Powell's power amazing
Dec. 28, 2001
Frantically fumbling through the files on a Friday
I have many memories of Jay Powell.
It was easy to tell that he had a chance to be something special at a young age. He had a body that you knew he would grow into and his physical strength was never in question.
Once he got into the final stages of his high school career it became obvious that pitching was going to be his big chance to cash in on some nice change which he did a couple of weeks ago when he signed a three-year $9 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
But some of the memories of Powell that are etched deepest into my quickly fading mind have to do with his prowess at the plate, not the pop in his right arm.
West Lauderdale has had many good baseball teams, but the ones that Powell, Dennis Hobson, Hank Perkins and all of those other names out of the past played on could have been among the best.
With Powell and Hobson, West Lauderdale had two pitchers who would go on to play pro baseball. Hobson's career was cut short due to arm problems, but he was a dominator in his prime. He put up some numbers at Meridian Community College that may never be broken.
One of the things many forget about Powell and Hobson was that they could both hit.
While I must admit that years do have an adverse affect on memories and especially when great tales of athletic exploits are being woven, I can remember one blast off of Powell's bat that will be hard for me to ever forget.
I cannot recall the team the Knights were playing, and quite frankly it doesn't matter.
Both Hobson and Powell were known to pound balls deep over the outfield fence at West Lauderdale's home field, but on this day Powell crushed one over the fence and into the center of the football field.
There is no telling how far that baseball flew. Had my mouth not been so wide open and my brain bouncing around from the sight I had just observed, I may have had the sense to go out and measure it.
But, I didn't.
I am sure longer home runs have been hit, but that high-arcing shot will always have a place on my list of mammoth blasts.
And oh yeah, the guy was a pretty good pitcher too.
Getting his place in history, sort of
Speaking of baseball, let's talk about a big moment in the life of one of this area's most famous names.
That name is Dupree. But the first name is Marquez, not Marcus.
While Dupree is over at the University of Alabama getting ready to make his name on the college football world, my stepson Ryan had a chance to earn a spot in the star running back's personal highlight film.
But this event occurred on the baseball diamond, not the football field.
When Marquez and Ryan were both 10 and playing Dixie Youth baseball, they made the All-Stars and had a chance to play against each other in a practice game at the youth baseball field at Northeast Lauderdale.
On this day Ryan was the starting pitcher and Marquez was the lead-off hitter.
After Marquez hit two foul balls, that were both dropped, he dug in and launched a homer over the left field fence.
Not only was it the first over-the-fence homer of Marquez' career, it was the first one Ryan had ever seen in person. I was helping coach the all-star team and after Ryan walked off the field between innings, I went up to console him.
Marquez was also pretty excited and when I interviewed him last year, he still remembered the homer.
Nobody wants the job anyway
I guess the folks at Notre Dame don't get it.
Nobody wants the job.
Oh, I know a lot of big names are being tossed about and the Irish may actually land a name coach, but it will be one who is secure in his future if they do.
Leading the Irish has become a near impossible situation.
Before it is all over, it wouldn't surprise me if Notre Dame hires some coach most folks have never heard of.
The folks in South Bend have created a monster that they may never be able to feed.
Austin Bishop is regional sports director of the East Mississippi Group and oversees the direction of four sports departments, including The Meridian Star. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach by phone weekday mornings at 693-1551, ext. 3234.