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

Missing the Dirtrollers

By Mark Carpenter –

It is that time of year and with the warm, spring-like weather this week, my thoughts naturally turn to baseball.  It is exciting to know that spring training is beginning and that the high school seasons are just around the corner, but it is also with a tinge of sadness that I realize what time of year it is.  Why is that?  Well, to be honest, I miss my Dirtrollers.
Now most of you have no clue what I am talking about so let me take you back about 16 years to a little dirt baseball diamond where a group of 4-5 year olds gathered for the first time in what would turn out to be quite an incredible journey.  My son and I had just taken the first steps into Knothole baseball and though he was probably too young at the time, as I recall it, neither of us could wait any longer.  Every newly formed team has to have a clever name and we came up with Dirtrollers because in that first year many of those young fellows seemed much more interested in rolling and playing in the dirt than actually playing attention to the game.  Here’s two nuggets about that team for you: one of the original members has a cousin who is doing pretty well these days as an outfielder for the Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi, and two of the other original members had  pretty good football careers  at Manchester High School, Tylor and Brandon Saunders.
Anyway, my brother and I and one of our good friends handled the coaching duties with my son and nephew on the team and we started out in tee-ball, but early on decided to bag the tee and turn our kids into hitters.  That turned out to be a good decision. One of our Sub-D years we went 22-0 and won the District 26 championship, though you weren’t actually supposed to keep score in Sub-D.  My wife, the official scorekeeper who kept a scorebook like a professional team would, always had the right answer when kids asked the score, ”It’s tied.”
In Brown County and in District, the goal is to win the regular season and earn the coveted trip to the “city” tournament.  When I was nine years old and my Dad coached my Knothole team, we had a team that went 17-1 and earned that trip, only to fall 6-4 in our city tourney debut.  (I still have that game ball at home.)  Life has a way of coming full circle and when my son was nine, our team also earned a trip to the city classic, and we won a couple of games, before dropping out in what I remember as a very heartbreaking loss to a team from somewhere out of Cincinnati.  We actually earned a number of trips to the city tournament, and were pretty successful there, though we never made it to the Final Four.
I could write for hours about some of the personalities that came and went with the Dirtrollers, what a group we had at times, and some of the stories that we could tell.  We were always a pretty close group of players, coaches, and parents, and often went to eat together after our games, which may or may not have been a good idea when the boys start asking during the game where we were going to eat afterwards.  We created rivalries with some other pretty good teams and had some pretty good battles. We like to think that we created a small Knothole dynasty that lasted a few years, but of course, time and age began to send everyone their different ways.  Over our way, a boy could only play two years at each level, which is why I shall be forever grateful to the folks at Manchester who allowed me to join their corps and get my some three more years of summer baseball.
For some reason as I tried to think of a topic for this week, my mind came straight to the memories of the Dirtrollers and how we would be taking advantage of this warm weather to find a field somewhere to start practicing.  A group of boys who grew too quickly to young men gave me memories and experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime.  We have a house full of trophies and medals and all of that material stuff, but it is the stuff in our minds that will make us smile whenever we think of those bygone days of baseball in the stifling heat or the pouring rain, didn’t matter to us.
Our games were always family affairs with parents, siblings, and grandparents all involved and recently I got a message from a grandmother of one of the boys who was a member of our team for many years and she thanked me for all of the time and effort, which meant the world to me.  She also wished for the same thing that I often wish for, especially on days like today.  Just one more game.

One comment:

  1. My first knothole coaching ‘ job ‘ was for a group of boys that my wife taught in her 2nd grade class. I was ‘ volunteered ‘ for the job and though we didn’t win many games all the years I either coached or helped with the team, the memories are still ingrained in my mind. Yes, boys playing in the dirt, chasing bugs and wanting to know where we were getting treats after the game. Glad to have experienced the adventures. Thanks Joyce, boys, parents, grandparents and friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved