Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley North Adams hosts Youth Volleyball Camp Time to get “Stroke Savvy” OVCTC, GE host Community Service Day 65 years in the pulpit Jamison, Richmond, Minshew conquer second race of 2017 Brushcreek season Manchester’s Cox signs with Rio basketball program Senior Profile: Andrew Weeks A dozen SHAC champions Thomas D Lute Sandra F Schwab Turning something broken into something beautiful Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide One dead, two injured in ATV accident 2017 Graduation Ceremonies West Union Alumni and Friends Educational Fund announces 2017 Scholarship Awards TAG students tour Pennsylvania Commissioners proclaim Older Americans Month Building an anti-drug culture one t-shirt at a time SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS NAES students awarded Science Camp scholarships SSCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program celebrates graduation Bauman selected to National 4-H Congress Lois Pertuset Hazel Nixon Philip L Paeltz Manchester Youth Volleyball Camp begins May 30 Jase Thatcher Figgins’ walk-off winner sends North Adams to Division III sectional finals Lady Hounds top East 10-3 in sectional opener Commissioner Pell, union reps travel to DC Forgotten experience brings back good memories for WUHS seniors Gordon Boldman Local teen injured in jeep accident BCI Investigation underway Rick Arnold Happy Mother’s Day- Do you want food? Robert Hodge Melvin Tipton Lady Dragons Basketball Camp begins May 22 Lady Devils Basketball Camp is May 30-June 1 National Day of Prayer celebrated in county NAES students enjoy day at GABP Car strikes Amish buggy near Winchester Eldon J Shoenleben Farming out life lessons to children and parents Proposed Medicaid changes could cost Adams County millions Annual ‘Redneck Run” returns to Manchester May 13 They really were the best of times West Union hosts Junior High, High School County Track Meets Figgins signs with SSCC Soccer Perfect again! Senior Profile: Caley Grooms James T Hughes Anderson signs with Rio Grande Basketball Senior Profile: Miranda Schiltz Playing for Dad, Part II Lady Indians win SHAC Big School title Danny Bryant Sadie Stamm Franklin E Brayfield Softball, baseball tourney match ups announced Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Georgetown next week Southern Ohio Genealogical Society offers program on ‘Family History Sources at the Ohio History Center’ Joseph A Johnson Jr Kramer tosses two shutouts in five days Trip to Akron = two more wins for Lady Indians softball Devils blank Dragons in non-conference battle Meade twins part of Rio baseball program Playing for Dad Senior Profile: Madison Welch As Mr. Seas It, for ACOVSD High School graduates We stayed up all night with Bob Clean up of Manchester’s abandoned gas stations continues Ribbon cutting held for canoe/kayak access sites Columbus Industries donates driveway repair to Animal Shelter North Adams Elementary recognizes March Students of the Month Animal Shelter Adoption Center announces new hours of operation Major road construction planned for summer months West Union Elementary honors March Students of the Month Charles D Jordan Betty Ginn Pamela M Hampton Former county sheriff celebrates 80th birthday

I could almost throw it through a brick wall

I grew up on the family farm in the 1950’s and 60’s. Outside of being a farmer for life I wanted most of all to be a major league baseball pitcher. Not just a pitcher, but a flame thrower like Sandy Koufax! I had grown up listening to the Reds on the radio with Waite Hoyt as the announcer, the former Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher. In those days the games weren’t televised in the frequency that they are today so I had to tune in the radio and listen to the play by play and imagine in my mind how a game would go.

Through the years I listened with a religious faith to the Reds I was fortunate to be listening to some of the greatest to have ever played the game. Some of these players were almost God-like to a youngster like me. The names of Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Maris, and Williams were every day in the lineup, but when it came to pitchers, they were a class all their own. So good were the pitchers that major league baseball lowered the pitching mound to make it more even for the hitter. Names like Koufax, Drysdale, Perry, Gibson and my very favorite from the Reds was Jim Maloney. I followed the box scores and every pitch these men threw for they were what I wanted to be, and maybe even better if I worked at it.

I matured early and by the seventh grade I was at my full growth of 5”8” in height with big arms and broad shoulders from all the work I did on the farm. Realizing that I could throw a baseball pretty hard, I decided to pursue being a pitcher in school, so in junior high I got my brother Ben to become my trainer, since he lived on our other farm very close to us.

Since I did throw hard Dad decided it be wise that my practicing was done on the end of the house which was brick that had a chimney and no windows. I guess Dad figured it would reduce expenses. Ben and I had the desire to make me a pitcher of value. Every open evening and on Sundays, Ben and I took our places in front of the wall and tossed. Now my brother was never a pitcher that could throw hard but he learned how to throw pitches that hitters had trouble hitting. He taught me the curveball, the screwball, the slider, a change-up, and even a knuckle ball. I had the fast ball but Ben showed me how to make it even faster. One evening as we were practicing and my Dad was calling the balls and strikes I threw a couple of pitches at a velocity I had not before reached. The result was that the pitches got past Ben and hit the brick wall and left cracks in the bricks and mortar. My thought was quickly Dad is going to be mad over this. Ben’s impression was “my little brother can crack a brick wall with a fastball!” Which to you sounds more impressive?

To this day I don’t know how the word got spread, but it did and I was ready to enter into the eighth grade at Felicity. One night the superintendent came to our house and he wanted to see as he put it, “the mortar breaker pitch.” Talk about nervous. Before we began to throw Ben came to me and said now just throw like it was any other time and try your hardest to forget who was watching.

We warmed up and then I went into my hard throwing. I threw a few fastballs that I admit were maybe the hardest I ever threw. Then I threw a couple of wicked curves. Then Ben called for a screwball and I laid a couple in that were great. Finally Ben walked out to me and said, “Lets show him how its done” and he called for a knuckleball. I began to balk at this but with his confident smile I knew all was in order and threw three awesome knuckleballs. . When we finished the exhibition, the superintendent said he was impressed and guaranteed me a starting positionat pitcher I could have floated into space.

In a few weeks I went to practice with a team of boys I had never seen or met. We held a scrimmage game and I pitched pretty well. I allowed I think a couple runs and struck out eight or nine batters. Life was good but the next game was against Hamersville and there was one obstacle I hadn’t overcome- a pitcher’s mound. I took the mound and that day I pitched a no-hitter. I either walked or hit every batter I faced and after Hamersville had a 6 to 0 lead I was removed to right field where I remained the rest of my playing days.

I couldn’t conquer the angle of the mound and all I could throw was wild pitches. My dream was put to rest that day and I really didn’t mind. I didn’t care for all the attention and inside of me I knew I was one of the hardest throwers around. But the last thing I remember and recall to this day was when our catcher called time and came to the mound. Bill said, “I just want to let you know that those guys are really getting ticked off by being hit so much. You might want to stop.” I wish I could have.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and likes to tell stories about his youth and other topics. He can be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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Rick Houser

The Good Old Days

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