Caverna Colonels First Basketball Season

In a lengthy article in the Hart County News on November 30, 1950, details are given of Caverna High School’s season opening win at Hart Memorial on Tuesday, November 28. It was the first basketball game ever played by the newly formed Caverna Independent School System. No box score was given, but based upon the detailed summary of the game the following could be constructed:

Caverna 58: Buddy Stuart 24, Bobby Bybee 10, Joe Burks 10, Bobby Hawkins 6, Bobby Hensley 5, Lowell Braden 2, Kenny Sidwell 1

Memorial 37: Short 13, Rotan 10, Mellan 9, Crabtree 3, Logsdon 2

Caverna 12 12 14 20 – 58
Memorial 06 13 07 11 – 37

Officials: McGuffey and Denham
Scorer: Woodberry Bohannon
Timer: Reynolds
Coaches: Caverna, Dorsey; Memorial, Bird

Caverna would go on to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Lexington where they would lose a first round game to Danville. As reported in the Middlesboro Daily News, under Tourney Highlights:


At Fort Knox after winning the 6th Region Tournament with the regional trophy


L to R Coach Ralph Dorsey, Bobby Bybee, Bobby Hawkins, Don Woodward, Bobby Hensley, Kenny Sidwell, Buddy Stuart, Joe Burks, Wendell Cherry, Chester Adair, Jimmie Godwin, Manager Tommy Smith. Cheerleaders: Joyce Campbell, Toni Neely, Ruth Chambers, Rebecca Curd, Peggy Blankenship, and Joyce Patterson.


Caverna Basketball 1950-1962

Caverna Colonels, Coach Ralph C. Dorsey

1951 Final Record 24 – 8

22nd District
Caverna 55, Hart Memorial 36
Caverna 43, Magnolia 39
Hodgenville 50, Caverna 47

Region 6 at Fort Knox
Caverna 39, Columbia 34
Caverna 40, Elizabethtown 38
Caverna 40, Fort Knox 36

State Tournament at U.K.’s new $4 million Memorial Coliseum
Danville 47, Caverna 42

1952 Final Record 25 – 5

22nd District
Caverna 57, Cub Run 41
Caverna 46, Magnolia 37
Caverna 49, Buffalo 43

Region 6 at Fort Knox
Vine Grove 46, Caverna 42

1953 Final Record 34 – 3

22nd District
Caverna 82, Buffalo 56
Caverna 73, Hodgenville 47
Caverna 76, Magnolia 42

Region 6 at Fort Knox
Caverna 69, Lebanon 40
Caverna 85, Bardstown St. Joseph 42
Caverna 56, Campbellsville 54 (OT)

State Tournament at Memorial Coliseum, Lexington
Caverna 67, Louisville Flaget 50
Caverna 70, Hazard 67
Paducah Tilghman 60, Caverna 59
Caverna 66, Newport Catholic 61

1954 Final Record 25 – 6

22nd District
Caverna 60, Hodgenville 30
Caverna 70, Munfordville 46
Caverna 76, Hart Memorial 62

Region 6 at Adair County, Columbia
Caverna 72, Greensburg 56
Caverna 48, Hart Memorial 47 (3 OT’S)
Adair County 63, Caverna 59

1955 Final Record 10-15

22nd District at Hart Memorial, Hardyville
Caverna 64, Magnolia 62
Hart Memorial 58, Caverna 55

Region 6 at Campbellsville
Vine Grove 51, Caverna 32

1956 Final Record 21 – 8

22nd District at Hart Memorial, Hardyville
Caverna 65, Hodgenville 57
Caverna 80, Hart Memorial 74

Region 6 at Elizabethtown
Glendale 59, Caverna 58 (OT)

1957 Final Record 10-13

22nd District at Hart Memorial, Hardyville
Magnolia 65, Caverna 57

1958 Final Record 15-13

22nd District at Caverna, Horse Cave
Caverna 53, Munfordville 40
Caverna 78, Magnolia 65
Hodgenville 56, Caverna 54

Region 6 at Campbellsville
Bloomfield 40, Caverna 37

1959 Final Record 15 – 8

22nd District at Hart Memorial, Hardyville
Hart Memorial 56, Caverna 51

1960 Final Record 22 – 5

22nd District at Hart Memorial, Hardyville
Hart Memorial 66, Caverna 55

1961 Final Record 27 – 4

22nd District LaRue County
Caverna 80, Munfordville 44
Caverna 56, LaRue County 52 (OT)
Caverna 72, Hart Memorial 42

Region 6 at at LaRue County
Caverna 65, Bloomfield
Caverna 67, Taylor County 59
Elizabethtown Catholic 63, Caverna 58 (OT)

1962 Final Record 1 – 22

22nd District LaRue County

LaRue County 52, Caverna 37

During Caverna’s first twelve years, the basketball team achieved:

9 Winning Seasons.
8 Regional Tournaments
5 District Championships (District Runner-Up 3 Times)
2 Regional Championships (Regional Runner-Up Twice)
2 State Tournaments
1 Third-Place Finish in the State Tournament

And an over-all record of:

229 – 110 for a winning percentage of 0.676

With appreciation to Bob Mays and his KENTUCKY SPORTS HISORY

~ whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God ~

I Corinthians 10:31

The Colonel Journal, June 9, 1961

Thursday, June 9, 1961

Caverna Edges Waggener 1-0
For State High School Title

In the early morning in the hallway of an upper floor of the Phoenix Hotel in downtown Lexington, Kentucky there was a gathering of the Caverna baseball team to hear a few final words from Coach Ralph Dorsey before traveling to the University of Kentucky campus to take on Lexington Lafayette. And then Coach Dorsey prayed… Not for victory, but a prayer of thanksgiving for the journey that had brought them all to this point. Then…

In the semifinals, Caverna avenged their 1959 state tourney conqueror, Lexington Lafayette by winning 5-2 on Campbell’s one-hitter to move into the final against Jefferson County’s Waggener High School whose starting pitcher Ken Lewis had been spectacular. Caverna, who had held their graduation the week before, graduated 40 seniors. Waggener, in suburban Louisville, had over 2000 students.

After a scoreless first three innings, Doyle walked in the fourth inning and scored the game’s first run on Campbell’s booming 425-foot triple to left.

The score remained 1-0 until the seventh and final inning. Doyle started the inning with a no-hitter in progress and only needed three outs to record the state championship for Caverna. However he would be facing the heart of the order with Waggener’s 4th, 5th, and 6th place batters coming to the plate. Clean-up man Patrick ended the no-hitter.

From the story in the Park City Daily News the next day:
After Patrick’s single to short center, Bruce Martin was safe on a fielder’s choice. He hit a skipper to third baseman Barry Toohey, who tried to get Patrick at second but was late as the ball stuck in his glove.
“I was still confident they would never score off Dennis,” said Coach Ralph Dorsey, “But I never expected the game to end as it did.”
The next batter, Steve Porter, hit a medium fly to centerfielder Don Lindsey. Patrick tried to advance to third after the catch, but was an easy out on Lindsey’s peg to Toohey. When Martin tried to advance to second on the play Toohey threw to second baseman David Moore who made the tag to end the triple play.

I can still see the play as clearly today as I did almost fifty years ago. The ball was fairly deep to left-center field. Lindsey circled back and under the ball as he was moving toward third base, making the catch and relaying a throw toward third. Toohey was hollering at the cut-off man, shortstop Joe Campbell, to let the throw come through. Robust home-plate umpire Carroll Elliot, looking splendid in blue, who also doubled as a state police dispatcher, was hustling up the third base line and calling the batter out on the fly ball. It was a perfect one-hop throw to the inside of the bag and Toohey applied the tag as Joe Campbell and everyone else was hollering to Toohey, “Second, throw it to second base.” “Out”, again was shouted and signaled by umpire Elliot. Toohey’s throw was almost as good as Lindsey’s, as Moore made the catch and applied the tag on a close play that Waggener players, coaches, and fans to this day claim was the wrong call. Nevertheless, base umpire C.M. Newton, then the basketball coach at Transylvania College and later to be the athletic director at the University of Kentucky made the call; “OUT!!!”

It took a moment for the play to register to everyone on the bench, including me, but once it did everyone cleared the bench and charged the field…that Lindsey, Toohey and Moore were not injured in the resulting pile-on was in itself a small miracle.

Final score: Caverna 1 Waggener 0.

The Rest of the Story:

The Colonel Journal, June 8, 1961

I am sure if Ralph Dorsey had thought of it, he would have taken his tape out to the UK baseball field and measured the distances from the mound to home plate and the distances between the bases, just like they did at Buler Fieldhouse in the movie Hoosiers.  It would be the first time all year Caverna had played on a field with a grass infield.  Still there were no outfield fences.

Wednesday, June 8, 1961

Caverna Defeats Owensboro in State Tourney

The team had come up on Tuesday and stayed at the Phoenix Hotel in downtown Lexington. Most of the rest of us had risen really early on Wednesday to make the 3-hour trip to Lexington from Horse Cave and Cave City. WLOC in Munfordville was there early too, broadcasting back to the local station whose antenna was sending out a signal barely strong enough to reach Cave City, twelve miles to the south. Very few expected the Caverna team would be staying over for the second round of the tournament. As it turned out, Owensboro would be the one rushing back to the hotel to check out early and Caverna would be moving down the halls to check into their vacated rooms.

Because Caverna opened the state tournament by avenging their only two losses of the season, plus their state tournament defeat from a year ago, as they defeated Owensboro, 3-1, with Dennis Doyle pitching a two hitter. Joe Campbell had scored the Colonels first run after hitting a magnificent triple to deep left, some 400 hundred feet away, and then scored on a passed ball. David Moore’s hit, an inning later, never left the infield, but it was the game breaker.

I was supposed to be back at work on Thursday in the Snowball Dining Room in Mammoth Cave National Park. So was David Moore! At least he had a place to stay; I was scouring to find accommodations and another ride home on Thursday.

The Colonel Journal, June 1, 1961

Thursday, June 1, 1961

Caverna Captures Conference Title
Prepares For State

Before the state tournament, Caverna defeated Tompkinsville to capture the regular season S.K.A.C. (South Kentucky Athletic Conference) title undefeated, compiling an overall record of 16-2 going into the state tournament. Caverna’s only losses for the season had been in the doubleheader to Owensboro. The draw to the state tournament was held and Caverna was to face Owensboro in the first round.

The Colonel Journal, May 25-26, 1961

Thursday-Friday, May 25-26, 1961

Caverna Wins Regional For Third Straight Year

The next step was the regional tournament held again at Gorin Park in Glasgow. Caverna defeated Clarkson and Elizabethtown to move into the finals where they would face a 21-2 Warren County team led by pitcher Glen Ford and all-around player Coy Meadows. Ford and Meadows had played with Doyle, Campbell, and Rogers on Bowling Green’s Junior American Legion baseball team the previous summer. In a well-played game by both teams Caverna eked out a 2-1 win, as Doyle bested Ford, to capture the regional championship and secure a third consecutive trip to the state tournament in Lexington. Doyle recalls a play by second baseman David Moore as the pivotal play of the game. With runners in scoring position and two out, a hobbled Coy Meadows hit a liner over second base that seemed headed to center field. But somehow, Moore was able to get there with a diving play and snagged the ball on one-hop and threw Meadows out at first on a close play. Had not Meadows previously sprained his ankle, Moore’s throw would have been too late. It was beginning to look like Caverna had a date with Destiny.

The Colonel Journal, May 20, 1961

Saturday, May 20, 1961

Owensboro Slams Caverna In Doubleheader

No newspaper articles can be found. As best as can be determined, the scores were Owensboro 5 Caverna 0 in the first game with sophomore Woodward, a 6’2” flame thrower, for Owensboro, winning and Doyle losing for Caverna. Campbell lost the second game as Owensboro won 6-2. On a Saturday afternoon in May, Doyle and Campbell doubled and tripled their combined career losses.
To make matters worse, the losses occurred on the home diamond at Horse Cave in front of several major league scouts and before all the home folks and, to say the least, the whole community was discouraged as the team headed to regional play at Glasgow’s Gorin Park the following week.
Last year, Caverna had traveled to Owensboro for a doubleheader where Caverna had won 1-0 behind Doyle’s pitching and tied 0-0 on a game called by darkness after six innings, with now-graduated Bobby Sturgeon pitching that game for Caverna. But Owensboro avenged those losses by beating Sturgeon and Caverna in the state tournament semi-finals. Caverna’s last three losses had all come at the hand of Owensboro.