2019 was a busy year, and in local sports, Dale High School claimed two championships – one in slow pitch softball in the spring and the other in fall baseball – while Billy Brown resigned as Shawnee High School head football coach.
LADY PIRATES SLOW-PITCH CHAMPIONS
The Lady Pirates secured the Class 4A state slow-pitch softball crown after routing Silo, 18-4, in the championship game. It was the fourth straight slow-pitch title for the Lady Pirates, who finished the season with a sparkling 35-4 record.
A seven-run first inning set the commanding tone for Dale. Skyler Thompson and Emmie Idleman each cranked out a three-run homer in that first frame. A nine-run second inning was highlighted by a grand slam from Addie Bell, followed by back-to-back solo-blasts from Jobey Savage and Rylie Premo.
Delanie Manning later had a two-run blast as Dale piled it on.
DALE CAPTURES 2019 FALL BASEBALL CROWN
The Pirates, ranked third in Class A, edged out top-ranked Silo by a 4-3 count to capture the 2019 fall state baseball championship.
With the score tied at 3, David Herring led off the top of the seventh with a single but was forced out at second on a Carson Hunt grounder. Jono Johnson then doubled to place runners at the corners before Cade McQuain came through with what proved to be the game-winning single.
Hunt got the pitching win in relief of Herring as he allowed no hits and four walks while striking out four over the final four innings.
Tanner Collins' double triggered a two-run first inning for Dale and Collins later had a run-scoring single in the second to make it 3-0 before Silo battled back to tie it.
BROWN STEPS DOWN AS SHAWNEE FOOTBALL COACH
Brown's tenure as Shawnee Wolves' head football coach ended after a 2-8 season in 2019.
He produced a 92-84 record in directing the SHS football program for 16 seasons.
However, the bouncing back-and-forth from Class 5A to 6A led to some highly-successful 5A seasons but some rough times when in 6A-II.
With Brown as head coach, the Wolves reached the playoffs 10 times, including a Class 5A semifinal berth in 2005.
Among his memorable victories were beating state powerhouse Carl Albert twice, knocking off nationally-ranked Rogers, Arkansas, defeating top-ranked Guthrie and defeating another traditional state powerhouse in Tulsa Booker T. Washington to advance to the state semifinals in 2005. His latest came this past season when the Wolves stunned third-ranked and previously unbeaten Muskogee.