~ Whitaker hit .600 and Alan Van
Page 4B-THE KINGS MOUNTAIN HERALD-Wednesday, June 7, 1989
From Page 1-B
Cardinals chain and Clyde McSwain also played some
Other members of the team were Theodore
Thornburg, Oscar White, J.R. Bridges, James White,
Henry Ford, Marvin Foster, Tommie Reynolds, J.D.
Hullender, Luther Morrison, Leslie Mode, and Gene
Leonard. W.J. Fulkerson was the coach.
The 1941 team won 17 of 18 games and featured
Charlie Ballard, probably Kings Mountain's best all-
time pitcher. He struck out 156 batters in 61 innings of
work, an average of 2 1/2 batters an inning. He played
several years of semi-pro and pro ball in the area and
was a standout at Lenoir-Rhyne College.
Other members of that team were John George,
James Gibson, Foley Cobb, Floyd Smith, Loyd Early,
Jimmie Willis, Herbert Mitcham, James Alexander,
Dean Payne, Bobby Early, Eugene Wright, Curtis
Gaffney, Luther Ware, Gene Tignor, George Womack
and Norman Roper. The coach was A.E. Smart.
It was a long, dry spell before the Mountaineers
won another conference title. By that time, 1963, the
school was in the 3-A Southwestern Conference and
member of the WNCHSAA. Fred Withers, who had
come here a few years earlier from Sumter, S.C.,
where he coached New York Yankee great Bobby
Richardson, led the team to the SWC title and its first
post-season playoff experience. The Mounties lost in
the first round to Hickory.
Some of the members of that team were pitchers
Barry Gibson and Warren Goforth, Jim Leigh, Henry
Hilliard, Mickey Bell, Richard Gold, Charles
From Page 1-B
best game of his career. He allowed only four singles,
walked only one batter and struck out seven. He kept
the Statesville batters off stride all night long with his
low-breaking curve ball.
Thanks to his own fine pickoff move, Spires faced
the minimum nine batters over the first three innings.
He gave up a single to John Grant in the second, but
picked him off first.
From Page 1-B
After Owen's only run of the
game cut the margin to 6-1 in the
top of the fourth, KM broke the
game open with four runs in the
bottom of the inning. Catcher Ken
Crook led off with a single and
Deaton followed with an infield
single. Henson walked to load the
bases, and an out later Crook and
Deaton both scored on a wild pitch
to make it 8-1. Greene then
clubbed a long homer over the cen-
terfield fence to make it 10-1.
Kings Mountain added its final
run in the fifth as Crook reached
base on an error and later scored
when Henson reached on an error.
From Page 3-B
"These young men, their coach-
es, and the entire administration
have represented their school, their
families and our city very well this
year and, needless to say, I, as
mayor of the City of Kings
Mountain, am very proud of them.
"It is refreshing to know that our
young people can go out day after
day and play good baseball and
show outstanding character on and
off the playing field.
"It is with a great deal of plea-
sure that I proclaim this week
Kings Mountain High School
Baseball Week, and ask for your
support during the state champi-
Silver Villa of Kings Mountain
won the second "leg" of the
Slowpitch Softball Triple Crown
Series last weekend in Rock Hill,
The Kings Mountain team won
the double elimination event over
32 teams. Silver Villa had earlier
won the first leg of the tournament,
and Kings Mountain will host the
final Triple Crown tourney begin-
ning July 7 at Jake Early Memorial
Silver Villa's Robert Pitchford
was most valuable player in the
Rock Hill tourney. He hit .727. Tim
DG Gm ~ Gn Gor _ or _ o—
Silver Villa will play in the
Sagesport Classic at Jake Early
Memorial Park Saturday and
Gaston College will register stu-
dents June 8 and 9 for the summer
quarter. Registration at both Dallas
and Lincolnton campuses will be
from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on
Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 4:30
p.m. on Friday.
For more information call the
college at 922-6214 in Gaston
County and 735-0487 in Lincoln
County. pe a
D ~ Ge Gr Gr G—_ Q—
DS Gm Gam
Goodson, and others. Gibson would later return to
KMHS and coach two SWC champions.
While Gibson was at Lenoir-Rhyne, where he was
the Bears' ace pitcher and hooked up on occasion
against Goforth, who was pitching for Appalachian,
the KMHS baseball program was in the hands of
Bobby Hussey. Hussey's teams won the SWC in 1967
and '69 and his '69 team won the school's only
The '67 team was similar to the current KMHS team
in that it had a good mixture of senior leadership and
talented underclassmen. They didn't possess the power
of the current Mountaineers, but they played excellent
defense and got on base a lot.
Some of the "veterans" included people like Tony
Leigh, an all-conference outfielder who is now on the
KMHS coaching staff, catcher Paul Gaffney, third
baseman Charles Jones, outfielder Bill Bridges, pitcher
Tommy Goforth and shortstop Nelson Connor, the
team's MVP and leading hitter. The younger players
like Rocky Goforth, Darrell Whetstine, Mike Smith,
Gene Putnam, Wayne Mullinax, Ken Mitchem and Joe
Cornwell had played the summer before on the Teener
League all-star team which won the state champi-
onship and finished third in the Teener World Series in
Hershey, Pa. They would return the next year to lead
Hussey's KMHS team to a division championship in
the SWC, and their senior year to lead the team to the
The '69 team, all the way around, was probably as
good as any team KM has had. Goforth, who is the son
of Eugene Goforth of the '35 team, posted a 13-1
record, his only loss being a 1-0 decision to
Cherryville and its outstanding southpaw pitcher, Alan
Lindsay. Goforth was a small lefthander who had ex-
cellent control and a good knowledge of pitching.
He survived a shaky fourth inning in which the
Greyhounds scored their only run for a 1-0-lead. With
two away, Davis and catcher Mark Stevenson rapped
back-to-back singles and Donnell Chambers singled
up the middle to score the run. Spires issued his only
walk of the night to Grant, loading the bases, but then
fanned Jerry Miller to get out of the inning.
Spires was brilliant the rest of the way, retiring the
Greyhounds in order over the final three innings.
Kings Mountain had a couple other scoring chances
before the seventh, but Davis came up with some good
pitches to get out of trouble. With two away in the
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The leading hitter and possibly one of the school's
all-time best all-around baseball players was shortstop
Mike Smith, who had excellent range and an excellent
arm. He made going behind third or second to field a
ball and throwing the runner out look easy.
Catcher Clarence Ash, who now coaches at Hunter
Huss, was the team's sparkplug, and some of the others
who had earlier played on the championship Teener
team and carried their talents over into a high school
championship were third baseman Wayne Mullinax
and outfielders Joe Cornwell and Geeper Howard.
When Hussey left Kings Mountain to go into col-
lege coaching in the early 1970's Barry Gibson took
over the baseball program and kept it on solid ground
through the decade of the 70's and early 80's. By that
time the school had its own playing facility, thanks to
the generosity of the Lancaster family and their com-
pany, Kings Mountain Mica.
The 1975 team was the first one to win a champi-
onship at Lancaster Field. Even though first baseman
David Lancaster was a power hitter and similar in
many ways to current first baseman Paul Brannon, the
field was not named in his honor. It was named for his
grandfather, Paul Lancaster.
But David Lancaster made his mark on KM base-
ball, and in the hoods and tops of many cars which
people, for some reason or other, continued to park just
beyond the rightfield fence. Lancaster hit 11 homeruns
that year, which was a WNCHSAA record, and his
record held until this year, when Brannon topped it and
Chad Plonk challenged it before going down several
weeks to an injury.
Kings Mountain, which lost to Marion on an error in
the first round of the playoffs, had its most memorable
games that year with Shelby. The two fought head-to-
head all year long for the SWC title. KM didn't lose a
first, Brannon hit a line-drive double to the left-center
field fence and Dale Greene walked, but Davis got
Chad Plonk on a strikeout to end the inning.
In the second, Chip Cash and Chris Plonk collected
back-to-back singles with one away, but Davis got Ken
Crook to pop up to first base and fanned Deaton to end
Greene walked and Chad Plonk singled with two
out in the third, but Davis retired Chris Bullock on a
fly ball to deep rightfield to end the inning.
Davis retired the Mounties in order in the fourth.
Brannon reached on a single with two away in the fifth
but Greene's long fly ball to the leftfield fence was
caught in foul ground, and Davis retired the side in or-
der in the sixth.
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conference game and Shelby's only two losses were
one-run games to the Mountaineers. KM won 8-7 in
Shelby after falling behind 7-1, and 4-3 in Kings
Mountain. In that game, Shelby's starting pitcher
walked the bases full to open the first inning. When
Lancaster came to bat, Shelby Coach Gene Kirkpatrick
called on his ace, lefthander Ron Kloosterman, who
had overpowered every team he had faced that year.
Lancaster hit his first pitch over the rightfield fence for
a homerun and the Mounties, who didn't have another
baserunner all night, held on for a 4-3 win.
Righthanders Richard Gillespie and Chuck Austin
were the pitching aces of that team, and alternated be-
tween pitching and shortstop.
The '80 team was sound in all areas of the game,
and featured one of the school's best all-time pitchers,
southpaw Tim Leach. He was a strikeout artist, fan-
ning 151 batters his senior year and over 300 for his
three-year career. The team had everything it takes to
win a state championship but just ran into another out-
standing team, Greene Central, in the state champi-
onship series at Snow Hill.
Righthander Ricky Proctor was just a step behind
Leach in talent and also won a lot of ballgames. Lyn
Hayes was an outstanding catcher and hitter and the
infield, featuring Eric Dixon at first, Ricky Chapman
at second, Tony Boyce at shortstop and Alan Van Dyke
at third, was as sound defensively as any high school
team you'll see. The team was also strong in the out-
field with Mark Schuman in left, Eric Moore in center
and Jeff Cloninger and Mike Spears in right.
KM'S CHRIS BULLOCK
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