With a new season in front of them, the Warren County High School Pioneer baseball team has high hopes of going far. Starting with winning ballgames, a district championship, and then to state would be the path players, coaches and fans would like to see.
We’ve been there before, back in 1992, when the Pioneers defeated Germantown for a state championship. While the current Pioneers hope to travel the same way, one former 1992 state champion Pioneer is poised to rekindle old memories.
“We’re trying to get the word out and get as many players as possible,” said Warren County High School teacher and former 1992 champion Pioneer catcher Brent Whitlock. “I can’t believe 25 years have gone by already. It seems hard to believe.”
Whitlock is working to organize a 1992 Warren County baseball state championship 25-year reunion scheduled for March 24-25 where the first day will be a dinner and get-together followed by watching a game on Saturday at Patrick Ramsey Field.
The Pioneers will take on Hixson High School and the 1992 players will be honored before the game. All players and their families will get free admission.
Under head coach Ronnie Brown, the 1992 Pioneers went into the season with a goal to end the program’s streak of losing in the regionals.
With a 29-6 regular season record, the 1992 Pioneers were ready for the next step.
“We felt like, as a coaching staff, we had the material to get outside the district and make a good run in regionals,” coach Brown told the Southern Standard referencing the team’s 20-year anniversary. “I don’t know if we ever realized we’d end up where we did. The kids had tremendous chemistry and were unbelievably clutch.”
In order to get to the state championship, the Pioneers first defeated Kingsport, 7-6, in a tense game as the Pioneers started the contest up six runs.
Warren County took on Germantown twice for the state title in games five and six winning both, 5-4, and 4-2 respectively.
The 1992 Pioneers are:
Coaches: Ronnie Brown, Jimmy Walker, Bobby Cox
Sophomores: T.J. Christian, Brandon Lowry, Dodd Mullican, Jackie Myers (mgr), Jason Norris, Brandon Smartt, Jeremy Smartt, Brandon Yates
Juniors: Matt Crim, Robbie France, Jason Mullican, Corey Nunley, John Partin (mgr), Brent Whitlock, Trevor Wilson
Seniors: Chad Foster, J.W. Holt, Phillip Miller, Heath “Opie” Morris, George Oleksik, and Zac Sain. Oleksik would go on to play at MTSU and was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Several players from the ’92 team went on to play college baseball, including eight of the nine starters from the team. Interestingly, Mickey Callaway, the current Cleveland Indians pitching coach, pitched in the 1992 championship game against the Pioneers while Warren County native and former Pioneer Lester Strode, although not on the 1992 team, is the current bullpen coach for the World Champion Chicago Cubs who played the Indians for the title.
Schedule of events:
• Friday, March 24 - 5:30 p.m. at Bridgestone Learning Center
Reunion meal and evening for 1992 coaches, players, and their families. Meal catered by Prater’s BBQ. Adults $10, children $5. Pay at the door.
• Saturday, March 25 - 2:30 p.m. at Patrick Ramsey Field
Pioneers vs. Hixon High School -- 1992 team will be recognized before the game. Free admission to the game for players and their families.
For more information, contact Brent Whitlock at 212-7859, email@example.com.