still impacts WHS nine
By Steve Behr, sports editor
Winning games on Senior Night can be hit or miss. Often times, it’s held on the last home date of the season, so it all depends on who the opponent is.
Watauga’s baseball team did something else when holding its Senior Night. The Pioneers chose their first home date, which just happened to be No. 3-ranked South Caldwell.
The same South Caldwell that has dominated the Northwestern 4-A Conference since it joined back in 2001.
The same South Caldwell that sent left-handed flamethrower Madison Bumgarner to the San Francisco Giants with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft, and Jimmy Messer to North Carolina.
Yes, the same South Caldwell that won the 2007 state 4-A championship, after finishing as runner-up in 2006.
Senior Night was moved up to the first date to accomodate Watauga pitcher Will Dicus, who has battled cancer since he was 13-years old. Dicus was greeted by a big crowd at Watauga’s field. As a nice gesture, South Caldwell came out of its dugout to greet Dicus and his mother, Pepi, who was at his side.
Usually, opponents ignore what’s going on during Senior Night and just want to get on with it.
“I thought it was very classy on Coach (Jeff) Parham’s part ,” Watauga coach Pete Hardee said. “His team raised $200 for Will’s family. He’s a class act, coach Parham. They’ve got good people there and I appreciate what they did for him.”
There were 11 other seniors honored at the event. Eight of them, when the designated hitter and pitcher are added, start.
Most of them were in Sawmills last year when the Pioneers shocked the Spartans 1-0 behind a brilliant pitching performance by Tyler Moore. South Caldwell was ranked seventh in the nation at the time and was the defending state champs.
The Spartans got their revenge in Boone with an 11-1 pasting of the Pioneers. They also beat Watauga 4-1 in the Northwestern 4-A Conference Tournament in Granite Falls.
Let the rivalry continue.
It’s unlikely that Dicus, who threw a no-hitter against Freedom in a jayvee game last year, will pitch this spring. Then again, underestimating him has always been a mistake. Dicus threw in a handful of varsity games last year and pitched during some summer games.
Even if he does not take the field this year, it does not mean that he doesn’t contribute to the program.
“It was a lot of fun and it was nice to honor Will Dicus,” Hardee said. “He’s a tough kid. I tell him that he’s got more toughness in his little finger than I’ve got in my whole body. He was in the game all seven innings in the dugout. It’s like having an extra coach in there.”