A Virtual World Series of Pascagoula Champions

Quote of the Day:     What if this weren’t a hypothetical question?”     –Unknown (the Great)

Who wins a best of seven series between the 1983 Pascagoula Panthers Mississippi State Baseball Champs and the 1996 Panther Baseball Champs?

I have to go with 1983, and here’s why. Blair Varnes, the greatest of all Panther hurlers in my estimation, will prevail in low scoring games one and four against Mike Thomas, and John Jordan will split Games 2 and 5 against Jeffrey Ellis. But Games 3 and 6 are blowouts for ’83 as Mike Moreland, Paul Tanner and Thomas leave the yard and Keith Coleman goes on a triples binge to light up Enrico Jones and others, while Mike Seaman paints the corners and makes jam sandwiches out of ’96 bats. Chris Fishburn out shines Pork Chop Holifield at short in a series within a series, but Holifield is constantly on base and in the heads of the youngsters.

In Game 7, a tired Varnes and Thomas take the hill, but neither has the gas to get through the 4th. A few doubles, some bloop singles and a few walks do them both in and its up to the bullpens to settle a late 5-5 tie. The ’83 veterans are deeper in crafty lefties though, and no offense to the titans of 90’s Mississippi baseball, but the old guys are tougher. Robbie Weihing is thrown out sliding at the plate trying to score from first on a double by Fishburn, then Fishburn misses third base on a Jones single in the top of the 9th. In the bottom of the inning, Bubba Holifield is called out for catcher’s interference, making Moreland’s steal of home and near death on the same pitch all for naught and leaving the game tied. Finally in the 12th, Jimmy Dufault tags from third on a short fly and eschews the hook slide in favor of barreling over the much larger ’96 (clutch hitting, I can’t recall his name right now) catcher. The ’83 cats pile on a bloody-faced Dufault in celebration while the kids head for the dugout and stare blankly at the pandemonium on the field. No handshakes are exchanged, but everybody heads to the Point after the game to get drunk and make fun of the Holifields and their kin for keeping alive a tradition of excellence and tragedy made famous by Rob.


If I got a few of the wrong players on the teams, chalk it up to old age. They are close enough to participate in this time travellin game. There were some names I left out. Feel free to add them into my story or incorporate them in your own.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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125 Responses to A Virtual World Series of Pascagoula Champions

  1. Zeek says:

    Nice one TB, I enjoyed picturing that in my head, but I just don’t think the 96 boys woulda even gotten to a game 7 against that 83 crew. Sorry guys, but they were ballin’ back then!!

  2. Mike Moreland already let me know I promoted Ellis and Dufault a little (by about a year). But they were key contributors, so its not entirely fiction and as they are both blog visitors and key to making my story funny for those of you that picked up the references to the HOF thread, I’m leaving them in.

    A guy named McElroy should’ve been in 83’s rotation.

  3. Smilyj17 says:

    I think the 89 team deserves some mention in some context. Maybe you could come up with a story for that. May require some more creativity. I dont think the 89 team deserves mention in te same sense but maybe for the teams choke factor ability.
    Maybe incorporating some action in the story where Hooch takes a line drive off the ankle (happened dozens of times in real games) to Mike Alvarado at third thus causing a famous “Alvarado 50ft high rocket over the first baseman’s head” to score the defeating run. Or possibly have Puddinhead Holifield just run straight to third from first base, totally disregarding second altogether. Would’ve had the same outcome as the real life version anyway. Maybe Higg comes to bat with the game on the line in the last inning and turns his helmet around backwards and bats right handed so when he swings at a strike three pitch 6 ft over his head, he looks even more clueless than he actually did in a real game. No team out performs the 89 team in thes respects.

  4. Smilyj17 says:

    I forgot to add in the version above that Smilyj17 is on the bench sipping his ceremonial Jack Daniels and coke drink that was provided for him by his ass-kicking bat girl Sharon Peterson. This was a weekly part of my gift basket before games. I guess she figured I would need something to get through these spectacles of athletic prowess. In real life I drank them pre-game, but for the story, I just have it right in the dugout.
    True story; Before the famous “skipday-suspended starters game” I drank the pregame concoction only to find out that I’d have to ac tually play due to the suspensions. In this game against Biloxi and Marsland I went 2 for 4…. Jack Daniels and Coke-The first performance-enhancer I ever took.

  5. Du says:

    Tb, the hook slide brought back memories. It was almost the exact ending against Long Beach in the bottom of the 8th. And the after games at the Point with our gallon jug of draft from Thunders, ahhh the ol days.

    83 against 96……wow, that would have been some series. 83 definitely had the better hitting team. Might have to give a slight edge to 96 with the pitching. I would have paid good money to see this series.

  6. Hey, who voted for the all time Tigers???

    That you Bosarge?

  7. Puddin Head says:

    TB appreciate the props only if they could have been in a better situation, but you have to admit the point was a place for a lot of BDW stories took place also. Those were the Pas Point Pirate days at the point also at Sugars. By the way I will have to agree with SSS on the 89 team.

  8. I still think your heel brushed the edge of third.

    Of course, I can’t see worth a damn.

    • Mr. Clean! 84 says:

      Nope, I was there. He missed third by a state! we commented on it before the call..

  9. the blog can barely handle the overwhelming interest this poll generated. I guess all those folks that came over for a little sports talk weren’t too interested in the rest of the site.

    C’est la vie. I’ll keep pluggin away and appreciatin all my loyal readers. Thanks Mom and Dad.

    Anyway, the Proud Larry’s story it is. I’ll try to get it done next week some time. Heading to Atlanta for Friday the 13th weekend festivities.

  10. cue says:

    The 83 team was great but they would get beat 4-2 in a series with the 96 team. Always remember good pitching and good defense will beat a good offense anytime of the year. Varnes would not let his team lose in this match-up. Trust me!

  11. MDM says:

    Although it is obvious these two teams would never actually meet on the field, it is an interesting topic that could be up for debate. As it is, only facts and stats can be presented to the interested observer to draw his own conclusion to which team could possibly be more at an advantage. Both are well deserving of greatness in the history of PHS baseball. Keep in mind, a one game showdown would put ’96 All-State pitcher Blair Varnes(15-0, 130 K’s) against the ’83 hitting line-up which produced a .368 AVG, 39 HR, 290 RBI in 33 games. The ’96 line-up would face ’83 All-State and “Ms. High School Player of the Year” Mike Thomas(10-1, 1.88 ERA, hit .388-10-35) which had a .306 AVG, 13 HR, 200 RBI in 36 games. Both power pitchers would have the ability to dominate and both teams had the defense to back them up. With that in mind, let the comparisons begin, and let the baseball enthusiasts make thier own conclusion to which team could be better.

    1983 1996
    Record 26-7 31-5
    Shutouts 3 6
    Win Streak 8 9
    Home Runs 39 13
    Batting Avg. .368 .306
    Pitching ERA. 2.72 2.40
    10t Runs/game 17(52%) 12(33%)
    Pitching Strikeouts 188 267
    Runs per game 10.0 7.5
    “Player of the Year” 1 0
    All-State Players 3 1
    Top 10 Teams Faced 6 5
    All-State Players Faced 6 3
    Coast Area All-State Faced 5 1
    Drafted Pitchers Faced 3(Beat All) 0
    Scholarships(All) 11 9
    College Conference Players 3 1
    “Strong Up the Middle”
    (C-SS-2B-CF) (.362-17-112) (.329-7-76)

    My personal opinion and observation is that the 1983 team faced “Varnes-like” pitching several times throughout the season and came away with a victory:
    BILOXI-Beat All-State pitcher and OLe Miss Signee Rodney Mattina 2 times.
    MOSS POINT-Beat Jackson State signee Earl Sanders 16-1, who would later become an All-American and #1 draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays
    HATTIESBURG-Beat William Carey signee Larry Knight 2 times, who later was drafted by the Detroit Tigers(All-State OF Earnest Walker was an invitee to represent the U.S. in the Pan American games)
    STARKVILLE-Beat Miss. State signee Terry Ellis and Meredith Sanford 11-3, who would be 1984’s “Ms. Player of the Year”, 3rd Rd. pick of the Yankees and pitch in the BIGS with the Reds and Twins.

    The 1983 team had 3 players named to the All-State Team by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper…P/3B Mike Thomas, SS Danny Holifield, and RF Paul Tanner. Only 2 other schools can claim that honor:Callaway(1981) and Oak Grove(1993)

    I realize with all this info, one may say I have a lot of time on my hands, but when the question presents itself, I feel it needs to be answered to the fullest.
    Congratulations to all PHS State title teams, 1967,1968,1983, 1996….and to 1984, who didn;t get the chance to defend their title because of a court case, but ended the season ranked #1

    My personal conclusion……1983 defeats 1996
    2 great pitchers with a quality bullpen…
    2 great defenses……..but,
    Too much 1983 hitting throughout the line-up

  12. MDM says:

    Interesting footnotes from my previous input is the 1983 team still holds 14 school records that was achieved playing only 33 games. 12 other teams in PHS baseball history has played more games than this and still didn’t come close to putting up the numbers this team did.

    My personal opinion is that the ’96 hitting line-up would struggle more against ’83 power pitcher Mike Thomas than would the ’83 hitting line-up against ’96 workhorse Blair Varnes.

    Varnes would face at least 3 times through a power-hitting line-up that consisted of 7 hitter’s that hit .325 or better, 1 .400-plus hitter, and 1 .500 hitter(Paul Tanner)

  13. MDM says:

    Failed to also mention these interesting facts……..’83 pitcher Mike Thomas would face only 3 hitter’s in the ’96 line-up that hit .300 or better(Enrico Jones .367, Chris Fishburn .360. and Blair Varnes .355). Five others in the starting line-up hit less than .300

    Two interesting notes to consider………
    LOSSES that stick out for both teams that keep them somewhat even……..

    1983 team- 5 of the 7 losses came at the hands of 3rd ranked Hattiesburg Tigers(3x), 9th ranked Ocean Springs and 10th ranked Gulfport.

    1996 team-3 of the 5 losses were by #1 ranked New Hope, 3rd ranked George County, and 5th ranked Tupelo

    Again, my personal vote goes to the 1983 team which I believe would hit the ball better off Varnes than would the 1996 team hit against Mike Thomas.

    It would definitely be a great game!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    MGM you addressed my biggest question–how did 83 lose 7???

    Were they slugfests or pitching duels?

    What out of state challenges did each team face, if any of substance?

  15. That anonymous is TB. I’m on the road on a foreign computer. Not used to having to sign in.

  16. MDM says:

    Good question on the out of state competition…….

    1983 team-Beat Choctawhatchee, Fl., ranked 7th in the state of Florida, 19-3 and hit a school record 7 homeruns that still stands.

    1996 team-Beat Millington, TN. 15-3, Washington, FL. 6-1, and Woodham, FL. 4-3, all
    in a Pensacola Spring Break Tourney

  17. quail09 says:

    TB…..join he club

  18. MDM says:

    Typical 1983 line-up ’96 pitcher B. Varnes would face:

    LF-Keith Coleman (.398-3-36)
    SS-Danny Holifield (.320-2-27)*
    CF-Mike Moreland (.391-9-40)
    RF-Paul Tanner (.500-5-48)*
    P-Mike Thomas (.388-10-35)*
    C-Steve Boyd (.406-4-28)
    1B-Rob Powers (.326-2-15)
    3B-Ed Stegall (.325-0-15)
    2B-Troy Summerlin (.328-2-18)

    *=All-State Team
    This line-up alone hit .382(294 of 770) with 37 of the teams 39 homeruns, with 479 total bases and a .622 Slugging Pct. This line-up averaged only 3 strikeouts a game. Remember, 17 times of the 33 games(52%), this 1983 team scored 10 or more runs. All due respect, Varnes would have his hands full from 1-9 in the order.

    Typical 1996 line-up that ’83 pitcher Mike Thomas would face:

    SS-Chris Fishburn (.360-0-18)
    CF-Enrico Jones (.367-3-15)
    1B-David Spencer (.294-1-28)
    P-Blair Varnes (.355-4-33)*
    C-Jared Becker (.291-4-27)
    LF-Jonathan Broadus (.279-1-21)
    3B-Scott Smith (.258-0-15)
    2B-Justin Black (.292-0-16)
    RF-Chris Tingle (.320-0-6)

    *=All-State team
    This line-up hit .318(268 of 843) with 17 Homeruns, 374 Total Bases, with a .444 Slugging Pct.

    The strength of line-up definitely is in favor of the 1983 team. All-State and “Miss. High School Player of the Year” Mike Thomas would have an easier time with the ’96 line-up than All-State pitcher Blair Varnes would with the ’83 team top to bottom.

    An interesting side note to all of this is that both teams had an “off night” loss:
    1983-Lost to 10th ranked Gulfport 14-1 midway through the season, in the now defunct Coastal Zone Tournament, with the winner heading to Jackson to play for the old “Big 8” title. Gulfport pitched their “ACE”, while PHS pitched their 4th man on staff to save M. Thomas and/or M. Seamen for an important District game 2 days later. Gulfport went on and won the “Big 8” title, but never could regain top spot in District play.

    1996-Lost to 5th ranked Tupelo and 9th grade pitcher Justin Bounds, who held PHS to 5 hits, in a 5-0 shutout in the 2nd game of the championship series.

    As I have noted earlier in my posts, when a question such as ’83 vs.’96 team is asked, it is important to answer it to it’s fullest by backing up the answer with information that will help one to decide on there own. Unfortunately, there are times when one will give their answer but have no information to back up their reason. I realize this is a lot of info, and may mean nothing to alot of people, but for the “diehard” baseball fans, I hope I’ve left you with something to think about………

  19. Du says:

    MDM, makes a good case….. that ’83 lineup was sensational to watch. I would have to give the edge as well to the ‘ 83 team. It would be one heck of a game …..Thomas and Varnes….. not sure I could put money against either one of those guys. In a one game playoff the ’96 team has a good chance. But any other series, the ’83 team is awfully deep…..the depth is really evident by looking at the bench, they lost 7 senior starters, and the next year were # 1 in the state.

  20. Zeek says:

    MDM, where the hell are you getting those stats?? Nice research dude, and you just proved my point that 83 was just too strong.

  21. MDM says:

    For those interested fans of PHS baseball, here is a list of PHS baseball teams who ended the season in the Top 10 polls conducted by the Jackson Clarion Ledger newspaper:


    1967* 17-3 #1
    1968* 20-3 #1
    1983 26-7 #1
    1984 23-5 #1
    1985 23-4 #4
    1986 25-9 #5
    1989 27-12 #4
    1996 31-5 #2
    1997 28-8 #4
    2000 32-5 #6

    *=Jackson-Clarion Ledger newspaper did not list Top 10 polls in 1967 and 1968, but with PHS winning the overall state titles as a “Big 8” Conference team, one would assume they would be ranked as the #1 team in the state.

    Here is a few PHS baseball trivia questions for the interested baseball fan:


    Since 1950, the PHS baseball program has experienced only eight(8) losing seasons?

    PHS baseball teams have defeated two(2) nationally ranked teams? #12 Hattiesburg in 1986 and #14 Clinton in 1989

    PHS baseball is the only school in the state to have back-to-back “COACH OF THE YEAR” honors chosen by the Jackson Clarion Ledger paper? Donnie Davis(1983) & Johnny Olsen(1984)

    Johnny Olsen is the only Panther to participate and win two(2) “BIG 8” titles? As a player(1977) and as a coach(1985)

    Four(4) pitchers in the history of PHS baseball have thrown two(2) no-hitters in the same season? Robert Earl Siedell(1959), Justin Russell(1993), John Jordan(1995), & Blair Varnes(1996)


    District Titles 23
    “Big 8” Titles 2
    South State Titles 5
    State Championships 4
    State Final 4 12
    Miss. H.S. All-Stars 26
    1st Team All-State Players 10
    All-Americans 4
    Ms. Press Top 10 Athletes 24
    State “Player of the Year” 1
    State “Coach of the Year” 2


    1. 32-5 2000
    2. 31-5 1996*
    3. 29-11 1999
    4. 28-8 1997
    5. 27-12 1989
    6. 26-7 1983*
    7. 25-9 1986
    8. 25-9 1995
    9. 23-6 1977
    10. 23-5 1984
    11. 23-4 1985
    12. 23-5 1994
    13. 23-13 2001
    14. 22-10 2002
    15. 22-11 2003
    16. 21-6 1976
    17. 21-13 1988
    18. 21-12 1992
    19. 21-14 2007
    20. 20-3 1968*

    *=State Champions
    (1967 State title team went 17-3)

  22. Blair Varnes says:

    I loved reading about the history of PHS baseball. Great website and topics

  23. Awww, Blair, you’re just saying that cause I called you the “greatest.”

    But thanks anyway, and hang around. There’s some good back and forth on here a lot of times.

  24. Fish says:

    Shoot me an email when you get a chance.


  25. MDM says:

    I believe what solidifies the 1983 team being the more “dominant” over the 1996 team and w/o question the best PHS baseball team in school-history is several factors….1)It was tougher to win your District and get into the playoffs in ’83 than in ’96 as 10 teams were represented compared to 4 in 96…..2) The 1983 team played 13 of their 33 games (39%) against six(6) Top 10 Teams and was 8-5 overall in those games compared to the 1996 team which played 6 of their 36 games(17%) against Top 10 teams and had a 3-3 won/lost record…….and 3) The 1983 team actually had a higher overall team batting average (.368) than 1996’s highest hitter Enrico Jones (.367)…….Both teams were outstanding, no doubt about it, but these facts, along with the many others that have been mentioned in earlier posts support this claim……The poll results from the voting seem to agree as well….interesting……

  26. MDM says:

    The “strength of schedule” definitely favors the ’83 team as they faced six(6) Top 10 teams throughout the season going 8-5 against those teams….The ’96 team faced three(3) Top 10 teams and were 3-3 against those teams…..Also of interest, the ’83 teams ability to produce runs is very evident based on the two teams “RBI/Run Production Per/At-Bat…..The 1983 team had a combined 621 Run/RBI in 910 At-Bats for a 68% proficiency ratio, which is by far and away a school-record…..The 1996 team had a combined 472 Run/RBI in 985 At-Bats for a 47% ratio.This puts the ’96 team ranked 10th in school-history in this category……When it came to putting runs across the plate, the 1983 team dominates…..Of interest, the 2nd best Run/RBI producing team is the 1984 team…….442 combined Run/RBI in 745 At-Bats for a 59% proficiency ratio…..This was a South State champion team that was “State Bound” but didn’t get a chance to defend their title due to a court order that cancelled the state championship…..Ended the season ranked #1 though by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

  27. MDM says:

    Of note….If the 1984 State Title series would have been played, instead of cancelled by a court order, the ’84 South State champion team could easily claim that they played the “toughest schedule” in PHS baseball history….The 1984 team played four(4) teams throughout the season that ended ranked in the Top 10 by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger paper:
    #5 Harrison Central(2-0), #6 Gulfport(0-2), #8 Hattiesburg(2-0), and #10 Stone County(1-0)…If the state playoffs would have been played, the ’84 Panthers would have also met in the double-elimination tourney with H’Burg, #2 Tupelo and #3 Starkville, who were the Panther’s first game opponent……..That is six(6) Top 10 teams they would have faced overall on the season…….To top it off, the ’84 Panthers were also scheduled to play Tate HS, Florida earlier in the season at Stanky Field in the South Alabama Tournament, but was cancelled due to a rain-out.This team had future 15-yr. major league shortstop Jay Bell, along with 3 others who eventually got drafted…Tate, Fl. High School ended up 38-1 on the year and ranked #1 NATIONALLY by Collegiate Baseball Magazine…….That would have been the only time in any sport that a PHS team faced a #1 nationally ranked team…..Just a little PHS baseball trivia for you diehard baseball fans……

  28. Zeek says:

    MDM — Once again, your info and stats are top notch and very insightful. I can only speak for myself, but I think we should just go ahead and claim back-to-back tiles for ourselves in 83/84. I feel very confident we woulda won that state tourney. Still unbelievable how bad we got screwed on that deal. I can’t believe that Parents, coaches, faculty, school board members, citizens,etc., didn’t raise a ton of hell to try and get justice, but I guess it was just a different time back then,who knows? In my humble opinion the 83-85 Panther baseball teams were the best ever and arguably the best the whole state ever saw.

  29. MDM says:

    Of interest…..Other PHS teams that would rank as playing the “toughest schedule ” are(won/lost record in parenthesis): 1985 PHS Team-Played #1 State 5A champion Gulfport(2-2), #2 6A Louisiana State Runner-Up Brother Martin,La. (0-1), and #7 Big 8 Runner-Up Greenville(1-0)……1988 PHS Team-Played #1 State 5A champion Biloxi(2-4), #2 and Nationally ranked Starkville(0-1) and Alabama 4A State champion Thomasville, Al.(0-1)……1996 Team-Played #1 and Nationally ranked 4A champion New Hope(0-1), #3 and 4A Runner-Up George County(1-1), and #5 5A Runner-Up Tupelo(2-1)……1997 Team-Played #1 State 4A champion George County(2-1), #2 5A State champion Hattiesburg(2-2), and Alabama 4A State champion Grand bay, Al.(0-1)……All of these teams are worthy of mentioning as playing some of the “toughest schedules” in PHS baseball history too……Quite an impressive list…….

  30. MDM says:

    More interesting notes of PHS Baseball…Here is a list of “PHS Baseball vs. NATIONALLY Ranked Teams”(along with their National season ending rank)…..PHS 1984 vs. Tate, Fl.(Rain-Out..#1-Collegiate Baseball Magazine), PHS 1986 vs. Hattiesburg(#12 Collegiate Baseaball Mag), PHS 1988 vs. Starkville(#9 Collegiate Baseball Mag), PHS 1989 vs. Clinton(#14 USA Today), PHS 1996 vs New Hope(#12 Collegiate Baseball Mag), PHS 1998 vs. Hattiesburg(#22 USA Today)……..Not sure about PHS 2002…Picayune was ranked 5th Nationally by USA Today, but still doing research to find out if the Panthers played Picayune that year…….

  31. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    TC (Moreland for those that don’t know)

    Where you get all this info? You reminding me of Stephen Hawkins. This is fascinating.

    Other than Varnes and Jordan who did 96 team have as pitchers.

    TB, thanks for putting me in there but in 83 I made a few starts but not many. Most notably and shocking for me was that Coach Davis handed me the ball in the south state championship in McComb against Hattiesburg.

    In the state championship game v. Hattiesburg, Mike Thomas (who was my good friend), myself and a senior pitcher (who I will not name here) were throwing in the bullpen in the 7th. PHS was nursing a 2 run lead but Hattiesburg had the heart of its order due up in the bottom half. The 3 of us were discussing who was gonna get the call in the bottom of the 7th if McElroy got in trouble and/or tired.

    I opined it would be Thomas. Thomas said I was going in which scared my young sophmore ass. The other senior pitcher said, “I think all 3 of us will pitch b/c Coach Davis wants to get all of us in the game since this is our last game. Thomas told him he was f****** idiot and to shut the f*** up.

    McElroy got the lead-off hitter. Coach Davis signals for time-out from the dugout. An interesting tidbit, Coach Davis was a very superstitious coach. MHSAA rules required that on-field coaches wear a full baseball uniform during the state championship which Coach Davis refused to do. His typical uniform was shorts and a long-sleeve PHS pullover. So for the state championship JO moved from coaching 1st to coaching 3rd and the one and only Luther Kuykendall (AD and head football coach) coached first and Coach D sat in dugout. But I digress.

    Coach Davis walks out of the 1st base dugout halfway down the right field line. I tell Thomas to shut em down. I nearly messed in my jock strap when he yells out “Ellis.” All Thomas said to me was, “told you.”

    Not only was I pitching in a game I never dreamed I would be pitching in but I was called in to face Hattiesburg’s most-feared hitter — Rockin Rodney — as we called him. He had hit 4 or 5 HRs on hill in right field at MC that tournament. Plus, I saw hit him one off Seaman in McComb the previous weekend that one-hopped the wall of a movie theater that was about 500 feet from home plate.

    On my way to mound, Coach Davis told me not to give anything good. With the count 2-2, I struck him out on a curve over the outer 1/3, or at least I thought I did — ump didn’t agree. On 3-2, pretty certain I K’d him again on a check-swing on a letter-high fastball over the inside part of the plate. Again, the umpire didn’t agree. I thought my day was done as a righty was due up next but I was left out there to further mess in my pants.

    Fortunately, I coaxed force outs and Thomas came in, got the force out at 2nd base and we were champs. Those 10 minutes took about 10 years off my young life.

    I don’t know who would have won a 7 game series b/t the 83 and 96 teams but would have been fun to see.

    I will say this in all my years (college included) I never played with a better “up-the-middle” defense. Steve Boyd behind the plate – think Richie Tillman on steriods and speed with a cannon for an arm. Bubba Holifield and Troy Summerlin at SS and 2B — don’t know if they keep stats at PHS for double plays and hits taken away but those two would have to be at the top. Moreland — CF — never seen an outfielder who played so shallow be able to run down deep drives like TC.

    I don’t know who would win the game but real certain of one thing — I could strike Fish out!

  32. Jeffrey Ellis says:


    On that 1984 team where court stopped the state tournament. Some 5 or 6 years later, my mom sent me the final court order — I probably still have it somewhere. Hattiesburg’s challenge was denied and PHS was declared South State Champs (which we won on the field anyhow) but it would have been nice to match with Meredith Sanford from Starkville in the state championship. We played summer ball against each other later that year and used to rag each other about who would have won that matchup.

  33. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    The 1984 team and the 1985 team don’t get the pub that other PHS teams got. I admit, I am slightly biased.

    I don’t even know that the 84 was ranked preseason — TC you know? Lost 7 senior starters and 2 of top 4 pitchers, went 23-5, swept through the South State and then Hattiesburg with their little court order derailed the entire state championship.

    The 1985 team — 23-5 –we won 20 or 21 games in row but didn’t get out of our district. There were a plethora of factors wich contributed to that including that the #3 starter got the call against Moss Point when Larson and Ellis were well rested and that Ellis couldn’t get a final out against Gulfport 4 days later. Had we gotten out of our district that year, no doubt we win state championship.

    Little known fact –no baseball team that won the Big 8 Championship (Coastal Zone Champ. as Moreland puts it) ever won the overall state championship. PHS 1985 team won the Big 8 and didn’t even get out of district play. 1983 team and 1984 PHS team didn’t win the Big 8 Championship.

    83 team was probably best team I played on but had the court not stopped the state championship in 84, that team may have been in same conversation as the 83 and 96 teams. The 85 team was pretty damn good as well. Probably the best 3 year run in PHS history.

  34. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    1983 State Championship Tournament

    Roomates — Steve Moye (C), Keith Coleman (LF), Bubba Holifield (SS), Jeffrey Ellis (P).

    Curfew — 10:00 p.m. Location — Holiday Inn on Hwy 80. Moye pushed out bathroom window to go buy beer at 10:05. Moye returns at 10:15 w/ 2 cases of beer. Coach Davis beating on door at 10:16. Beer hid in receding ceiling tiles and everybody jumps in bed. Holifield answers door and Coach D storms in. He is pissed and tosses our room but can’t find anything. Wait 20 minutes and then Thomas, Seaman, Stegall, etc. join for beer drinking.

  35. MDM says:

    Your right Jeffrey….the 1984 and 1985 PHS teams do sometimes get lost in the shuffle compared to what the 1983 team did…..The ’84 South State champion and “State bound” Panthers were every bit State Title material, but because of the now infamous court case, was never able to showcase it on the field…..The ’84 Panthers were scheduled to meet the #3 ranked Starkville Yellowjackets in the opening round of the double elimnation tournament at Mississippi College against 6’5″ 205lb. All-American pitcher Meridith Sanford, who would end up All-State and “Mississippi HS Player of the Year” and a 3rd round draft pick by the New York Yankees……Sanford eventually signed with Alabama and pitched about 8 yrs. in the major leagues with the Reds and Twins……The ’84 PHS team could hit for average and power as evident by a .332 team avg., 2nd best behind 1983’s school-record .368 avg, and also hit 28 homeruns, 3rd most in school-history. The pitching staff was excellent as well as it had a 1.70 ERA, 2nd best in school-history with 150t innings pitched behind 1968’s record of 1.10 ERA. This “State Bound” team was three(3) wins away from a state title and didn’t get a chance to accomplish it’s goal due to the courts…..but the Clarion-Ledger newspaper had enough confidence in us to vote us #1 at season’s end due to the total domination this team put on McComb(16-1), Wingfield(8-3), and Hattiesburg(17-1) in the South State tournament………..The 1985 PHS year was a heartbreak season in that after losing the 2nd game of the season to #2 ranked and State Runner-Up Brother Martin, La. 14-10, the Panthers reeled off a still standing school-record 20 straight wins and was ranked #1 all year long……unfortunately District rival Gulfport beat the Panthers in a sudden-death playoff game at Ocean Springs 3-2 in 9 innings in front of a standing room only crowd…..Gulfport went on and swept through winning the 5A State title defeating nationally ranked (18th by Collegiate Baseball Magazine) Southaven for the championship and finished #1 in the state…..PHS ended 23-4 that year, winning the “Big 8” title over 7th ranked Greenville during the season….of the 4 losses, 3 were by one run….An interesting note is that the ’85 Panthers ended up ranked 4th in the state by the Clarion-Ledger and we didn’t even get out of our district!! That’s how tough and how much respect the Clarion-Ledger had for our district at that time!……………Another PHS team that played a very “tough schedule” that I failed to mention in an earlier post was the 1989 team…They played Nationally ranked Clinton(2-1 against them), #2 5A State champion Southaven(1-2), and #8 Columbia(1-0)……….By the way, I’m proud to say that I may be the only person who has a video tape of 2 of the 4 state championship games in PHS history…..Of the four(4) state titles, I have the 1983 and 1996 on video……wonderful memories of the PHS baseball program…….

  36. MDM says:

    I believe the “Overall Best 4-year Consecutive PHS Seasons” would have to be the 1983-1986 seasons with the 1994-1997 seasons a close second…..and here’s why…..1983-26-7 record, District and State title and #1 State ranking…1984-23-5 District, South State Title, State Bound and #1 State ranking…..1985-23-4 record, “Big 8” Title, school-record 20- game win streak, and #4 State ranking…..1986-25-9 record, District title, and #5 State Ranking……Total 97-25 overall record(.795%), with 3 Districts, 1 “Big 8” Title, 1 South State and State Bound, and 1 State Title……Played 14 “Top 10” teams during that time span and was 19-10(66%) against them………Compared to the 1994-1997……1994-23-5 record, District Title and unranked…..1995-25-9 record, District Title, and unranked…..1996-31-5 record, District, South State, and State Title, and #2 State ranking……1997-28-8 record, District Title, and #4 ranking…….Overall 107-27 record(.799%) with 4 Districts, 1 South State, and 1 State Title……Played 13 “Top 10” teams and was 14-12(54%) against them…….The Panthers have been ranked ten(10) times at season’s end in it’s history and four(4) of those times are consecutively from 1983-1986 giving them the honor as best 4-year consecutive run in PHS baseball history……All of the rankings are taken from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger baseball polls thru the years……

  37. MDM says:

    From 1983-1986, the combined record was 97-25 with 29 of the 122 games being played against “Top 10” opponents….a 24% rating…going 19-10 in those games(66% win pct.)……….From 1994-1997, the combined record was 107-27 with 26 of the 134 games being played against “Top 10″ opponents…. a 19% rating…..going 14-12 in those games(54% win pct.)…….According to these facts, the 1983-86 Panther teams played more games against ranked teams and were more successful against those”Top 10” ranked teams than the 1994-97 PHS teams……..

  38. MDM says:

    Here is PHS’s “Top 3-yr. Season HR Totals”

    1983-85 84 88 .95
    1987-89 81 101 .80
    1996-98 74 98 .76
    1988-90 70 98 .71
    1984-86 67 89 .75

    **It is quite obvious that the 1980’s was the decade where PHS teams were hitting the ball out of the park at a consistent pace moreso than at any other time in PHS baseball history……

    *For those interested, all of this information that is being given comes from personal research thru the years from local and state newspapers, yearly PHS stats, and from personal files collected thru the years dating back to the 1950’s………..

  39. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    Cool info TC.

    Trivia Question — How many of those 84 HRs hit in the years 1983-85 did Jeffrey Ellis hit?

  40. MDM says:

    Fortunately Jeffrey, those teams were lucky to have pitchers like you who made hitter’s look foolish in the batter’s box swinging and missing so much…..With you on the mound, it always seemed 1 or 2 runs was all we needed to chalk up a victory…….Back in the 1980’s the MHSAA had a limit of only 25 regular season games that teams could play, with a tournament counting as one game, before getting into the playoffs…Once the 1990’s came along, the MHSAA changed that rule(for the betterment of HS baseball) to 33 regular season games plus pre-season tournaments….Many of the 1980’s teams that went deep into the playoffs, such as ’83, ’84, ’86, ’88 teams barely reached 33 games in a season……If these 1980 teams would have had the chance to play upwards of 33 regular season games plus the playoffs, pushing the total to nearly 38-40 games, no telling what kind of numbers they would have put up…..A couple of teams could have had at least 30 plus wins……PHS baseball, tradition wise, seems to have their great teams in each decade…1959, 1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000…..I may be a little biased, but I would definitely put the quality of baseball played in the 1980’s against any other decade in PHS history……Back then it was plain “old school baseball”……High school players nowadays have no excuse to be as good as they want to be if they put forth the work ethic, especially with all of the access available to help them become a better ballplayer….specialized camps, individual lessons, hitting and pitching devices and technology, select teams, travel teams, specialized weight training/conditioning programs, etc….

  41. Madd Dawg says:

    Ok Ellis, I’ll bite. I guess one.

  42. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    Zero. Closest I came was flying out twice to the warning track at home. Geez let me bat one time at St. Martin’s bandbox of a field. I think it was like 255/260 down the line and the a** hole pitcher hit me with the first pitch. I think even Seaman hit one out of that crackerjack box.

  43. Madd Dawg says:

    I feel misled.

    When we spoke on the phone yesterday, I guessed that the answer was zero, and you said, “C’mon Man, I was a pitcher, but I could hit a little!” or something to that effect.

    Lesson Learned: Never trust a lawyer.

  44. MDM says:

    In looking over the past 50 plus years in PHS Baseball history, many great moments stand out that makes the program what it is today……1951-1st no-hiiter pitched by Claude Ray vs. Gulfport….1959-1st District championship….1967-State title…..1968-State title and 1st 20-win season…..1969-Ineligible player ends possible 3-peat…..May 18,1973-PHS defeats South Natchez All-State and undefeated pitcher Joey Porter and his 80 scoreless inning streak…..1977-Defeats Jackson-Wingfield for “Big 8” title…..1979-Pitcher Jimmy Colmer and his incredible season of an ERA of 0.10(1 ER in 65 IP)…….1983-State title and RF Paul Tanner’s season as the only hitter in PHS history to hit .500(49 of 98)…1984-Court case season, state playoffs cancelled…..1985-Teacher strike, defeats Greenville for “Big 8” title…..1986-Defeats nationally ranked Hattiesburg…..1987-J. Olsen coaches Ms. South All-Stars to victory…..1989-State Runner-Up and defeats nationally ranked Clinton…..1995-Pitcher John Jordan pitches schools only perfect game vs. Alcorn Central…..1996-State title…..2003-J. Olsen elected to Ms. Diamond Club Coaches Hall of Fame……2009-J. Olsen reaches 550th coaching victory placing him in the Top 10 victories in Ms. High School history……As one can see, so many great accomplishments have taken place through the years(and these are just a few that stand out) and those that have been a part of it in some way can be proud of it as well……A proud, wonderful tradition of PHS baseball…..History and tradition wise, one of the best baseball programs in the state……

  45. MDM says:

    An interesting observation is that if the 1983 PHS team(26-7 record) vs. the 1996 team(31-5 record) was solely based on won/loss record on deciding which team is overall the best, one would have to look past both of these teams and look at the 2000 PHS team. This team finished 32-5 overall setting a school-record for wins but didn’t get past the 2nd round of the playoffs losing to Brandon. This team had an 18-game win streak, 2nd longest in school history behind 1985’s record 20-game win streak…..That’s why when comparing the two state title teams of 83′ vs. ’96, one must search much deeper than just overall team record…..All the previous info given in other posts leans heavily toward 1983 being the overall best team in PHS baseball history……

  46. Hey Mike, how about the ’71 12 year olds that won 3 or 4 world series. What did they do in high school?

  47. MDM says:

    That group came through PHS baseball from 1975-77 and were quite successsful…..The team was coached by Donnie Davis (PHS Class of ’67) who was drafted by the Yankees in the 11th Rd.(200th Overall) but signed a scholarship to Mississippi State and became the first PHS player to play in the College World Series in Omaha(1971)…..The 1975 team went 15-7(2nd in District)…The 1976 team was 21-6(1st in District) and lost to a tough Meridian team in the 2nd round of the playoffs 11-8 & 12-3…..The 1977 team went 23-6 and won the “Big 8” Title midway thru the season defeating McComb 13-1 and Jackson-Wingfield in the championship game 18-4 while collecting a still school-record 19 hits in the game…..This team met South Natchez, the defending state champions , in the 2nd Rd. of the playoffs and was one up on a best 2 of 3 series and lost two heartbreaking games 3-1 & 6-5 to end the season….South Natchez would eventually win the state title once again with a 20-3 record(one of those losses coming from ‘Goula)….The 3-yr. record for this group was 59-19(5-4 in playoffs)……Personally, I believe this era in PHS baseball history produced some of the most all-around gifted baseball players . Many of these athletes were a part of the 1976 “Big 8” football state champion team……Names such as Stacy Carmichael, Billy & Bobby Collins, Johnny Olsen, Bubba Toups, Mike Summerlin, Mike Clancy, Lynn Hill, Llyod Palmer, along with others eventually went on and took their talents to the college ranks. Of interest, Coach Donnie Davis won a state title as a player(1967) and as a coach(1983) and ended his career as PHS coach with an overall record of 96-39(.711%) in 5 total seasons with 3 District titles, 1 “Big 8” title, and a State title…….and of course, one of his former players, Johnny Olsen(Class of 1977) has now been with the program 28 yrs., 26 as Head Coach, and has taken the program to new heights as he has produced a 555-268 w/l record, with 12 District titles, 3 South State Titles, 1 “Big 8” title, 1 State Runner-Up, and 1 State title, along with a 56-44 playoff record, seven(7) Top 10 rankings, and numerous collegiate scholarship players……….

  48. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    TC, You come up with some amazing shiatt! Question for you though. I alway thought that JO’s first year as assistant was 1983 and he became head guy in 1984. Am I wrong?

  49. MDM says:

    Olsen’s first year was actually 1982 as an assistant under Donnie Davis and had a record of 11-13 that year(the first losing season since 1970)……but your right Jeffrey, ’84 was JO’s first season as Head Coach and I was counting his 26th year as Head being the upcoming 2010 baseball season…….I guess actually it would be his 27th year as HC……Glad your enjoying all of the info that I’ve been able to post……I enjoy reading your feedback too……brings back alot of great memories…….

  50. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    TC, I always enjoy reading your stuff. Memories??? Never forget when I faced you in college — you at USM; me at UALR. If it had been Coleman I would have hit him in the earhole but since it was you, I just “dusted” you a little w/ two 78 mph fastballs. I can’t even remember what you did that day. I am thinking 1/2 w/ a walk (can’t believe I walked your ass) and pretty sure I picked you off 1st that day.

    Absolutely remember after the game I gave you a big ole hug near the mound. My teammates were like “you know that guy.” I said, heck yeah one of my best friends. They said, why did you brush him? I said, hell I was trying to beat him before he beat me!

    The reason you two were so good is that I threw y’all countless frigging BP pitches at the field. At the end, y’all would let me take about 20 cuts w/ my left arm hanging by a thread and I would still take y’all out the park!!! You could hit like a frigging machine but you can’t pitch BP worth a shiaatttt!!! You got stats of how many home runs I hit off you and Coleman?

    Never forget those Friday evenings: you, Coleman, me and maybe one or two more people on the baseball field. Fans streaming into War Memorial Stadium for the football game, hollering at us while I threw pitch after pitch and you and Coleman stroked hit after hit. Why didn’t Geez have a frigging cage (indoor or outdoor) back then?

    Those were the days! I’ll be in town over Thanksgiving and would love to get together and have a beer with you.

  51. ZEEK says:

    Once again TC, your info is amazing, all I can say is …..”Wow”.

  52. br says:

    Mike, i enjoy reading your post keep up the great work.
    When you have time can you break down the 87- 89 season’s, i know there are alot of people in the TB nation that played ball those 3 years..

  53. MDM says:

    Thanks Jeffrey and Zeek for those positive comments about all of the PHS baseball information……I guess I’m just one of those guys that feel like it’s important to remember all of the great history that the program has been able to accomplish through the years…….Something that all of us can be very proud of……Kind of like how Walter Thorton and others put a “History of PHS Football ” booklet together a few years back to acknowledge that sports history of success……Yes Jeffrey, I remember facing you at UALR quite well….I especially remember all of those times at the HS field hitting baseballs on those football Friday nights while people at the stadium would yell and “cheer us on”…..Those were some great times…..So many great memories for us during those 1983-85 seasons and even the last ‘Goula Merchants Semi-Pro season of 1986….remember? Coming one win away from winning the State in Jackson, Ms. to head to the Semi-Pro World Series in Wichita? And I’m sure you would agree, Coleman had all the talent in the world(and style) to go as far as he wanted in the game….he made it look so easy! And , as I’ve said before, we always felt very confident with you on the mound….Knowing if we could get a run or two on the board and play solid defense behind you, we felt sure of a victory…..Heck, you won 19 of our 72 wins during those three years!……..let’s get together during the holidays and we’ll reminesce some more…..

  54. MDM says:

    Appreciate those kind words about the PHS baseball info……A lot of great history thru the years…….I’ll get the ’87-89′ PHS season info posted up for you soon….That should be no problem as I’ve got many articles/info of those years on file…….

  55. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    I remember the semi-pro season of 86. Mike Thomas, you, Coleman, JO, Johnny Zelenka, Mike Seaman, etc. Zelenka driving my Maxima at about 95 mph on I-55, the Dock, playing cards. Who was the guy from the K.C. Royals that Con Maloney “Cowboy Maloney’s” flew in to beat us? Remember that Maloney also flew in Pat Mertens (1985 3rd round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays and my roomate at Faulkner; big 6’4 lefty threw about 94 mph) from Tampa to try and beat us in the 1st championship game. I recall that you took Mert’s ass about 485 over the left center field wall in the 1st inning for a 3 run dong. Mert was gone by the 3rd and we won that game. That guy from the Royals shut us down in the final. What was his name? Don’t think it was Paul Splitorff but someone in that same time frame. You remember?

    Yeah, Keith “Hollywood” Coleman had more natural talent than you and I combined. We had to work for what we got. He could drink from Wednesday to Friday, never pick up a bat and hit a gapper in his first AB on Saturday. Did you know that goofy bastard TAUGHT HIMSELF to switch-hit in college? And he was damn good from both sides of the plate in college. Best “pure” hitter I ever seen in high school and/or college.

    Never forget — junior year at OS. Coleman been out drinking all night, he slept on bus during JV game and we woke him up about 15 minutes b/4 game time. Coleman hitting lead-off and laces a drive into left-center for a triple. He slides into 3rd, calls time-out, JO is trying to give him a high five and Coleman bolts for the gate by the 3rd base dugout. He throws up and comes back to the bag at 3rd and game resumes.

    I will be in Goula the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and staying until Sunday. Call me on my cell — 601-953-3484.

    Except this time, I get to hit and you can throw!

  56. MDM says:

    Yeah Jeffrey, I remember those last two games at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson against the Gulf Coast All-Stars in the Miss. State Semi-Pro Tournament very well. They were a team made up of current South Alabama area players and former minor league player/pitchers who “stacked” there team at state tournament time…..Did you know the previous year in 1985 after winning state, they went to the Semi-Pro World Series in Wichita and was voted “Favorite team” by the fans and had an automatic invite back to the Series in ’86? So really, if they would not have participated in the ’86 State Tourney, we, the Pascagoula Merchants , would have taken the title and could have been heading to Wichita to play in the World Series! They actually won the Ms. State Tourney in ’81, ’82, ’83, ’85, and ’86 But anyway, we had to beat Gulf Coast All-Stars twice that day….Won the first game 12-6 to take it to a winner take all final game…..and yes, “they” flew in an ex-pro…Does the name Randy McGilberry ring a bell? I believe that was his name and they shut us out 7-0 in the finals to advance to the Semi-Pro World Series…..Ricky Patterson(ex-minor leaguer) was the catcher on that team and Leon Williams(ex-minor leaguer) led the tourney in hitting off that team……Speaking of Mike Thomas, do you remember and realize he was the MVP of the tourney that year? If I remember correctly, Mike pitched and hit very well throughout the tourney to earn the award….We came so close, and could have made “history” by being the first and only Pascagoula based team to play in a NATIONAL World Series…..It would have also been great for Coach Robert Stallworth as that was his last Merchants team that he coached after starting it in 1971………

  57. MDM says:

    Here is some info of the PHS teams from 1987-89 that your earlier asked about…..Hope you enjoy it………PHS 1987(17-11) This team started the season strong going 13-2 in it’s first 15 games, but struggled down the stretch going 4-9, but still managed to win the District title….had a winning streak of 7 games during the season…After winning the District, the team beat Picayune in a best of 3 series but were swept by Meridian in the South State Finals 7-3 and 11-6. This team was led by seniors Cleon Davison(William Carey) and Cliff Ord(UALR), Rob Walker, and Marc Haralla………..PHS 1988(21-13) This team never produced a significant win streak(longest being 4 games) and actually lost 4 in a row at one point during the season; but made it into the playoffs with a sound hitting team, .317 Avg, 3rd best in school history, and hit 32 HR, 2nd best in history behind 1983’s 39 HR……After beating Brandon and South Natchez in the playoffs, they faced tough rival Biloxi and won the first game 6-5 placing themselves 1 win away from going to the state finals; unfortunately lost 2 straight from the Indians 13-1 and 5-0 to end the season……Of note, the ’88 Panthers faced nationally ranked Starkville HS earlier in the season losing 7-4 and also Thomasville, Al.(4A Al. State Champ) losing 9-4….Notable players were Seniors John Grant(MSU football), Ben White, Teddy Bishop(Perk), Craig Summerlin, Michael Young(Ms. College), and Chris O’Brien(Delta St.)………PHS 1989(27-12) The ’89 team was a team with excellent talent and seemed to never give up and always fought to the end, as evident by their playoff games…..This was an interesting team in that they went 20-7 during the regular season winning the District title heading into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, this team never swept a series, always playing a 3rd and deciding game against playoff teams Warren Central, Meridian, Clinton, and State champ Southaven…..One of the highlights of the year came when PHS defeated nationally ranked(14th USA Today) and undefeated Clinton in the playoffs setting a state title showdown against Southaven. Unfortunately, after winning the first game of the series, PHS was defeated twice and finished as State Runner-Ups and ranked 4th in state polls. Many of these players took their talents to the college ranks such as Rob Holifield(William Carey), Kenny Taylor(Delta State) Robin Higginbotham(Perk & minors), Terrell Buckley(FSU football & NFL), Brian Summerlin(Perk)……..These 3 yrs. went 65-36 (.643%)………An interesting note, these 3 yrs. actually began a 7 yr. run(’87-93′) of the Panther program losing at least 10 games a year….the longest in the programs history…..

  58. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    Forgot that Mike “Pookie” Thomas was the MVP. McGilberry — I think you are right. Dude was nasty that night. Patterson actually helped Wayne Larker coach some when I was at Faulkner. Patterson was an assistant at South Alabama before that but he and James Brune (Ocean Springs catcher) got kicked out for fighting at some concert on campus. Patterson was later head coach at Livingston University in Alabama.

  59. MDM says:

    Your right about the success that the 1971 and 1972 Pascagoula All-Star teams had…..Of course, the 1971 team hosted and won the Dixie Youth World Series, still the first and only time that a host team has done that, I believe. Also, the 1972 DYB All-Star team won the state title the following year……The ’71 team, 2 years later won the 14 yr. old Dixie Boys World Series and then a few years later, the ‘Goula All-Stars put together three(3) straight Dizzy Dean (15-18 yr. old) World Series titles from 1977-1979…….Probably the best run of All-Star championships Pascagoula has ever had….Unfortunately, in the early to mid-1980’s Dizzy Dean baseball began falling to the wayside in Pascagoula(and Mississippi) as it struggled to compete at a high level with other baseball organizations such as American Legion, Connie Mack, and Babe Ruth…In 1982, many coastal cities began joining the very popular statewide Connie Mack organization and in 1984 Pascagoula formed it’s first(and only) Connie Mack team….This team played well in it’s only year of existence going 20-6 and placing 3rd in the overall state tournament against statewide powerhouses such as the Jackson 96ers(State Champs and Nationally ranked), Greenville Phillies(2nd place), Starkville Seminoles, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Jackson Richard’s…..Here in the last 15-20 years or so, American Legion seems to be the organization of choice for competitive baseball statewide(my opinion)..American Legion baseball has always done well in Mississippi and across the country, probably the most recognizable organization….Of note, if one is ever interested in a good brand and high caliber baseball, check out the SEMI-PRO state tournament held each July at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson. I believe they also play some games at Mississippi Braves park in Pearl…..That is some great baseball!!

  60. ZEEK says:

    Let me get this straight TC,………… Are you telling me that the 71′ (12 yr. old) World Series Champs went on to win FOUR MORE World Series Titles????? 12,14, 15, 16, 17??? They WON the world series that many times??? I have never heard of that, and I have to admit, it sounds a little too good to be true. Not that I don’t trust your research,TC, for it is top-notch. But I can’t believe that age group has FIVE W.S. titles . That is INCREDIBLE!!!! Why hasn’t anyone ever done a big story locally or nationally on that???? Unbelievable!!!! 5 Titles? WOW!!!! That is what you call a DYNASTY!!!!

  61. Madd Dawg says:

    Interesting sidenote: James Brune’s son is now a very good 12 year old ballplayer from Ocean Springs. Zeek knows what I am talking about.

  62. ZEEK says:

    Yes, Cooper (Brune’s son), is a very good athlete period. But, a natural shortstop/leadoff hitter. Gives it his all. Reminds me of how we played the game back in the day, and it is very rare to see that in this day and age.

  63. On top of all that Zeek, a few of those dudes played on the ’76 football champs.

  64. MDM says:

    It is quite amazing , unless the research I have is totally wrong, those 1970’s all-star teams were World Series champions in each of the Pascagoula baseball organizations(Dixie Youth, Dixie Boys, and Dizzy Dean). Keep in mind, the ‘Goula All-Star “teams” won the World Series, but not so much with the same “players” as each all-star roster was different. An example would be the 1971 Dixie Youth team and the 1973 Dixie Boys World Series teams. There were only 6 players that were a part of both championship teams….Johnny Olsen, Teddy Dearman, Keith May, Larry Toups, Billy & Bobby Collins……I have an outstanding article from the Mississippi Press newspaper from 1983 on Johnny Zelenka and Eric Lane when they were both at Tulane University that mentions those two were part of 3 consecutive World Series titles from 1977-1979….I also have an article on Johnny Olsen that mentions him being the “MVP in the 1979 Dizzy Dean Sr. World Series which Pascagoula won”….Yes, that is an incredible run in the 1970’s for the Pascagoula All-Stars in each organization, especially Dizzy Dean….Keep in mind too,Pascagoula had a Jr. Dizzy Dean(15 &16 yr. old) and Sr. Dizzy Dean(17 & 18 yr. old) league, so those World Series teams came from either/each age group…..Of note, what makes it even more amazing, if my research holds true, the 1980 Dizzy Dean All-Star team was World Series Runner-Up……Don’t know for sure if the local paper (Ms. Press) ever specifically did an article on these accomplishments, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did, because sportswriters Mike Wixon and Mark Bryant back in the day were OUTSTANDING and very PROFESSIONAL at what they did in covering high school and summer league sports…..We(the community) knew these guys personally and they always made the community of Pascagoula feel a close connection to youth and High School sports in the area….They were first class all the way! Now, really with no true “hometown” newspaper, I doubt anything will ever be possibly written, although it would provide great reading!

  65. Madd Dawg says:

    why don’t you write that story? you probably have more documents and knowledge of the topic than most anyone.

  66. ZEEK says:

    I agree with MD (did I just say that out loud?) I think you have more info on hand than anyone else, and your passion for the subject would result in a pulitzeresque tome I’m sure.

  67. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    MD and Zeek,

    Tell Brune, aka “Coon”, that Jeffrey Ellis and Jeff Champion (DSU 82-86) said hey. Dude was a helluva a catcher w/a frigging howitzer for an arm. Plus, he could “kung fu” your ass if needed. Brune and Richie Tillman were the best catchers I ever threw to at any level.

  68. MDM says:

    Your so right Jeffrey, Richie was a “hard-nosed’ player behind the plate….You always knew he was going to give you his best each time . He won the “Panther Pride & Hustle” Award his Junior year(1985) and the “Best Defensive Player” Award his Senior year(1986). Both well-deserved honors……From a personal standpoint, and from who I’ve seen play since about 1980 or so, I would pick Richie and Jared Becker (PHS 1996) as two of the best defensive catchers PHS has had, giving Richie the edge as he went on an did well at PERK and UALR, while Becker had brief stays as a backup at Millsaps for one season, then transferring to Southwestern, La. and playing one season there too…..

  69. Frankie Godfrey was a great defensive catcher too and our ’88 team missed him when he retired to focus on football. Nothing against Teddy Bishop who was our best hitter, but he could’ve played several positions. Also, I got to throw to James Bishop for one season in Connie Mack and he was the best guy I ever threw to as far as handling the pitcher’s psyche, and he was pretty fearless too. Zeek caught me a couple of years in our younger days. He was a bit of a naysayer back then too, especially when I wanted to throw the knuckler, but he did a good job for someone that pretty much hated wearing the tools of ignorance. And hey, we won the league in 84 and had the best record but missed the playoffs in 85 right Zeek? Did you give BR as much crap as you did me?

  70. ZEEK says:

    BR was better at taking instruction than you, TB. The problem with you pitchers is you think you know what to throw, but you don’t. (HA!HA!) Seriously, though, BR was good about listening and agreeing with my suggestions.

    BR had the best pick-off move to 1st base that I have ever seen anywhere, including the majors. He and you beat me up pretty good that year (’85). I got no props that year when it was all said and done, oh well.

  71. MDM says:

    The following is my personal ranking of PHS baseball’s “Greatest Championship Teams”….Although many great teams have come through the program in the last 50 plus years, only a select handful can claim a high honor of a title. Again, the following listing is my personal view along with some highlights that reflect their ranking…….Here are my top ranked PHS Baseball Teams……#1) 1983(26-7)-STATE CHAMPIONS-Ranked #1 by Jackson Clarion-Ledger…still holds 24 overall team school records….Powerful hitting team(.368 avg.)with a solid defense and deep pitching staff….went 8-5 against Top 10 opponents…..P/3B Mike Thomas was named “Ms. HS Player of the Year”(only time in school history)…..Led by Head Coach Donnie Davis(Ms. HS Coach of the Year)……..#2) 1996(31-5)-STATE CHAMPIONS-Ended ranked #2 by Jackson Clarion-Ledger behind nationally ranked and undefeated New Hope……Solid hitting team(.306 avg.) that was very strong defensively and with a pitching staff that struck out 267 batters, 2nd best in school history, and shut out a school record 8 opponents……Led by Head Coach Johnny Olsen………#3) 1984(23-5)-STATE BOUND-Unfortunate cancellation of state title tournament(only time in Mississippi baseball history) kept this team from possibly repeating as champions……Ended season ranked #1 by Jackson Clarion-Ledger…….Outstanding pitching staff(1.70 ERA, 2nd best in school history) and hitting team(.332 avg, 28 HR, .541 Slug Pct.)……..5-2 record against Top 10 teams……This team was scheduled to play #1 NATIONALLY ranked Tate, Fl. at Stanky Field(South Alabama) but was cancelled due to rain….Led by first year Head Coach Johnny Olsen(Ms. HS Coach of the Year)……….#4) 1968(20-3)-STATE CHAMPIONS-This was the first PHS team to crack the 20-win barrier…….Powerful piching combo of Earl Gilbert and Paul Mizell helped set still school records 8.0 K’s/G and a 1.10 ERA……Of the 23 games, this team held its opponents to 3 runs or less 16 times! This was a hitting team, back in the “wood bat days”…..Not considered a strong hitting team stat-wise(.255 avg.), but timely hitting, strong pitching and defense, and speed on the bases, allowed this team to defeat many teams in low run scoring games…..Led by standouts Walter Hallberg(Indians), Rodney Siedell(Ole Miss), Jimmy Haygood(PERK), Wayne Graham(PERK)……Directed by Head Coach Doug Horn………#5) 1989(27-12) STATE RUNNER-UP- Ended ranked #4 by Jackson Clarion-Ledger…….This was a very talented team overall that still holds school records for triples(19) and stolen bases(127)…….Overall record, although with 12 losses, is decieving in the fact that the toughness and the “never say die” attitude of this team was shown throughout the playoff series by always winning the 3rd and deciding game before reaching the state finals……Defeated nationally ranked(14th USA Today) and undefeated Clinton Arrows twice to reach the title showdown with Southaven………#6) 1967(17-3) STATE CHAMPIONS-First state title in PHS history……..Not a strong hitting team scoring only 96 runs during the “wood bat days”, but once again very strong defensively and in the pitching department……Led by Russ Walker(Auburn), Donnie Davis(Miss. State), and Donnie Rasberry(South Alabama)…..Head Coach was Doug Horn……….#7) 1985(23-4) BIG 8 CHAMPIONS-Ended ranked #4 by Jackson Clarion-Ledger……school-record 20-game win streak……..strong pitching(2.04 ERA) and solid defense(.932 Fielding %) and timely hitting carried this team…….Beat McComb and #7 Greenville to win the overall Big 8 title……Defeated by eventual state champion Gulfport 3-2 in 9 innings in a sudden-death District playoff game to end the season…….Led by Head Coach Johnny Olsen……..#8) 1977(23-6)-BIG 8 CHAMPIONS-This talented team was stacked with two-sport stars that helped the PHS football team the previous fall season go undefeated(12-0) and win the overall Big 8 football title…….still holds the school record for hits in a game(18) vs. Jackson-Wingfield in the Big 8 tournament finals……a well-balanced team consisting of solid hitting, pitching, and defense, along with speed on the basepaths…..Many believe this team had some of the most talented baseball players on any PHS team at one time……Led by Head Coach Donnie Davis……..Here are some PHS “Honorable Mention” teams…….1969(12-1)-season ends with an ineligible player……1973(11-3)-Beat South Natchez All-American pitcher Joey Porter 4-3 and his state/national record 80 scoreless innings streak…….1986(25-9)-Beat nationally ranked Hattiesburg (#12 Collegiate baseball)…….1988(21-13)-One win away from reaching overall state title series……..1997(28-8)-Very strong team that was upset in playoffs…….2000(32-5)-School-record for wins, but upset early in playoffs……….I realize this is a lot, but I hope it makes for enjoyable reading for those interested in PHS baseball………..

  72. MDM says:

    THE “BIG 8” BASEBALL TOURNAMENT. Now here is an interesting topic.I realize this is getting off the subject , but there was a brief period of time when Mississippi High School baseball actually had a very competitive and exciting statewide tournament midway through the season known as the “Big 8” Championship. Mainly thought upon in the sport of football, the Big 8 actually began in 1908 as the “Big 3” consisting of Meridian, Hattiesburg and Laurel as the original schools. Through the years more schools would join, with Pascagoula High joining in 1945. The league eventually grew to over 30 teams in the conference, but from a baseball standpoint, didn’t really take shape until 1975. In 1973, high school teams were placed into 4 zones:Coastal, Central, Capital, and Delta. In 1975, the MHSAA instituted the overall Big 8 baseball tournament, held each year, mid-season, until 1988. This first class tournament produced some exciting baseball throughout the state of Mississippi with many of the top teams in the state competing. It was first class, top of the line and wearing the “Big 8” crown signified success across the state. The top 4 teams from each zone would play a 2-game series with the winner heading to Jackson as a “Final 4” finalist and a chance to be crowned “Big 8” champion. Many times history showed that the overall Big 8 champion was indeed one of the favorites to win the overall state title at season’s end. Teams such as Pascagoula, Jackson-Wingfield, Meridian, Starkville, and Gulfport found their way as Big 8 champs in the tourney’s 13-year existence. The Big 8 Championship was played at Smith-Wills stadium in Jackson, home of former Double A franchise Jackson Mets, Generals, Senators, and more recently Diamond Kats independent team if I’m not mistaken. Like years past, teams today compete for division and state titles in six(6) classifications and with a total focus on district scheduling and a systematic playoff system, it leaves very little flexibility to schedule such mid-season classics. Unfortunately, these type tournaments in Ms. are pretty much history. Nowadays, many high schools have “Spring Break” type tournaments, but nothing like a statewide elimination tourney as the Big 8. Professional and college scouts from all over the Southeast would flock to the Big 8 tournament finals every year to see 4 of the states top teams battle it out for the title…….Pascagoula, of course , was in the Big 8 Coastal Zone and won the Coastal Zone 3 times(1977,1979,1985) to advance to the overall Big 8 at Smith-Wills stadium. The 1977 and 1985 PHS teams won the overall “Big 8” title while the 1979 team was runner-up to powerhouse Jackson-Wingfield, who actually went on and won the overall state title. It’s quite a shame that the MHSAA decided to drop such a classic, traditional tournament, for it gave teams an extra chance to experience top quality baseball in a minor league ballpark, away from “home” experiencing a different atmosphere, and possibly facing teams in other areas of the state that one wouldn’t get a chance otherwise.It was difinitely top ranked baseball at it’s finest and I for one wish we could somehow get it back.I apologize for this being so long but I hope it finds for some interesting reading…..

  73. BR says:

    enjoyed the post MDM keep’em coming…

  74. MDM says:

    Thanks for the compliment BR…..If you have any interesting topics, ideas, or questions about PHS baseball or high school baseball statewide, let me know and I’ll see what I can research……Glad your finding the info interesting and enjoyable to read as I enjoy posting it….

  75. MDM says:

    “PASCAGOULA MERCHANTS SEMI-PRO BASEBALL”……….Here is another topic that many may find interesting….As most have probably already read on my previous posts, I have proudly mentioned the success of Semi-Pro baseball in Mississippi and more specifically Pascagoula. At one time, Pascagoula was very fortunate to have a quality Semi-Pro baseball team called the Pascagoula Merchants, led by Robert Stallworth, who is now a successful city councilman in P’Goula. Because of his hard work, love for the game, and his willingness and desire to ask the local merchants for financial support(which they gladly sponsored), Stallworth was able to dedicate his time and energy in giving the city of Pascagoula a quality team and program that all could be proud of. From Stallworth’s first team in 1971 until his last team in 1986, the Pascagoula Merchants traditionally fielded some of the states best teams…..Always competitive in the annual Ms. Semi-Pro state tournament held at Smith-Wills stadium, the Merchants brought an outstanding brand of baseball to the diamond each season. In the early years of existence in the 1970’s, the P’Goula Merchants consistently played teams out of Pensacola, Mobile, Slidell, New Orleans, and even as far as Houston, Tx. along with the regular in-state teams such as Biloxi Dodgers, Gulfport Angels, Natchez Suns, Hattiesburg Black Sox, Meridian A’s, Starkville Seminoles, Gulf Coast Stars, and the great Jackson-based teams…. Many times on these trips the team would travel by chartered bus, thanks to Robert Stallworth. He always tried to make the program first class as possible. I even recall his last team of 1986, he put together a first class end of the season banquet held at Lafont Inn with Lafont’s all you can eat buffett and awards/trophies galore. That’s just the way Stallworth was with his teams. He was proud of his teams and provided the best for them . Many former PHS players came through the program and helped represent the city of Pascagoula in the State Semi-Pro tournament many times. Although never able to capture the overall State Semi-Pro title, the Merchants were State Runner-Ups 3 times (1978, 1979, 1986) and placed 3rd 2 times (1980, 1985)….In the 16 yrs, Coach Robert Stallworth compiled a 375-115 record (Avg. 23 wins/yr.). Stallworth was also elected to the Ms. Semi-Pro Hall of Fame in 1979…..Several “Pascagoula boys” even made their playing known at the overall State tournament by being named to the Semi-Pro All-State Team; Stacey Carmichael(1977, 1978, 1979), Mike Summerlin(1979), Johnny Zelenka and Mike Thomas(1986); State Defensive Player-Mike Moreland(1986) and State MVP-Mike Thomas(1986)……A quote from one of the State Semi-Pro media guides tells of the respect that the tournament had for Stallworth’s Pascagoula Merchant’s teams as it says;”The Pascagoula Merchants have a great Semi-Pro tradition led by Stallworth and can be counted on to bring an impressive collection of talent to the capital city”……..That says alot about what the rest of the state thought about Pascagoula and it’s baseball talent when it came time to play Semi-Pro State tourney baseball. It should be no surprise as well, because Pascagoula has always been an outstanding baseball community at all levels of play…….One other note, there has been some interesting names that has played for the Merchant’s through the years: Dave Stapleton(Former BostonRed Sox player), Cooper Farris(Longtime PERK baseball coach), Russ Walker(local veterinarian), Spud Weiniwitz(longtime Biloxi HS coach/AD), Donnie Davis(former PHS baseball coach), Ricky Sutherland(local Real Estate agent), Gary Long(current East central baseball coach), and Larry Knight(former H’Burg & present Sumrall HS baseball coach)…….Because of the hard work and dedication of Robert Stallworth, the Pascagoula Merchant’s, for 16 yrs. brought pride to the city of Pascagoula. It’s a shame that Pascagoula has not been able to field a semi-pro team in the last 23 yrs. Actually, Semi-Pro baseball has struggled in recent years here along the coast, but statewide it still thrives pretty well. This past summer, the 71st Semi-Pro baseball tournament was played at Smith-Wills stadium and Trustmark Park in Pearl, Ms. It would be great if some way P’Goula and the coast could bring back some good Semi-Pro baseball……

  76. quail09 says:

    My dad took us boys to see the merchants play a couple of times when i was a boy….I’ll always remember a player on the roster by the name of Jose Mosquito

    • Anonymous says:

      Jose Mosquito is my dad. He loved baseball and loved that team. He passed away on 3/30/2021. His time running the bases on earth is over but not forgotten.

  77. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    TC, you are a better historian than they have at the Museum of World History in D.C. Where you get this stuff?

    You brought up a few names I had forgotten. Carmichael in the late 70s. Ricky Sutherland, the guy coached me on Davenport Field and I remember him playing SS for the Merchants.

    I would like to add one name to your list: Tommy Seaman. Played golf with him over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Tommy played for the Merchants for many years. I think his last year he was 44 or 45 and still hit over .300.

    Also for the Jackson County Hall of Fame, I nominate Kim “Bucket Head” Seaman. Dude played 4 years in the bigs for Cards, Mets, and Padres. Played golf with Kim over the holidays also. His “pool house” is something to see with all his photos, baseballs, etc.

    Kim’s son, Tyler, is at Miss. College, and may get drafted this year. He is a 6’4 right-hander that consistently hits 92 mph and can run it up there at 94.

  78. MDM says:

    Quail09, I do remember the name Jose Mosquito as well. I believe he was an outfielder for PHS in the late 60’s………Jeffrey, I have to admit, most, if not all, of the previous info came from past Semi-Pro tournament media guides that I have collected through the years….it is pretty interesting stuff….How could I have forgotten Tommy Seamen? I believe he played on the very first team in ’71 and continued until the last season of ’86…..Your right, the guy could still hit it in his mid-40’s…..I distinctly remember him getting some clutch hits during that ’86 season in the Mobile league and state tourney while being a “player-coach” as a 1B/DH/pinch-hitter…….He was definitely one who got his satisfaction by being challenged by a fastball in semi-pro instead of taking himself to the local slowpitch softball league……Tyler Seamen at MC, doesn’t surprise me one bit…Comes from a great baseball family…..If I’m not mistaken, there’s about 5 or 6 guys from PHS that will be on MC’s baseball roster this year……How long were you down for the holidays? I was out of town the Friday and Sat. after Thanksgiving.

  79. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    Tommy told me that Mike Seaman had hair down to “his ass.” I didn’t get to see Spermy. I rolled in Wednesday before Thanksgiving and left that Sunday. Who are the Goula guys on MC’s roster this year? I would like to see them play.

  80. Madd Dawg says:

    I found this article below which mentions Tyler Seaman, but I gotta tell you about his MC teammate Bo Bell. Bo is from Gulfport and used to umpire my kids’ t-ball games back when he was in Jr. High and High School. When he has been home on break from college over the past few years, I have seen him several times at the batting cages at our field complex. Back in August, I took my kids to the cages at 8:00 AM Sunday morning for a little BP, and he was there all by himself hitting off a tee. I doubt most 20 year olds were even awake yet.

    He is an absolutely great kid (always “yes, sir” “no, sir”), with a wonderful attitude and a beautiful left-handed swing. After doing very well at Perk, he went to MC where he finished this year in the top five overall in the ASC in BA(.425), RBI(73), OBP(.536) and SLG%(.801) in 44 games. Yep, 73 RBI in 44 games!!

    The word is that he would have been a high draft pick but for his height—-the MC media guide lists him as 5’10”, but that is unfortunately not correct. Everybody over here wishes that some MLB team would overlook the height issue and give him a shot.
    5/8/2009 3:22:02 PM
    Official ASC Release
    CLINTON, MS – Mississippi College second baseman Tim Bruss, starting pitcher Tyler Seaman and left fielder Bo Bell have all been selected as All-ASC First Team players this year in a vote of league coaches.

  81. MDM says:

    Jeffrey….. Seaman, along with junior Andy Smith. If I’m not mistaken I heard that Cal Mitchell and Ian Underwood, who will be sophomores and Justin Deihl, who will be a junior are all transfering from Faulkner State. Have to check the team roster when it comes out to be sure……..Madd dawg, I haven’t seen Bo Bell play but I here he is an awesome player….and his stats back it up….He is definitely a player….

  82. MDM says:

    An interesting note about my earlier post on the Pascagoula Merchant’s semi-pro baseball team is that there actually were a few former ‘Goula boys that took their talent over to play for the Gulf Coast All-Star semi-pro team and made a name for themselves at the state tournament…..Shortstop Van Graham and Catcher Eric Lane. For years the Gulf Coast All-Stars were the P’Goula Merchants rivals and some outstanding games were always played between the two teams. The GC All-Stars, based out of the Mobile area, featured South Alabama players, other area college players, and former professional ballplayers. Within state tournament play, Eric Lane was awarded 1982 All-State team and Offensive Player award…..Van Graham was awarded as State Defensive Player(1983) and All-State(1984). The Gulf Coast All-Stars were traditionally a tourney favorite to win the Semi-pro title each year as they won in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986…..With those state titles, they often were able to participate in the National Semi-Pro World Series in Wichita. To this day, it somewhat bothers me personally knowing that this team kept us, the P’Goula Merchants, from going to the Semi-Pro World Series in 1986 as we were runner-ups to them, only to find out later they had an automatic invite to the Series from the year before. Anyhow….If they would not have played in the State tourney, a talented group of Pascagoula Merchants, led by coach Robert Stallworth, would have won the state title and headed to the national Semi-Pro World Series in Wichita……….

  83. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    I can’t remember exactly the rift that caused some Goula players (and other players from the Jackson County area) to move over to the Gulf Coast All-stars so I won’t say what I do remember about that situation.

    I do know that we (Merchants) were primarily a bunch of high schoolers and freshmen/shopmores in college playing against a bunch of guys that were seniors in college and/or in the minor leagues. Yeah, we had a few older guys (Tommy Seaman, Johnny Olsen, Johnny Zelenka) but hell they only picked up a bat competitively 5 or 6 times a year. Since GC All-stars had to fly guys in to beat us, I think we acquitted ourselves quite well over those 10 days.

  84. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    Madd Dawg, you should be in church on Sunday mornings instead at the batting cage.

  85. MDM says:

    Yeah Jeffrey, I never really thought of it that way, but I like how you put it. We had a very good Merchants team in ’86 winning the title in the Mobile Semi-Pro League. Do you remember that? I felt that league was very tough with some very good teams that prepared us for state competition. Remember all of those games at the ballpark off Texas St. off I-10 and those drives to the games? We actually beat the GC All-Stars 6-2 during league play(Believe it or not, I still have our game by game scores). I found it quite a surprise when the GC All-Stars showed up for the Miss. State Semi-Pro tourney and their team was a complete overhaul of the one we faced in league play….It was a who’s who of ex-professionals and current/former South Alabama Jaguars springled with some talented Spring Hill and Mobile College top players….then they had the nerve to fly in two more ex-pro pitchers to face us in the finals(maybe they ran out of pitching). I find it amusing that they flew in two pitchers(not one)to pitch in the finals against us. They used both because we spanked them the first game 12-6 and took it to a winner take all final….That former KC Royal pitcher shut us down 7-0 to win it, but they knew it wasn’t easy. We gave it our best, but came up a little short, but man it would have been nice to go to the Series in Wichita…Question, How many future and/or ex-pros do you think we would have had a chance to play against out there?

  86. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    Back in those days every player in Wichita (except our team) would have been either on the way to bigs or an ex-big league player. Heck, I played in the Mobile Summer League at Stanky Field my senior year at Goula. Every team there (except for Faulkner State Jr. College team) was made up of guys either on their way up or that had been to the show.

    BTW — GC Allstars flew in those pitchers in b/c your short, stocky ass kept taking their regular pitchers out of the park! If you had toned “down” your hitting that week, GC Allstars would not have felt so threatened and wouldn’t have flown those pitchers in to beat us. Then, the Merchants would have gone to the WS!

  87. MDM says:

    I realize this may not interest many, but in looking over some information I had on file, I find it very interesting that the 1983 PHS baseball team beat some outstanding opponents in the State double-elimination tournament at Mississippi College to win the overall 1983 Mississippi AA State baseball title. Of course, when any team reaches that far in the playoffs, all teams for that matter are talented and well-deserving of being there representing their schools vying for a state title. But, looking over the list of players who went on to play college ball and beyond that the ’83 Panthers faced is quite impressive to say the least. In the 1st game, PHS defeated the then #3 Starkville Yellowjackets, a 28-7 team, 11-3…College/Pro players off Starkville High were: SS Scott Chesser(All-State)-Ole Miss, C Trent Lowery-Birmingham Southern, 1B Darrin Wade-Jackson State, 3B Chris Correro-Miss. State(Football), P Terry Ellis-Miss. State, P Meridith Sanford-1984″ Ms. Player of the Year”- All-American, 3rd Rd. Pick of Yankees, signed with Alabama and eventually pitched in the majors with the Reds and Twins……..The 2nd game, PHS faced the hard-hitting Greenville Hornets(#1 at the time) and won 7-6 in 8 innings. Greenville ended the season with a 29-7 record and a ranking of #4 in the state. Personally, this team, for at least the tournament, is one of the best hitting high school teams I have ever seen. The previous day they had destroyed our rival Hattiesburg 22-7 in 3 innings(15 run-rule after 3) and at the beginning of our game and throughout they chanted a “team song” “THE BIG STICKS ARE HERE”…..and they lived up to the song as they scored 4 runs in the first on 2 doubles(one off the CF wall at MC) and a HR over leftcenter and collected a total of 13 hits…..They were a very tough team, but a lack of pitching depth seemed to catch up with them in the tourney. One player I remember well, Adell Davenport, ended up an All-American at Southern University, an 8th Rd. pick of the Giants and reached Triple A……..The 3rd and 4th games of the tourney was against our playoff arch-rival #3 ranked Hattiesburg Tigers(21-9 record) for the overall title. H’Burg had to beat us twice and won the first game 6-2 for a winner take all 2nd game championship…..PHS held on for a hard-fought 6-4 win in which both depths of pitching staffs were tested……Hattiesburg college/pro players off this team were: P Larry Knight- William Carey and Detroit Tigers draft pick, C Rodney Williams-William Carey, 2B Mike Sumner-William Carey, P Jesse Laird-William Carey, OF Todd Nace-Ms. State/USM, drafted by Mets, and OF Earnest Walker-Alabama JC and National invitee to USA Team for the Pan American games…..By winning the 1983 state title, PHS was selected at season’s end as the state’s #1 team by the Jackson Clarion Ledger paper ahead of #3 Hattiesburg, #4 Greenville, #6 Starkville, #9 Ocean Springs, and #10 Gulfport….Head Coach Donnie Davis was named “Ms. High School Coach of the Year” and P/3b Mike Thomas was selected “Ms. Player of the Year”……the only time in PHS baseball history……Also, RF Paul Tanner, SS Danny Holifield, and P/3b Mike Thomas were named to the 12-man “All-State” Team……Quite an accomplishment having 3 from one team..Only 2 other schools in the state can say that, Jackson-Callaway(1981) and Oak Grove(1993)…….Alot of info, but good info……Hope all will enjoy….

  88. Jeffrey Ellis says:

    TC, you continue to amaze!

    The Yell0w Jackets were the weakist of the 4 teams and it showed as they exited first. Them damn Hornets and their “the big sticks are here” chant were, in my opinion the second best team there even though they came in 3rd. Adell Davenport! That SOB could hit, run, catch, etc. They jumped on us like white on rice and Spermy didn’t know what him. Coach DD brought Thomas in the 2nd or 3rd inning and he closed the door on them. I recall a TC 3-run bomb and a couple of running catches at the centerfield wall that helped secure that game. The brothers could hit a curve but didn’t want any part of a 88/89 mph fastball. Everybody remembers McElroys herioc effort of 6 innings and two relievers in the finale, but who pitched the first game we lost to Hattiesburg 6-2? Seaman?

  89. MDM says:

    Surprisingly, Starkville with all of that talent that eventually played at the next level(college) faltered quickly in the tourney. I think us putting it to them and their pitcher, Miss. state signee Terry Ellis, 11-3 to open up the tourney didn’t help, because they turned around and got beat by Hattiesburg 2-1 their next game…..I failed to mention earlier along with the other Starkville players to go and play college ball was a pitcher named Stuart Fuller who signed with South Alabama….Their top 3 pitchers played Division 1 baseball….Terry Ellis(Ms. State), Meridith Sanford(Alabama), Fuller(South Alabama)……That’s a tough pitching staff! I definitely agree with you about Greenville….They were scary tough….The best hitting team we faced without question….I’ve seen some good HS hitting teams thru the years while coaching HS baseball and I would still put that Greenville team up there with the best of them as far as hitting goes, at least from what I saw from them in the tourney…..Thomas and Seamen both pitched in the 6-2 defeat to H’Burg with Seamen getting the loss…..What can you say about McElroy in the title game? What a gutsy performance….H’Burg had the bases loaded in the 2nd and 3rd innings and he got out of it w/o giving up any runs and took them into the 6th inning before getting solid relief help from you and Thomas for the victory…..Hattiesburg always worried me too because they seemed to always make the big plays and get clutch hits….they were a tough, scrappy club…Do you remember that McElroy was a Junior that year of ’83 and didn’t come out his Senior year of baseball in ’84? It would have been interesting to see You, Seamen, McElroy, Crump on the mound as a staff that year….’84 team could have possibly been even stronger……Either way, McElroy pitched the game of his life that day….Did you know that about 5 years ago, I ran into McElroy and told him I had a video tape of the game and ran a copy off for him….He told me that was one of the most treasured things he has now…….pretty neat…..

  90. MDM says:

    Here is an interesting list of HS players throughout the state that participated in the annual “Ms. North/South HS All-Star” baseball game, in which the PHS teams of 1983-1985 faced at one time or another….During the seasons of ’83-’85, PHS baseball faced a total of 25 players who participated in this annual game. The annual all-star game is sponsored by the Crossroads Diamond Club of Jackson, Ms., held each year since being formed in 1975…….Harrison Central’s Ken Farmer and Ken Miller…Biloxi’s Rodney Mattina…Gulfport’s Trent Weaver…Long Beach’s Les Hardin and Duane Ross… Ocean Springs Lynn Carroll, James Brune, and Mitch Peters…Stone County’s Stevon Moore, Anthony Harris, and Stephen James…McComb’s Billy Ragsdale…Jackson-Wingfield’s Mike Pitts…Hattiesburg’s Rodney Williams, Earnest Walker, Kenny Mixon, and Mark Brock…Starkville’s Ronald Campbell, Scott Chesser, and Meridith Sanford…Greenville’s Dwayne Moore, Patrick Robinson, Bradford Watts, and Adell Davenport……Of note, Pascagoula High has been well represented in the game thru the years as a total of 27 PHS players have participated in the game with three(3) earning honors in the game…..1979-Jimmy Colmer(Randy Makamson Sportsmanship Award), 1987-Cleon Davison(South MVP), and 1987-Johnny Olsen(South Team Head Coach)…..I realize this may not be much of an interest to a lot of people, but I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it for those who may find it worthwhile to read…..Hope those of you will enjoy it………

  91. Chris Tingle says:

    Hold on tight to those memories. Anyone got anything worthwhile going on 27-14 later? Hahaha…

  92. Fish says:

    where in the hell are you at now?
    shoot me an email

  93. Welcome to the Travellinbaen Universe Chris. We’d welcome hearing about your own memories.

  94. MDM says:

    Here’s wishing the 2010 PHS Panther baseball team on a successful season…….

  95. Madd Dawg says:

    I saw your sister on Sunday in Gulfport. My 10 year old tournament team (Gulf Coast Outlaws) made some dramatic roster changes in the Fall in an effort to take it up a notch, and we have been destroying every 10 year old team on the MS Gulf Coast ever since. We had been looking forward to playing the Alabama Bombers to see how we measured up against the big boys and finally got our chance yesterday when we advanced to the championship game for this highly-anticipated match up.

    Several line drives to the gaps (plus 4 home runs) by them caused us to quickly realize that we are not quite at their level yet as they crushed us in 4 innings. I cannot even type the score. Your sister and hubby JE were gracious in victory as always.

    We told our players and their parents that it was a good character-building experience.

  96. MDM says:

    Madd Dawg,
    I was there Sunday for both of the Bombers games, but had to leave after three innings of the Outlaws game….Are you one of the coaches for the Outlaws? Yes, they are a competitive little team, but at that age it’s just good seeing that age get as much ball under there belt as possible…My nephew was the lefthanded CF and found out later he got a couple of nice hits AFTER I had left…that’s my luck…..

  97. Madd Dawg says:

    It always seems to happen like that doesn’t it? Your nephew had a good game.

    Yea, I was the coach standing pretty much right in front of our dugout most of the time with the other two coaches kneeling or sitting on buckets in front of either end of our dugout.

    My kid is our #2 hole hitter. He scored in the bottom of the first and started the game playing CF. When the Bombers were hammering our starting pitcher (kid with the funky short-arm delivery), we brought my kid in to try to shut y’all down as he throws a lot faster than the starter. Predictably, y’all’s boys hit faster pitchers better than slower pitchers (as many good hitting teams do), so my kid got absolutely hammered—-he has never been hit like that.

    I was also very impressed with the poise of your pitcher Sandifur. He really does a good job of holding the runners close to the base by varying his timing and looks over.

    Hopefully the Outlaws regain their confidence before our next tournament in Orange Beach at the end of the month, and hopefully the Bombers are taking that weekend off!!

  98. Jared Becker says:

    End of an era for PHS baseball. JO is a legend.

  99. Fish says:

    JO had a good run. He’ll be around.

  100. Madd Dawg says:

    very big tournament at the gulfport sportsplex this weekend. 13 ten year old teams, about 10 of which are very good, all fighting for that world series berth. are you coming out to watch your nephew?

  101. MDM says:

    This may not be of interest to many on this site, except for a few “die-hard” baseballers, but I just heard from a local Mobile news station that Randy McGilberry, a former Kansas City Royal big league pitcher will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame this year. This is the same former big league pitcher that pitched for the Gulf Coast All-Stars semi-pro team ,based out of Mobile ,and pitched against the Pascagoula Merchants Semi-Pro team in the finals of the 1986 State Semi-Pro tournament in Jackson, Ms. at Smith-Wills stadium. McGilberry beat the P’Goula Merchants 7-0 in the finals stopping the Merchants from winning the state tourney and heading to the National tournament in Wichita, Ks. Great honor for a great player…..I knew that guy was good!! Just a little local baseball trivia for those interested…..

    • TheLex says:

      Thank you for posting this about my father. I have vague memories of him pitching in the finals in ’86 mostly because I was running around under the bleachers. He has always spoken highly of the Merchants and I believe he actually played for them while in college and right after he got out of pro ball. Pascagoula must have been doing something right because dad married a 1970 graduate of PHS. Thank you again.

      Seth McGilberry

  102. MDM says:

    The annual Ms. Semi-Pro State tournament is fast approaching as it is scheduled for the 3rd week in July at Jackson, Ms. Smith-Wills Stadium. I had plans to form a team based out of Pascagoula, with players from the Jackson County area, to participate in the tourney but a few “red tape” matters kept things from working out. I plan on preparing much earlier next season to get a team together so hopefully the coast can be represented in the State tourney. A coast team has not entered the tourney since 1986! That is a shame! In the meantime, I plan on being there this year as a fan watching some talented summer baseball! If anyone is interested in seeing some quality baseball, head out to this years Ms. Semi-Pro baseball tournament.

  103. Mike, shoot me a message when you go. I might come check out a game or two.

  104. Justin Black says:

    What JO was let go for we probably heard a hundred times on bus rides. He will be missed.

  105. Justin Black says:

    He was a great coach and motivator. Yeah he was brutal at times but we took it and it made us better. Kids these days they just can’t take it. Also goula 1996 would win series 4-3 over 83 team. The 96 hitters were not sluggers but they were scrappy and hard to get out. They would bunt , hit and run and delay steal you to death. The pitching was great and defence was solid.

  106. Justin, thanks for stopping by to comment. Hope you hang around the place. BTW, weren’t you the 2d base half of the middle infield with Fish? Or were y’all separated a couple years?

    • Justin Black says:

      Yeah Fish and I played short and second our 11th and 12 th grade years. Man I love reading all your info. Keep it up

  107. Man I just wish I had made a better post out of the original one. I was just goofin’ around one night when I did it and should’ve known all the goula baseball guys would eventually find their way here. Thankfully Mike has filled in all kinds of good info and the other commenters have added some nice stories so the thread is worth reading even if the post is pretty much junk.

  108. MDM says:

    Baseball season is fast approaching! Ready to hear the words “Play ball!”

  109. steve moye says:

    cool stuff great memories from the 83 and 84 seasons

  110. Anonymous says:

    I want to thank you guys for the compliments on my pitching that muggy summer night in 1986. The facts are that Robert Stallworth and Ricky Patterson called me in 1973 (I was at Louisiana Tech) during the summer at 1:00am and asked me if I wanted to pitch in Jackson. I didn’t know anything about the Merchants,but Ricky was my lifelong friend and I didn’t hesitate. I got up and got on the road. Iplayed with the very guys you mentioned (Seaman, JO,Sutherland, Davis, and Moose) I pitched 2 games back to back and went back to Ruston. If you go back and look,I pitched for Robert and Tommy while working at Ingalls and was very confident in the Merchants to kick and kick hard.
    The so-called fly in was a good friend that owned a plane and flew me up because I had to work and Ricky gave me two weeks to get in shape. I remember well the games on that day. The Merchants were facing the stud from Faulker. He could blow a fastball,but not a lot of control. I wasworking with him in the bullpen and really wasn’t supposed to pitch. After the first gamethe young lefties from South and the stud from the Sunchiefs weretalking with me in the bullpen and I was telling them about control and pitching in on you guys. I wasstillrunning the ball up at upper 80’s. I toldthem some things and they said “since your so good you go do it and show us” Ricky knew me well enough that I take the challenge. That is why I pitched. They had other pitchers,but there’s more to pitching than just throwing. I pitched to show them that I didn’t talk it. Robert didn’t mind because we had great respect for each other. I have many friends that will tell you that I just wanted to pitch. I pitched in the 30 and over until I was 50 because I was training young pitchers and I always taught what I could do. I apologize for the long story,but I have as many found memories as a Merchant as I did as a Royal. My best to you all. My son told me about this site and mentioned my wife Roxie. I have many friends in P’goula and Kim and Tommy are great. I played against Kim in the minors. You guys have a great day.

    Randy McGilberry

  111. mdm says:

    Hey Randy, what a small world. So good to see that you found this site and have provided some interesting reading for those who remember those semi-pro baseball days along the Gulf Coast and more specific, the Jackson County, Ms. area. As you can see, there are many of us on this site that enjoy talking baseball history about the local area. Thanks again for your input on that “title game of ’86”. That was literally the last game in Merchants history as Stallworth hung up his cleats after leading the team for 15 seasons. Congratulations again on your induction into the Alabama HOF….One question, did you and pitcher Roger Parker play at Louisiana Tech together? He played with the Merchants in the 70’s as well correct?

  112. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your response. Roger and I do go back the the Bulldog days. Roger and I missed each other. I cannot remember, but I think he transferred from a Mississippi school to tech. He was a great friendand guy. The thought of Robert Stallworth brings a smile to my face. He was first class and took good care of the team.

  113. Anonymous says:

    So, does anyone know what ever became of Chris Fishburn? I briefly dated him while he was at Southern, but lost touch…would like to know he’s doing well….was a good kid!

  114. Anonymous says:

    Hanging around Chris (I NEVER called him by Fish), began my love for baseball….my son plays short stop as well…and I must say is good…for an 8 yr. old :P…He WILL be attending William Carey’s Baseball Camp shortly!

  115. Thanks for every other informative site. Where else could I am getting that kind of info written in such an ideal method? I have a undertaking that I’m just now running on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

  116. Mike Thomas says:

    On a plane from California enjoyed reading this! If I can, just to let you know, the ’83 team was a great group of guys in addition to being great players! We need to set up an alumni game.

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  118. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone have any info on the 1968 baseball state champions ? And would 31 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings pitched be a school record?

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