for the Yankees when my brother Jamie played on a field built for one season at the old Red & White Parking lot near where Burger King is today. It was nothing but dirt and rocks.
    I coached the Yankees on the Civitan Field near the swimming pool where the county tennis courts are today, and I helped build the original fields and coached at the current Recreation Complex.
    I believe it was 1983 that the Saluda Civitans began work on the fields at the Recreation Complex. I seems like only yesterday. We played the 1984 season on the fields, but we had no lights, so all the games had to be played during the day, obviously. The Civitans borrowed $30,000 to have the lights installed by the 1985 season.
  The Recreation Complex in 2021 is one of the best youth facilities around today, thanks to the vision of the Civitans and the county’s commitment to our youth through creation of the Recreation Department.
  People come and go, but Saluda County families seem to stick around.
  I played in 1961. In 2021, I had three great-nephews and a great-niece participating in Rec Department’s youth baseball program.
  Jeffrey Jordon, the  head coach of the State Champion, is the nephew of original player David Stone. Jeffrey’s wife Nancy, another coach of the champs, is the daughter of original player Grier Todd.
  Jeffrey is also one of my former Yankee players.
  On Facebook last Thursday, I uploaded a TBT photo to Facebook of a Yankee team on which Jeffrey was a member. Also, on that team was Darryl Hill.
 Jeffrey’s daughter Nyla is a member of the State Championship softball team. Darryl’s daughter Kalisha was the 2A basketball state Player of the Year and lead the Lady Tigers to the State Championship.
  So, on that team were fathers of two future state champions.
  I’ve got another connection to the softball state champions. Pitching coach Jessica Shaw Wash is the daughter of another one of my former Yankee players, Thomas Shaw, who was a member of the first team I coached in 1974.
  I’d say Jessica did a pretty good job coaching. The five Saluda pitchers combined to shut-out every team in the state tournament. That is unheard of on any level.
  To win the state Saluda had to beat Iva twice. Both games were close.
  The wins are more impressive when you realize Iva is the home of Crescent High School, a legendary softball school.
  Under Hall of Fame Coach Gary Adams, Crescent won 19 softball state championships, including a national record 11 in a row, finished runner-up eight times, and won 33 straight region titles. In other words, young ladies in Iva know how to play softball! Beating a team from that town is quite an accomplishment.
  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Saluda County’s future in athletics is bright.   The Recreation Department produced three District champions this year. I don’t know if that has ever happened before.
  After I wrote the above Saturday, Saluda’s Minor League All-Stars finished second in the state tournament by winning a play-in game, and earned the right to play in the World Series in Laurel, Mississippi.
  Saturday, the District Champs eight-year-old team won their first two games in the state tournament in Clemson.
  In less that two years, Saluda County has produced three state champions in three different sports - the 2019 Saluda High football team, the 2021 Saluda High girls  basketball team, and not the Rec Department 10u Angels softball team.
  If this softball team and the baseball teams stay together, look out!


CATCHING UP
  I had my first vacation since turning 70, and the place we stayed made me feel old.
  I mentioned last week I had to climb three flights of stairs every time I went to the place we stayed.
  Not long ago, I made the decision to use the hand rail every time I use stairs. I’m not at the point that I need to use the rails, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  My bed in the rental had a matress that was two  feet off the floor. It was comfortable,  but, unfortunately, I had a hard time getting out of bed. I thought about rolling out of the bed, but I wasn’t sure I could get up from the roll.
  The chairs in the den were completely made of upholstered foam rubber, even the arms. So, if you were able to sit in the chair, there was no support to get out! It was rolling time again.
  The house was built in the 40’s, but it was furnished for young people.
  I did walk two miles every day, except the day of the tropical storm, but then I had to climb the stairs....