I Remember When . . . .
Great Stories about growing up in the Horntown, Oklahoma area!

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Moss Topples Byng

     I found an old newspaper article dating from May 2, 1959. The headline reads, "Moss Topples Byng to Snare Regional Title." The Oklahoman sports writer Tom Wright incorrectly called us the Moss Bears but correctly fingered the real hero of that game: hurling sensation P. D. Brown. Don Smith belted a 3-run homer to highlight the fourth inning. And this was against Byng sensation Dewey McDonald. The score was tied 9-9 going into the 11th. McDonald issued walks to Rio Evans and Jackie Brown before throwing three straight balls to Lloyd Morrow. James Kaiser, 6-9 right-handed relief specialist was brought in and promptly issued a walk to load the bases.
     Who do you imagine was up next? The article reads, "Rio Evans' theft of home" alluding to the key call made by coach Kenneth Hull. The batter was none other than Phil Keathley. Buried in the article down close to the bottom is this statement, "...and Evans sailed home on an attempted squeeze bunt by Phil Keathley." What did I do? Did I cause a pass ball? Did I keep the catcher from making the tag? I really don't remember. I wish someone would remind me.
     We always had great teams at Moss thanks in large part to the smart and hard work of Coach Hull. He knew how to get the most out his players. While I felt my play was far inferior to the likes of P. D. Brown, Larry Webber, Lonnie McGuire, Jackie Brown, Phil Wood and many more, it was an honor to play with these gentlemen. They always treated me well. They treated me as if I were an equal on the ball field.
     The article also mentions that just a few days before, we had come out in second-place at the OU Tournament. This is where I made the greatest play of my entire life. Playing Oney in the semifinals, we were up a run or two and they had a runner on second base. The batter hit a towering, deep fly ball to center field where I was playing. I turned my back to the infield and ran as hard as I could into straightaway center. As the ball was coming down, I was getting close to it. Looking over my left shoulder, I whirled at the last instant and, quite to my surprise, the ball landed in the pocket of my glove. Phil Wood, the shortstop was running to meet me. The base runner was at home plate. I threw to Phil who threw to second for a double play.
     We played Cassidy in the finals and lost by a very narrow margin. We were the runners-up in that tournament but it was thrilling to be a part of so great a game, so great a school, so great and gutsy a team, and under the tutelage of so great a high school coach. Reliving that great year of 1959 and of 1960 has been a thrill. My fondest of memories harken back to those great days of baseball and the great persons who were on those teams. Most of all, to be associated with so many solid citizens who have gone on to successfully make their way in this world is a wondrous blessing.
Phil Keathley, Class of 1960

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