Baseball, softball diamonds are 'in the rough" no more, they are polished
I judge the value of any assignment by two things:
--Can I shoot a picture?
--Can I get something to eat?
Before we get too far away from high school baseball and softball season, let me say, the new Clinton High School complex meets both my criteria.
District 56 and the CHS administration and athletics leadership - pardon the pun - really knocked it out of the park with this one.
It’s great for photos (see evidence on Page 1A), and last Tuesday, the concession stand was stocking Zaxby’s sandwiches and Wilson Curb Market hot dogs. Coming over from PC football practice and CHS lacrosse at Wilder Stadium, I scored a Zaxbys chicken sandwich, ate it and polished off chips and a soft drink sitting on metal bleachers watching players and coaches polish up the infield following the JV game.
My game food of preference is Whiteford’s hot dogs at CHS football in Wilder, and at Presbyterian College football in Bailey Memorial and basketball in Templeton Center. Pizza and popcorn (rarely candy, though, for some reason) will do in a pinch, but hot dogs, that’s my favorite. At the CHS baseball field, they were sold out of hot dogs by the time I moved my old creaky bones back up toward the entrance, and on to my car. The Red Devils had the game against visiting Newberry well in hand.
The CHS baseball and softball complex was dedicated March 16. Just so there’s no misunderstanding, the information I’m about to give about the dedication didn’t come from me (thanks, Buddy Bridges).
“Tonight is a dream come true. What was a dream is now a reality!” Bridges said as he introduced the baseball on-field first-pitch honorees.
C-Teams are carrying The Sponge and softball field traditions at what is now Clinton Middle School. Those fields - in the shadow of Wilder Stadium, and sandwiched between a soccer field and red tennis courts - are on North Adair Street.
No immediate plans are in the works to re-located soccer, tennis and football to Clinton High - the “new school” on Hwy 72 - but in addition to baseball and softball, track and cross-country along with basketball and volleyball have homes at the high school. And, no stadium shadow on the baseball field.
Again steal.. I mean “borrowing” from Bridges, the Voice of the Red Devils, the special guest first-pitch thrower from the dedication ceremony was an acknowledgement of rich Red Devil tradition.
“Kinard Littleton, born and raised in Clinton SC, growing up Kinard played on the Clinton Academy Street Little League team being coached by the legendary Truman Owens. Once at Clinton High, MVP of both the 1960 and 1961 State Championship teams. Graduated CHS as both Parade All American in football and baseball. Scored the very first touchdown ever in Wilder Stadium ... but back tonight for his CHS Baseball heritage. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round after the 1961 season. Retired now and lives in Kinard SC after a very successful career in insurance sales and adjusting. Please welcome tonight his lovely wife, Irene Vaughan Littleton, and his son, Richard, daughter Vaughan and her husband Jimmy, grandchildren Cooper and Abby.”
Littleton tossed a perfect strike to the catcher’s mitt, and the new diamond was dedicated.
Lots of other people were acknowledged, including Jeff Paschall, superintendent of the job site working for M A R Construction; Robert Laws, project manager for this site, whose son plays baseball on the Clinton C-Team; and Joel Carter who designed the complex for Jumpier, Carter Sease Firm. Players from Littleton’s 1960-61 teams and coaches also were part of the festivities.
CHS Athletics staged an earlier ribbon-cutting at the sidewalk entrance to the baseball-softball complex to dedicate the complex. Senior players, coaches, board members and administration participated.
I had shot softball at an earlier game - the Lady Red Devils got first action on their field, before the baseball field dedication - so I focused that night on baseball. During JV action, I realized (with Daylight Saving Time) there’s a magic window for photography on the CHS baseball field with natural light. Under artificial light, the shooting is good, but that late afternoon sun just above the tree line shooting, just wow!
Then, I went back to the baseball field April 11, and there’s what’s known as the April Pink Moon rising through the trees in left centerfield. It really was a great sight. The only thing better would have been to photograph the giant comet that flew over Joanna last Wednesday night, again with a full moon.
Buddy and his crew are doing a good job on the game night atmosphere at baseball-softball, and it really is family friendly. I went to a lacrosse match at a nearby, but not-to-be-named college and the PA was playing a “song” with the phrase, “I got 99 problems but ...” - maybe you’ve heard it. Game Day (or night) music is not for us, I understand that - it’s to pump up the players - but some selections really can be questionable.
Anyway, the food was good, the baseball was good (errors, both teams) and the shooting turned out to be really good. April 11 and March 16, at the Clinton High School baseball diamond, I’m 2-for-2. In the majors, that earns me a $6 million bonus.
Nickie, I’m waiting for the check.
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. His columns appear monthly in the newspaper and in Blogs on MyClintonNews.com. Reach him at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)