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.
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.
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.