Yesterday seemed like a normal day, little did I know several hours later, I would have the distinct honor and privilege of meeting and calling the home run for one of the most inspirational kids that I’ve ever met.
Meet Landon McGregor, Landon has Down syndrome and is the bat boy for Alex City Middle School’s baseball team. He has an infectious personality with a smile that will undoubtedly light up a room.
Prior to the first game of the doubleheader, our head coach came up to me and explained the situation to me. He told me to play it up, which I gladly agreed to do under the circumstances.
To lead off the doubleheader, Landon happily walked up to the plate bat in hand. It wasn’t long before Landon hit the ball and was rounding the bases with a huge smile on his face. His trip around the bases was ended with a slide at home plate and kids surrounding him congratulating him on his big hit.
Little did Landon know, his big moment taught me one important thing, the little things in life are really all that matters.
For most people, it takes a while for them to know what they want to be when they grow up. For one high school head coach, it didn’t take long.
Bear Woods was announced as the Indians new head man a week ago. After spending time in both the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL), Woods considers this opportunity a blessing saying “I can’t overstate just how awesome of an opportunity this is that my family and I are grateful for.”
Woods, a collegiate standout at Troy University, and most recently with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Allouettes and Toronto Argonauts, says “it’s a blessing to be at home doing what I love, which is football and to have my wife and my four kids at my side on this journey.”
The Macclenny, Florida, native credits his playing days with putting him “on a journey being able to understand what these athletes are going through and it’s a journey that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
As a young kid in small-town Florida, Woods dreamt of playing for Baker County High School, a rural Florida institution. “There wasn’t a college team or a professional team, all I wanted to do was play for my high school. On Friday nights, I looked forward to being able to carry my older brother or my older cousins’ equipment.”
Woods says “It’s that type of passion and pride that I want to be able to help cultivate and instill here with our community.”
Woods also says “Football is just a platform with which the Lord has blessed me to serve the place that I call home. This is what the Lord intends me to do and to be able to lead young athletes in all sports, both girls and boys, it’s just a great opportunity.”
The faith-grounded head coach says, “This program has no ceiling on where it can go and I’m anxious to serve here.”
Woods has considered the City of Natural Beauty home for a while. “Wetumpka was home before this job and it’s going to be home well after this job, we’re here for the long haul.”
Friday, February 18, 2022 may seem like just any other random, ordinary date to you, most readers. But to me, it’s a very important date. Why you may ask?
Because on Friday, February 18, 2022, I will embark on my ninth year as a baseball broadcaster and call my 400th baseball game as a broadcaster. This microphone has taken me so many places that I would’ve never seen if I hadn’t decided to pick up the microphone nine years ago, back in 2013.
I’d wanted to be a broadcaster long before 2013. In fact, its been my dream since I was a six-year-old little boy from central Alabama.
This microphone has caused me to cross paths with some of the most-decorated, highly-acclaimed broadcasters in the industry. Like former Voice of the Auburn Tigers, Rod Bramblett and current Voice of the Tigers Andy Burcham.
As well as Voice of the Troy Trojans, Barry McKnight, former Auburn Tigers quarterback Charlie Trotman and Doug Amos.
It’s been an absolute blessing to be able live out my dream for going on nine years, and I couldn’t ask for a better school or program to represent other than Wetumpka High School Baseball.
If you come to Bazemore Field, on the campus of Wetumpka High School this spring, be sure to stop by and say hello. To me, this industry is about more than a microphone, it’s about providing the fans with the best gameday atmosphere possible.
Here’s to 400 & counting. See you soon, Bazemore Field. I’ll be home before you know it.
It’s been a long season, one full of ups and downs for teams all over the State of Alabama no matter what the classification might be.
Every team has their high points and low points over the course of a season, no matter what length it is. Wetumpka (20-7) seems to be hitting their stride at the perfect time.
Indians’ third baseman Kyle Morrison stated “This is just another game to me, we have a lot of confidence in our teammates and we know what we’re capable of doing, all we have to do is take it pitch by pitch.”
Morrison also stated “We don’t want to overlook those guys (Stanhope Elmore), they are a talented group and nothing will be easy in this one, it never does. As long as we compete for seven solid innings, we’ll be fine.”
The Indians return to the friendly confines of Bazemore Field on Thursday for a doubleheader against Stanhope Elmore, whom the Tribe defeated 8-2 on Tuesday in Millbrook, Alabama, at Furlow Field.
With the rivalry between Stanhope Elmore and Wetumpka being one of Elmore County’s best, Morrison uses it as motivation every time they take the field donning the black and gold.
“This rivalry definitely pushes us harder to go out there and be our best.”
He also credits the tough schedule that Wetumpka was faced with this year as a stepping stone in preparing for this moment.
“This schedule has definitely prepared us not only for this moment, but also for the playoffs. We have faced a lot of talented teams this year with bright futures and we’ve our share of adversity, but in the long run that’s what it takes if you want to succeed.”
“This season has definitely taught us some lessons that we will cherish for the rest of our lives, we definitely won’t take this opportunity for granted because it could be taken away tomorrow.”
It’s the Indians and Mustangs, Wetumpka and Stanhope Elmore, for the Class 6A Area 5 Championship. First pitch is slated for 4:30pm with a second game to follow if necessary.
It’s no secret that these two schools that will face off in game one of a potential three-game series don’t like each other. The history between these two schools —regardless of the sport — dates back further than most people can remember.
But the rivalry, oh how it’s grown over recent years. In some ways you could say Wetumpka High School and Stanhope Elmore High School — arguably the top two baseball teams in the River Region — have not only the history that would constitute a rivalry, but they also have one of, if not the biggest rivalry in the River Region.
The two squads will collide for the first time in 2021 Tuesday at Furlow Field in Millbrook, Alabama, home of the Mustangs for one game scheduled to begin at 4:30pm.
The finale of the series will commence at Bazemore Field in Wetumpka, Alabama on Thursday. This series is without a doubt going to be a fight tooth-and-nail. Runs won’t come easy. After all when it comes to these two bitter rivals, nothing comes easy.
This is about more than bragging rights, it’s about more than a bat and a ball, it’s two schools that down-right despise each other facing off, colliding head-to-head in one series for an Area crown. Who wants it more?
Often times, specifically this time of year, between mid-to-late February and mid-to-late April with a possibility of early May, depending on how the playoffs shake out, I’m the busiest I’ll be all year.
I’m away from home more times than not this time of year, whether it’s at my day-job or my night-job as a broadcaster, this time of year is always more hectic than any other time of year, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I’d rather be busy anyway, it keeps my mind and hands busy, as a mentor of mine once told me, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement.
It’s so hard to believe that I’m a little over half way to my ninth year as a broadcaster, honestly it seems like just yesterday I was broadcasting my first game.
I guess the old saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun,” is true. Except for me, I’m not just having fun, I’m living my dream and embracing the chaos one pitch at a time.
It’s hard to believe that in just over a month, I will begin my eighth season as a baseball broadcaster. Honestly, it seems like just the other day, I was standing against the of the home dugout at Bazemore Field when I got the opportunity to broadcast my first game, but we’ll dig back into the vault and pull that out later.
In these eight seasons, I’ve been on hand for 315 games, had you asked me eight years ago if I would be fortunate enough to still be living out my dream 315 games later, I would’ve probably told you, “This is probably just a one time deal.”
But here I am, eight years later and I haven’t been kicked out of the press box yet. And I couldn’t think of a better school to serve as a broadcaster for. I’ve been a member of this program in some capacity, for nine years.
With every passing season, every passing game, every passing minute and second, this program becomes more and more etched into my heart.
When I look back on the previous 315 games of my career, I realize just how blessed I am to live out my dream as a broadcaster. But not just any broadcaster, but the “Voice” of Wetumpka High School Baseball. Over the course of my time as a broadcaster, I’ve seen highs and I’ve seen lows, but I’ll always be thankful for everything that has come my way.
No matter where this industry takes me, I’ll always be proud to say that it all started at Bazemore Field in the small town of Wetumpka, Alabama.
Here’s to the next 315 games of my career. 315 more games worth of memories. I’ll be back home in a little over a month.
It’s been 17 years since Tallassee and Wetumpka have met on the gridiron. The Tigers will travel to Wetumpka’s Hohenberg Field on Friday for their first meeting since 2003.
A Look at the Gridiron Series
The last meeting between the two programs was played at Tallassee’s J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium, with Coach Kyle Glover and the Indians pulling away from Coach Phil Lindsey and his Tigers, 52-7.
At the time of the meeting on August 29, 2003, Coach Kyle Glover was just entering his third year at the helm of Wetumpka, while Coach Phil Lindsey was entering his second season in charge of the Tallassee Football program.
The last meeting between the crosstown rivals in Wetumpkacame on August 30, 2002, when Wetumpka claimed a 44-6 victory over Tallassee.
The series with Tallassee dates all the way back to November 18, 1921, a game which the Tribe won 27-0.
The former arch rivals met every year on the gridiron from 1951 to 1997 and picked back up for the two most recent games in 2002 and 2003.
A Look at the Opponent’s Last Game and History
Last week, Tallassee fell to the Reeltown Rebels 27-21 in overtime during the Tigers’ season-opener at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium.
The Tigers are led by ninth-year head coach, Mike Battles Jr., during his coaching tenure across the Tallapoosa River, Battles is (60-31) with six playoff appearances and a (5-6) record in those postseason appearances with the Tigers.
Prior to taking the job as the head football coach at Tallassee High School before the 2012 season, Battles spent time at Oak Grove High School (1997-2007) and Bibb County High School (2008-2011).
Overall, in 24 years as a high school head football coach in the State of Alabama, Mike Battles Jr is (177-86).
A Glance at Wetumpka’s Last Game and History
Wetumpka opened the season with a 40-10 loss to rival Prattville at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in the second game of the AHSAA’s Kickoff Classic.
The Indians are led by ninth-year head coach Tim Perry. Prior to coming to Wetumpka in 2012, Coach Perry led the Alabama Christian Academy Eagles from 1985 to 2000.
During his 14-year tenure at Alabama Christian, he led the Eagles to a (73-73) record, including six trips to the postseason.
Later, Coach Perry would land jobs in Nashville and at Central Arkansas Christian School in North Little Rock. Central Arkansas Christian won the Arkansas Class 3A state title in 2004.
In 2007, Perry joined the staff at his alma mater, Harding University. In 2010, he took over at Nashville’s AR, where he remained for two seasons.
In 2012, Perry returned to the State of Alabama, as the head coach at Wetumpka where he has since remained.
During his tenure at Wetumpka, Perry has led the Tribe to a (59-38) record including seven-straight postseason appearances.
In his career as a high school head coach in Alabama his head coaching record is (132-111), in Nashville, Tennessee, and North Little Rock, Arkansas, his head coaching record is (68-19-1), and his overall high school head coaching record is (200-130-1).
Kickoff between the Tallassee Tigers and Wetumpka Indians is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hohenberg Field.
With all the uncertainty surrounding sports these days and everything being so close-to-the-vest so to speak, it’s safe to say that we are living and playing sports in unprecedented times.
But that doesn’t mean that this season means less than any other season in the past. In fact, you could make a case by saying this season actually means more than any other season.
Not because it’s just another season, but because of everything that has threatened the sports world in the past few months.
A Look at the Opponent:
Prattville High School Football is led by third-year head coach, Caleb Ross.
Ross led the Lions to a (9-3), third-place finish in Class 7A Region 2 in 2019.
Prattville’s wins came over Foley (39-0), Stanhope Elmore (42-0), Enterprise, (28-14), Wetumpka, (31-13), Lee-Montgomery, (20-3), Jeff Davis, (44-7), Smiths Station, (49-21), Sidney Lanier, (38-24), and Theodore, (24-17 in double overtime in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lions’ losses in 2019, came at the hands of Central Phenix City, (45-20), Auburn, (17-3), and Central Phenix City again, (24-6) in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.
A Glance at the History Between Prattville and Wetumpka:
Friday night’s meeting between the two arch rivals separated by just 19 miles, will be the first-known neutral site game played between the two bitter rivals in the history of the two programs.
Friday night’s game will be the 58th all-time meeting between the crosstown rivals, with the first meeting coming all the way back on September 29, 1922, a game that Wetumpka won 25-6, and the most-recent meeting coming on September 27, 2019, with Prattville winning by a score of 31-13.
Each team enters Friday’s matchup having won 27 contests each with three ties.
Friday’s game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff from Montgomery, Alabama’s historic Cramton Bowl as part of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Kickoff Classic.
Last night, it was announced that the Coronavirus had a confirmed case in Elmore County, Alabama, which is the county I live in.
But that’s not all that was announced. In between middle school baseball games last night, one of our coaches told me that all Alabama public schools had been forced to cancel school and athletics until April 6 after Wednesday.
When he told me, I immediately responded with, “What about the area games that we have to play, because playoffs start during the second week of April?” “Does this mean that nobody will go to the playoffs?”
The coach responded “We’ll see what happens man, we appreciate what you have done in the past and continue to do for this program.” I then gave him a fist bump and assured him that I would be back as soon as possible and in 2021.
This comes on the heels of the following cancellations/postponements: NHL canceled their season Thursday, NBA canceled their season on Thursday after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for COVID-19, MLB canceled remaining spring training games and delayed opening day by at least two weeks as a precaution to the virus, NASCAR announced Thursday that no fans will be allowed in attendance for tomorrow’s race, NCAA canceled all basketball conference tournaments and March Madness, as well as delayed baseball and softball for two weeks, which is scheduled to resume on March 30.
That’s not all but that’s all that I felt like listing.
Because of this virus, I have been robbed of the remaining home games until April 6th.
With that being said, no I do not have the coronavirus, so I’m not to blame.
Y’all be safe out there, wash your hands, stop buying all the toilet paper in stock and hope that sports will be back to normal sooner rather than later.