Seven Years of Unforgettable Memories: Looking Back at My First Seven Years at Bazemore Field

I’ve always loved the game of baseball. Everything about the game has provided me with an escape from reality for a few hours.

But few places, if any, provide me with the escape from reality quite like Bazemore Field, home of Wetumpka Baseball.

You see, most of you might view that place as just any old baseball field. But to me, that diamond is home.

After all, it is where my life-long dream became a reality on an early-April day in 2013. It’s the one place that I can go and not have a single worry in the world.

If you’ve been to a Wetumpka baseball in the past seven years, you might have looked up in the press box and seen me preparing for a game.

Or perhaps you’ve seen me with my hat off and head down in the left-hand corner of the press box, praying before a game.

Bazemore Field has provided me with seven-years-worth of unforgettable memories, like calling my first playoff game there in 2019, or calling my first home run there in 2014.

That diamond isn’t just an ordinary baseball diamond, or just some place I go to pass the time.

Bazemore Field is home. It’s the place my life-long dream became a reality. There’s just something about that place that no other place compares to.

When I climb the steps and step into the press box at Bazemore Field, it’s as if I never left.

I’m looking forward to creating more unforgettable memories there in 2021.

Old Foes, Familiar Ground: Wetumpka Hosts Tallassee at Historic Hohenberg Field Friday

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 Wetumpka came 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.

Source: Tannehill Photography.

Locked In: Wetumpka Set to Take Gridiron for First Time in Unprecedented Season vs. Rival Prattville

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.

Expectations are high, but so are the rewards.

Source: Tannehill Photography

Tomahawk Chop: Why Are We Considering Removing Such a Harmless Storied Tradition

Around 2:45 Monday afternoon, I read from a credible source that the Atlanta Braves are considering removing one of their longest traditions; the Tomahawk Chop.

Here’s my take on it, why are even considering removing such a long-standing tradition? What’s it hurting?

For 22 years, as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been going to Braves games and honestly I can’t imagine going to a Braves game without there being a tomahawk chop.

For 22 years, I’ve done the tomahawk chop, whether it be at athletic events at my alma mater, or at a Braves game, not once have I thought it was offensive to anybody of any race.

Native Americans should look at it as an honor, because that’s exactly what it is and that way it’s meant to be.

When I have kids, I will take them to Braves games and yes, I will allow them to do the tomahawk chop. Just as I have done and will continue to do as long as God is willing to let me live.

Last year during the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the staff didn’t allow our fans to have foam tomahawks.

Why, you ask? Because somebody, somewhere complained about it being demeaning and offensive to the Native American race.

Whether we have the tomahawk chop from this point on or not, as for me and my house, we will continue to chop.

Source: WGHP.

Baseball Shuts Out Class 7A Powerhouse 2-0, Improves to (2-1) On Season

Monday night, the Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville Huskies visited Bazemore Field and left with a sour taste in their mouths.

The scoring began and ended in the bottom of the second inning when the Indians got a one-out double from the second batter who was brought home on a Doug Johnson single.

Johnson was brought home a batter later and the rest of the game was a 2-0 stalemate.

Some of you may ask “How is Hewitt-Trussville a 7A powerhouse this early in the season?” Well here’s your answer.

Last year, Jeff Mauldin, the Huskies head coach led his ball club to the semifinals, where they were swept by the Bob Jones Patriots and thus, ousted from playoff action.

In addition to that Coach Mauldin has won 7 state titles in eight years in Trussville, Alabama, including multiple Final Four appearances.

Friday night, the Indians will return to Bazemore Field to take on the Class 7A Spain Park Jaguars in a 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. doubleheader.

3B/RHP Kyle Morrison celebrates Monday night’s victory with 1B/P Dawson Fuller and 2B Noah Jones. Picture credit: Brody Huffaker.

I Asked for it, I Got it: 14 Hours of the Game I Love

Yesterday around 6:30 a.m., I woke up and got ready for opening day of the 2020 baseball season for Wetumpka High School.

I arrived at Bazemore Field around 8:45 a.m., with ‘sleep’ still in my eyes, I knew that it would be a great day. After all, it’s not the first time that I have arrived at the field with sleep in my eyes.

I made my way into the press box for the first time in 2020 and I immediately felt like I had never left. All that was on my mind was taking care of business behind the microphone.

About 9:45, a.m., with loud music playing behind me, I walked over to the right corner of the press box, removed my hat and prayed, as I have done for seven years now.

When I finished praying I looked up and pointed to the sky, as I have done for the six years. Then I proceeded to grab the microphone and test it out for the first time this year.

As I spoke into it, I felt chills run down my spine because I knew that I had been waiting on this day since the last game of the previous season was played back in April.

The day progressed and my voice never seemed to waiver. Wetumpka lost the first game of the 11 a.m and 5p.m., doubleheader, which turned out to be an 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. doubleheader.

The sun began to set just beyond the wall in centerfield. By this time I knew that we would bounce back from defeat in game one, and we did just that, to the tune of a 13-3 win over Munford High School.

Now, most people might say “14 hours worth of baseball, that’s a lot, weren’t you tired?!?” The tiredness never hit me during the games, but when I got home at 10:45 p.m., and went to bed, there was no waking me up.

I’ve always heard, “Finish what you start and sleep once it’s done.” And I did just that.

If you want something bad enough, you have to sacrifice something, even if that means sacrificing sleep.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be back at Bazemore Field for a 4 p.m. first pitch against the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies.

I’m Coming Back Home: If a Place Could Talk, I’d Talk to This Place for Hours on End

There are very few places where I can go and feel like I’ve escaped reality for a few hours.

In fact, there is one place in particular that I go to, not just because it’s a baseball diamond, not because there’s a press box here, not because I frequent this place a lot during this time of the year. But, because it’s the place where my dream of becoming a broadcaster came true.

What’s that place, you ask? That place is Bazemore Field, named after the late, great, Coach Stokely Bazemore, a highly successful baseball coach at my alma mater during his time at Wetumpka.

All my life, my family has called me ‘Little Stokely’, not because I’m a baseball coach, definitely not because I’m good at math, but because I remember statistics just like he did and because I often sit with my left leg over my right, just like he did.

So, it’s only fitting that my dream came to fruition here. Not only did my dream come true here, I also have countless memories here ranging back before my career as a broadcaster came to be.

I’ve been behind the microphone at Bazemore Field and several other places, not just in Wetumpka over the past six years, but none of them have quite felt like home like “The Baze.”

My dad often tells me stories of his playing days under Coach Stokley Bazemore and they never get old.

Coach Bazemore had a speech impediment from what I understand, but even with that. People loved him.

I never did have the honor of meeting Coach Bazemore, but I did attend his visitation in 2008, which was in the high school Commons area, which also serves as the lunchroom.

His casket sat right in the middle if the Commons above the top step right in front of the library.

I have a feeling Stokely Bazemore and I would have become fast friends, although he probably would’ve cussed me out over my math skills, which are lacking.

In fact, the highway leading to the school and baseball field is named “Coach Stokely Bazemore Highway” in his honor.

For almost seven years, my voice has been heard through the speakers at Bazemore Field and I have no doubt that Coach is sitting in Heaven tapping his foot and doing his famous hand gesture, where his finger tips would meet each other when he was in deep thought, which chalk dust on the seat of his pants.

I like to think that he would be beaming ear-to-ear knowing that “Pahma’s” son was calling the games at the place named after him.

Pahma was his nickname for my dad, but he couldn’t say his R’s.

This coming Saturday, three days from now, I will start my seventh season as baseball broadcaster when Wetumpka kicks off the season at home against Benjamin Russell and Sweet Water at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Don’t worry coach, I’ll be home soon.

Third picture: AHSFHS.org.

Here’s to Seven Years of Living My Dream

It’s still so hard to believe that in less than three months, I will crank the speakers up and let my voice be heard at Bazemore Field in Wetumpka for the seventh year.

If you know me, you know how many hours I practiced announcing when I was little, it’s the only way that I could be around sports due to the fact that I didn’t play sports for long when I was a kid.

I played baseball until I was eight, because I broke my finger bunting a baseball when I was seven.

From that my moment on, I knew that the only way that I could see my dream flourish would be to pick up a microphone.

Over the past six years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of announcing for numerous then-future MLB draftees, announced in the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Playoffs, visited several colleges, and so much more.

In 2020, I plan on making many more new, unforgettable memories and sarcastic remarks, behind the microphone at Bazemore Field.

Here’s to seven years of living my dream, the best is yet to come.

Battle in Ol’ Paul Snow: Tribe, Bucks Meet For Second Consecutive Season at Jacksonville State University

It’s been a long first four weeks of 2019 for the Wetumpka Indians (2-2) but thankfully, the long stretch of traveling is almost over, at least for a couple of weeks. Thursday night’s matchup at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Buckhorn (3-1) is led by third-year head coach, Keith Henderson. Henderson began his high school coaching career at Sparkman High School in 1999 and was the Senators coach until 2002. After leaving Sparkman, Henderson took eight years off and became the head coach of the Grissom Tigers in 2010, where his tenure was short and not-so-sweet as the Tigers went (1-9) in his only year at Grissom. Coach Henderson didn’t find his way to Buckhorn until 2017, when he took over as the Bucks head man, where he has been for three years since 2017. So far in 2019, the Bucks have a (3-1) record. They beat Madison County 35-21 in Week 1, lost to Florence 33-20 in Week 2, beat Hazel Green 36-35 in Week 3 and beat Albertville 24-7 a week ago. Wetumpka will look to halt the Bucks two-game win streak.

What’s After This?

Next week Wetumpka will play their home opener vs. Prattville While Buckhorn will host Sparkman.

Inside the Series:

Wetumpka and Buckhorn have only met once before in 2018 with Wetumpka running away with things 23-7 on September 20, 2018 at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

Can they do it again? Kickoff is set for 7pm Thursday night at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

A Budding Rivalry: Wetumpka Travels East to Rival Opelika for Fourth-Consecutive Road Game

In recent years, this game has lived up to all of the hype surrounding it. Every single bit of the hype. Basically, if you attend this game, you’re almost guaranteed to witness an instant classic and we will talk about that later in this article.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Opelika is led by second-year head coach, Erik Speakman, who came to Opelika in 2018 and led the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record. Through the first three games of 2019, Speakman’s Bulldogs are 3-0 with wins over Callaway High School (GA), 10-7, Auburn High School Tigers (AL), 21-13 and Selma High School Saints (AL) 23-7. 2018 marked Coach Speakman’s first year as a high school coach in Alabama.

Inside the Series:

Although this series dates back 81 years, to 1938, it didn’t become the budding rivalry that it is today until recent years, 2016, to be exact. Despite dating back 81 years, these two programs only have a handful of clashes, five to be exact. In the last three meetings since 2016, games between these budding rivals have been decided by a slim margin, in fact, the largest margin of victory over the last three meetings is a whopping two points which belongs to Wetumpka from their most-recent clash in 2018. Today, the 2018 meeting in Wetumpka stands as the Indians only win through the first five games of the series.

The 2019 renewal of the limited rivalry is set for 7pm at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika, Alabama, on the campus of Opelika High School.

Picture: Tiffany Singleton.