30 years ago in sports: Helton sings National Anthem, then gets big hit

Published 10:42 am Thursday, July 20, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

A look back at Davie sports 30 years ago …

• Davie’s varsity baseball team vaulted from fifth to second in the Central Piedmont Conference by having a 3-0 week during the 1993 season.

An 11-8 win over Parkland at Krite Field was a wild affair. Bryan Johnson homered as Davie burst to a 5-0 lead. The Mustangs stormed to an 8-5 lead. Davie scored the last six runs to climb one game behind Grimsley. Brad Mecham had a monster game with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs.

“These were some happy young’uns,” coach David Hunt said. “They knew we needed it. In a lot of ways, it was do or die.”

• Sophomore Maria Newsome captured CPC championships in two events for the Davie girls track team. She took titles in the shot put (33-6) and discus (95-5) in a meet that was held at Mt. Tabor. Junior Tracie Sechrest claimed the high jump at 4-10.

For the Davie boys, junior Hamilton Cuthrell finished first in the 100 meters (10.69) and 200 meters (22.0). Freshman James Clement won the long jump (21-0).

Cuthrell shaved his head for the big meet. “He told me that would make him run faster,” coach Cary Powers said.

• Mecham supplied the offensive thump and Davie baseball rallied in the seventh to beat visiting Reynolds 5-4. Couple that with South Rowan’s 7-6 win over Grimsley and Davie was back in first place.

The War Eagles faced a 4-2 deficit going into the bottom of the seventh, and the first batter was retired. Reynolds opened the door by bobbling a Brad Chapman grounder to short. Bubba Coleman singled and then Mecham roped a two-strike, two-run triple to right-center. Davie won in walk-off fashion when Johnson lifted a sac fly to right.

The winning pitcher was reliever Darby Correll, who entered in the sixth and minimized the damage. In the seventh, he worked around two walks and picked up his third win of the season.

Mecham carried the offense with three hits and four RBIs. “And he also scored the game-winner, so he had a hand in every run,” Hunt said.

• Jaime Hunter was an all-conference pitcher who helped Davie softball capture the CPC championship in 1992. She transferred to West Forsyth for her junior year in 1993, taking the Davie-West rivalry to another level. The Titans were 8-0 when they arrived at Rich Park, but they left with a 7-3 loss as Davie moved into a first-place tie with West.

Davie set the tone with three runs in the first inning. Casey Jenkins led off with a single, Jonette Williard reached on an error and Amanda Sigmon singled. That set up the big blow, a two-run hit by a fearless freshman, Tami Ramsey.

“That’s why we call her Rambo,” coach Darrell Steele said of Ramsey. “She bats fourth because she has the big bat.”

The War Eagles led 7-0 before West got on the board. They got two hits from Sigmon, Ramsey and Shannon Davis.

• Brian Long shot a 76 to lead Davie’s golf team in the CPC Tournament at Hillcrest.

While Long finished fifth overall, Davie got a 77 from Chad Carter, a 79 from Karsten Stadsing and an 81 from Jackson Hendricks. Also competing for Davie were Jason Tutterow (85) and Chris Bigenho (87).

Three Davie players finished in the top 12 to earn all-conference honors. They were Long (fourth in the CPC), Carter (ninth) and 12th-place Stadsing, a foreign-exchange student.

• After stumbling to fifth place, Davie baseball ripped off eight straight victories and won the CPC for the sixth time in seven years.

Davie and Grimsley were tied for first before Davie rallied for a 4-3 win over the Whirlies at Rich Park. Then Davie won the title outright by pounding South Rowan 12-0.

“We had our backs to the wall and they took the bull by the horns,” Hunt said.

A home run by Coleman gave Davie a 1-0 lead over Grimsley, but the visitors held a 3-2 lead going into the last of the sixth. That’s when Thad Cassidy came through with a two-out, game-tying single. Jason Tomberlin followed with the go-ahead hit.

On the mound, Marcus King walked none, struck out nine and lifted his record to 5-2.

In the 12-0 cakewalk over South Rowan, King had three hits, a homer and seven RBIs. Chapman had three hits. Brock Keene pitched a two-hitter with 14 Ks and ran his flashy record to 8-1.

• In the track regional meet at Grimsley, Cuthrell earned gold medals in the 100 (10.84) and 200 (22.34) as he remained unbeaten in both events. Clement finished third in the long jump (20-8).

“Ham overtrains and it helped him,” Powers said of Cuthrell. “He was in better shape.”

For the Davie girls, Newsome was second in the discus and third in the shot put. Sherry Blackwell was fourth in the triple jump (31-1).

• Carter and Long shot 76 and 78, respectively, for Davie golf in the Midwest Regional at Pilot Knob Country Club. Although Tutterow was third for Davie at 85, he displayed amazing resolve after scoring an 11 on his first hole, when he hit two shots out of bounds on a par-5. Also participating for Davie were Stadsing (92) and Hendricks (93).

“Jason was 6-over after one and he was 6-over after nine holes,” coach Randall Ward said. “His first hole didn’t get him down. He shot even-par over the next eight. Without that first hole, he shoots in the 70s.”

• Davie girls soccer had heavily-favored West Forsyth on the ropes before the War Eagles settled for a 2-2 tie in overtime.

The War Eagles, who lost the first meeting 4-0, were ahead 2-1 with a minute left in regulation when a hand-ball penalty gave West a penalty kick. West converted the PK to force OT.

After being hampered by an injured ankle for a few weeks, Dana Potts provided a huge lift. The senior striker scored both goals. Her first one gave Davie a 1-0 halftime lead. A West header tied it 1-1 at 45 minutes. Five minutes later, Potts drilled a 20-yard shot to make it 2-1.

“Dana’s not at full strength yet, but she played well,” coach Pete Gustafson said. “I’ve been taping her left ankle heavily.”

Gustafson cited strong efforts from Jami Coleman, Dawn Willard and Shannon Umberger. “I hate that we let it slip away, but it was a major difference from the first time we played them,” he said.

• A first-round playoff baseball game against McDowell was an unforgettable night for Chad Helton. First, he sang the National Anthem. Then in the bottom of the seventh, he doubled in the tying and winning runs in a 2-1 victory.

McDowell lefthander Brad Smith permitted three baserunners through six innings, had a no-hitter going and had a 1-0 lead.

But in the bottom of the seventh, the shortstop bobbled a grounder and Mecham was barely safe at first. After Johnson laid down a sac bunt, King walked. Jason Day, a pinch-hitter who was seeing his 10th at-bat of the year, also walked. The brought up Helton, the No. 8 batter. On a 1-2 count, he jerked a double to the left-field corner that plated Mecham and King. Then Helton was mobbed by teammates. It was Davie’s only hit of the game.

“I’ve said it all year. There’s no quit in these kids,” Hunt said after Davie improved to 21-4.

“I don’t understand why we weren’t hitting (Smith),” Helton said. “We all knew he was meat. But he’s a lefty, so maybe that was playing mental (games) with us.”

“It’s as disappointed as I’ve ever been,” McDowell coach Dennis Blake said. “We had the game under control. But that’s baseball.”

King pitched a five-hitter for six innings and struck out nine. Keene fanned two of three batters in the seventh and left with his 10th win.