The Colonel Journal, Postlude

Another slight interruption

KHSAA Baseball State Records
As of January 24, 2011

Many records are incomplete, and Caverna’s records are not included for the years 1958-1961 and 1972. This is intended to show where Caverna and individual players from Caverna would place in the KHSAA baseball record book. Most, if not all records shown are since 1990.

Individual Highest Season Batting Average ~ 8th Phil Rogers .600 1961

Individual Pitching Career Consecutive Wins ~ 8th (tie) Joe Campbell 14 1959-1961
(Note: Campbell had a career record of 17-1)

Individual Pitching Career Consecutive Wins ~ 12th (tie) Dennis Doyle 12 1960-1961
(Note: Doyle had a career record of 26-2 and also had 10 consecutive wins in 1958-1959)

Individual Pitching Most Career No-Hitters ~ 1st (tie) Dennis Doyle 5 1959-1961

Individual Pitching Most Season No-Hitters ~ 7th (tie) Dennis Doyle 2 1959 & 1961

Individual Pitching Most Season No-Hitters ~ 7th (tie) Bobby Sturgeon 2 1960

Individual Pitching Most Season No-Hitters ~ 7th (tie) Joe Campbell 2 1961

Individual Pitching Most Season Strike-Outs per Game ~ 10th Dennis Doyle 11.8 1961

Individual Pitching Most Season Strike-Outs per Game ~ 12th Joe Campbell 11.2 1961

Individual Pitching Most Consecutive Strike-Outs Game ~ 2nd Dennis Doyle 12 1961

Most State Baseball Championships ~ 11th (tie) Caverna 2 1961, 1972

Team Pitching Most Season No-Hitters ~ 2nd (tie) Caverna 4 1961

Team Most Triple-Plays in a Game ~ 1st (tie) Caverna vs Waggener 1 1961
(Note: final play of state championship game)

Best Winning Percentage In State Baseball Tournaments ~ 4th Caverna, 7-2, .778 (In 1959-1961, 1972)
(Minimum 5 games played)


The Colonel Journal, May 11-12, 1961

Thursday-Friday, May 11-12, 1961

Caverna Wins District 4th Year In A Row

Rain pushed the opening game of the Caverna Baseball District Tournament back a day from Tuesday to Wednesday and the games making up the semi-finals and finals would be rescheduled to Thursday and Friday. Caverna received a Bye and was not scheduled to play until the second game of the semi-finals.
Another thunderstorm around noon on Thursday left water standing at many places on the field, but particularly at home plate and first base. For the second day in a row, a trip to Square Deal Lumber would return with a pick-up load of sawdust and that along with some big brooms put to good use had the first semi-final game between Cub Run and Hart Memorial underway by 1:30.
WLOC Radio, located in Munfordville, was broadcasting the entire tournament live. The two announcers were attired casually, but if my memory serves me correctly, both were wearing straw-brimmed hats as the sun broke through at the beginning of the game. There was a momentary delay to the broadcast as a 100’ extension cord that ran from the table with broadcast equipment to the back door of the gym became unplugged. The broadcast team had just settled in on folding chairs directly behind home plate. Finally with the reconnection made, Umpire Carroll Elliot, whose primary job was as a state police dispatcher, boomed in a strong voice, “Play Ball!” If there was a National Anthem played, I do not recall it.
The game was being played at an early hour and there was not a sizable crowd. Normally, school was not dismissed until 3:00 P.M., and I do not remember if there was a good fan base of students who may have waggled an early dismissal. I just know that I was there. Someone had to be the official scorekeeper and it might as well have been me.
Cub Run, the smallest and most remote school in the district, had upset Munfordville by a score of 4-3 on Tuesday and was facing Hart Memorial in the first semi-final game. Cub Run again pulled the upset as the Cubs defeated the Polar Bears, 3-2, to become the first team to reach the district final. The second semi-final would feature the two teams most people considered the top two teams in the district, Larue County and Caverna. Caverna was seeking its fourth consecutive district title and was the consensus favorite, but Larue County had pushed the Colonels to extra innings in the district final two years ago and still had the same formable pitcher who had pitched that game in Sandidge. Let’s listen in to the game broadcast.
“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentleman, and welcome to today’s second district semi-final game where the Colonels of Caverna coached by Ralph Dorsey will take on the Hawks of Larue County coached by Corky Cox. By the fortune of the draw The Hawks will be the home team on the scoreboard, and they start in the field, and there they go now (slight applause). Sandidge walks to the mound and Lindsey takes his place behind the plate to receive the warm-up tosses. The sun has come out and it appears the rain is behind us. The field is still mostly mud however, and Sandidge is already cleaning his spikes. Leading off for Caverna will be second baseman David Moore.
“OK, we are ready to play ball! Moore walks, bringing up center fielder Don Lindsey, as catcher Tom Lindsey sets up behind the plate. Strike one! Moore breaks for second and he is in there, even on this slow track. Here comes the next pitch…Fly ball to centerfield, Riggs is under it, out one…. Batting third for Caverna is Phil Rogers, maybe the leading hitter in the state.
“I am told we have major league scouts from Boston, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and San Francisco here today. Rogers hits a ball between first and second and Moore scores to put Caverna up 1-0. Doyle hits a single and Rogers goes to third. Campbell sends a hit deep to left and both Rogers and Doyle score making it 3-0. The Colonels are off and running. ….
“…… Doyle takes the mound for Caverna and mows the Hawks down, 1, 2, 3, ….” …An hour or so later…
“….Doyle throws a no hitter!!! Caverna wins 12-0!”

“The final is set. Cub Run, looking a bit weary and maybe fatigued, from their two upset victories the past days will be batting first. Joe Campbell, who carries a 5-0 record into the game, the same as Dennis Doyle, is on the mound for Caverna. Cub Run has provided excitement to the tournament with a 4-3 late inning win over Munfordville on Wednesday and an extra inning 3-2 win over Memorial yesterday.
“Day leading off for Cub Run. He bats left against right hander Campbell. He chops the ball toward shortstop Dennis Doyle who charges the ball. Third baseman Toohey cuts it off, pivots, and throws to first baseman Rogers. Safe! The base umpire calls him safe! It could not be by more than a half-step if that. And with that, Cub Run has the first hit in two years of tournament play against Caverna. Bobby Sturgeon and Dennis Doyle had back to back no-hitters in the district last year and Dennis Doyle pitched a no-hitter yesterday.
“…and Campbell comes back after giving up that lead-off hit and strikes out Logsdon, Taylor, and Doug Thompson in order in the top of the first. We’ll be right back after these announcements as Caverna come to bat in bottom of the first.
“Welcome back sports fans. David Moore will be leading off for Caverna against Logsdon of Cub Run. Doug Thompson, catching for Cub Run, as Moore takes the first pitch all the way. Strike One! Here comes the next pitch, Moore swings and drives the ball into the gap between center and right field. It’s in there for extra bases, Moore is into second base with a stand-up double. Caverna again off to a good start. …and Caverna scores twice in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead.
“…. Caverna scores 5 in the bottom of the second to move out to a 7-0 lead. ….After three innings Caverna is now ahead 9-0. Caverna has now scored in every inning to move ahead 10-0 after four innings as Cub Run has gone to its 4th pitcher in the game.
“Here we are in the top of the fifth inning and if Cub Run does not score, the game is over. By special mercy rule, a team leading by 10 runs after 5 innings wins and ends the game. Cub Run has only had three base runners and has not hit a ball out of the infield. Marvin Thompson leading off hits a slow grounder to second baseman Moore who throws to Rogers on first for the out. …Campbell fans the final batter and Caverna wins 10-0 on Campbell’s one hitter to capture the district crown for the fourth year in a row and will be playing in the regional tournament in Glasgow’s Gorin Park where WLOC in Munfordville will be bringing you the action.”
Caverna is now 12-0 on the season with Campbell, 6-0, and Doyle, 5-0, leading the pitching corps. During the last four seasons Doyle and Campbell have a combined career mark of 37-1. Doyle is 23-1 with his only loss coming against Lexington Lafayette by a score of 1-0 in the state tournament in 1959. He has won 13 in a row. Campbell has a career mark of 14-0 dating back through the 1959 season.

May 12, 1961, The Park City Daily News & May 14, 1961, The Park City Daily News

The Colonel Journal, May 10, 1961

Wednesday, May 10, 1961

Caverna Announces Senior Class Honors

Many of the 1961 graduates of Caverna High School will continue their education in post-secondary schools. Patsy Doyle Sturgeon will be attending Western. Sue London, instead of going to Murray, went to Spencerian College in Louisville. Amelia Kessler and Jimmy Grider would also be attending Western. Tommy Mountjoy would be going to Centre in Danville. Joel McCubbin would be starting out at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. Byron Neal Wilson would start out at the University of Maryland. Janice Dossey and Larry Gilpin would be at Murray State. Phillip Borden would begin at the University of Louisville. Sue Donohue and Phyllis Hewitt would be attending the University of Kentucky. David Moore would be at Eastern. Dennis Doyle would accept a basketball scholarship to Morehead State, where he would be joined by Joe Campbell who was receiving a baseball scholarship. Phil Rogers would begin football practice in the fall at Maryland State, before joining the Air Force. Bill Strickland would also join the Air Force. Overall, more than half of the 40 graduates of Caverna High’s Class of 1961 would be attending schools of higher education. Still others would join them in later years.

Charles Childress, who taught Senior World History and International Relations, and Arlene Clark, who taught Senior English, served as senior class sponsors. Ann Who taught home economics, Professor Newton Thomas taught physics and trigonometry, Ms Blue Hair taught general business, typing and bookkeeping and Brother Harry Rose, pastor of the Horse Cave Church of Christ, taught speech and drama and directed the senior play. Those six teachers taught most of the seniors.

Marie Shuster was teaching algebra and Ruth Saunders would move from junior high to teach senior English next year.

First year teachers included Jean Patterson Robinson and her husband, “Cotton”, who was the head football coach, Joe Duvall, who would go on to teach at Caverna for something like 100 years, and Bob Chapman who was assistant coach of everything.

Bill Webb was the guidance counselor. Robert “Jake” Doyle and James Minor were high school custodians and mentors to young men and Marion Reynolds and Charley Isenberg were school bus drivers… and mentors to young men.

Ralph Dorsey was the superintendent of schools. Wilbur Smith was the principal of the high school and junior high school. B. H. Weaver was principal at the Horse Cave Elementary School. Jack Borden was principal at the Cave City Elementary School; his wife was cafeteria manager at the high school.

(Note: My 1960-1961 Caverna Yearbook was left in a room at the fifty year reunion and I am relying on a very forgetful memory until I can get my hands on another.)

May 10, 1961, The Park City Daily News

The Colonel Journal, May 8, 1961

Monday, May 8, 1961

Caverna District Baseball Tournament This Week

Caverna will be seeking its 4th district title in four years when it hosts the district tournament beginning on Tuesday and running through Thursday. Caverna has not lost a game to a district rival since Hart Memorial captured the district title in 1957. In 1958 Caverna advanced to the regional final before losing to Fort Knox. Caverna won the regional in 1959 and lost to Lexington Lafayette 1-0 in the first round of the state tournament. Last year, in 1960, Caverna won their first round game in the state tournament before losing to Owensboro in the semi-finals. In order to continue the progression this year the Colonel will have to reach the state final. Due to problems with wet springs the last few years, the regional tournament will be held at Glasgow two weeks after the district, the week of May22, and the state tournament will be held at UK in Lexington two weeks after the regional, the week of June 5.

Sixty-four district tournaments will reduce a field of over 400 teams state wide, to just 64 teams, that will continue play in one of eight regional tournaments. Unlike basketball, where each district get two teams into a regional, baseball is a game in which one loss means the season is over. Only one of the over four hundred teams that start district play this week will display an undefeated tournament record.

May 8, 1961, The Park City Daily News

The Colonel Journal, May 5-6, 1961

Friday, May 5, 1961

Caverna at Taylor County, Cancelled

A rainy spring continued to play havoc with the high school baseball schedule. For the second time this season, a game would be cancelled and not be re-scheduled. One postponement against this same Taylor County team had already been re-scheduled and played at Caverna. Two other postponements are yet to be played. With the district tournament scheduled for next week, the return game at Taylor County would not be re-scheduled.

Saturday, May 6, 1961

Caverna 8 Glasgow 4

Three years ago Caverna met Glasgow in a first round game of the regional tournament and the Scotties had things well in control leading 13-5 in the seventh inning with Caverna a strike away from elimination with the bases empty. Somehow Caverna came back to tie the game and win 14-13 in extra innings. You can hardly fault Glasgow for not having scheduled the Colonels the past two seasons with the sting of that defeat still on their minds. This Scottie team was hopeful, though, having already handed regional powerhouse Warren County their only loss of the season. Young Glasgow left-hander hurler, Murray’s slow junk baffled Caverna in the early going, but Joe Campbell, 5-0, had his best start of the season retiring the first thirteen batters that he faced. Caverna broke open the game in the top of the third by scoring 5 runs to take a 5-0 and by the top of the sixth had increased the lead to 8-0. At about this time Glasgow must have remembered the eight run lead they had against Caverna a couple of years before and decided it was time for a little reverse déjà vu. An error, a couple of hit batters, three walks, a bloop single, and possibly a couple of passed balls later, Glasgow, who was only able to put six men on base, had responded with four runs of its on and narrowed the lead to 8-4. Maybe it was because of the game being played in the early morning; maybe it was the still wet conditions, but Caverna looked nothing like the team that had played its best game of the year two days before. Still, an eleven hit attack was enough to prevent Glasgow from gaining revenge for possibly the most embarrassing defeat a high school baseball team has ever experienced in the history of the game.

May 7, 1961, The Park City Daily News

The Colonel Journal, May 4, 1961

Thursday, May 4, 1961

Caverna 14 Campbellsville 2

It looked quite different 50 years ago. You will have to use your imagination. The former Horse Cave High School faced College Street from the center of the U. You can vaguely make out the sidewalk leading up to the front of the building. A Kentucky History book that my father used illustrated the school building as an example of a “modern school that was replacing the one-room school house” in the 1920’s. A primary school of four classrooms and a full-sized gymnasium was built to the right (east), below (south of) the connection drive to Comer Avenue in the 1930’s when Horse Cave was a state power in basketball. In 1961, the home of Caverna High School principal Wilbur Smith was on the corner of College and Comer inside the block. Across College Street on the north side across from the school were the residences of, from the left, the Poynters, The Gilpins, The Shusters, the Nevilles, The Grubbs, and the Donohues. Senior Sue Carol Donohue was head cheerleader at Caverna in 1960-61.

Behind the gym, on the lower right side of the U was home-plate of the baseball field facing southeast. The metallic back stop, freshly painted silver, with high grade wire, ran behind the first baseline, east, all the way to first base and ran behind the third base line all the way to third base. Three sets of wooden bleachers were behind the backstop, one directly behind home plate and one each behind the first base and third base benches.

The infield and most of left field was dirt. What grass there was in right field was mostly scrub-grass. The left field line ran south, some 250’ and then the backyards of the neighboring residents came into play. (There were no trees there in 1961, and some foul balls were said to have once been found in the kitchen of the first house.) A farm fence separated what was then the corn field (maybe I am just thinking of “Field of Dreams”) in the lower left from the baseball diamond. The corner post of the field was in dead-center field, some 330’ from home plate. Balls hit to the right or left of the corner post usually ended up as long outs. A fence in right field, probably 375’ down the right field line, separated the school property from another adjoining field.

To the north of the first base line, just to the west of the U driveway was the school playground with a sliding board, merry-go-round, and jungle gym. To the east of the third base line near Comer Avenue, were the two asphalt paved high school tennis courts enclosed by a chain link fence.

So, why is it important on this day to know about the home field? Because on this day, May 4, 1961, there were two trot-off home runs hit into that cornfield in center field. In the early 1950s the fence had extended to the left field foul pole and seeing a home run hit to left was not uncommon. (I think I remember my cousin Donny Woodward hitting one in 1953.) But since the subdivision was added and that left field fence came down, no balls had been hit out of the park that I know of. And today, not one, but two were lost in the cornfield. It seemed appropriate that both were stroked by current first baseman and former centerfielder Phil Rogers. In a past season, Rogers had once roamed into a backyard in deep left center to make a diving bare hand catch raising the ball in the air as he lay on his back. Today, he increased his legend with his offense, while maintaining a season batting average of over .600.

Rogers was definitely the Player of the Day as Caverna improved to 9-0 on the season. His performance overshadowed a pitching performance by Dennis Doyle who pitched a two-hitter, giving up two infield singles. Doyle’s hitless inning string ended at seventeen, as he gave up his first hits of the season. He also included two doubles among his three hits.

Junior center-fielder Don Lindsey improved his batting average to over .400 in his first year as a starter and senior second-baseman, David Moore, known for his defense, increased his batting average to over .300. Overall, the Colonels rapped out 18 base hits in the victory.

May 5, 1961, The Park City Daily News

The Colonel Journal, May 3, 1961

Wednesday, May 3, 1961

Caverna vs Glasgow

“Caverna’s scheduled game with Glasgow there today has been postponed until Saturday morning.” (possibly due to wet grounds.)

The game would be Caverna’s only chance to play at Gorin Park, the site of the regional tournament the last two years, and also the site of the regional for this season.

Gorin Park was the only park that the Colonels would play in that had outfield fences surrounding the entire field. The solid wooden fences were stained black and prevented anyone outside the park from looking in. The left field fence was behind a sloping terrace and measured slightly over 300’ down the line. The distance to dead center was around 350’ though it was unmarked and the distance to the right field foul pole was 275’, in kind of a “Pesky-esque” way.

Before the 1959 season the regional tournament had been held at the Western Kentucky State College Diamond in Bowling Green. In 1959, Caverna had won the first regional tournament to be held at Gorin Park in Glasgow. One of the highlights had been a Joe Campbell trot-off home room hit well over the left field fence in a semi-final win against Bardstown St. Joe. Caverna defeated Campbellsville in the final to advance the state tournament for the first time.

In 1960, Caverna defeated Vine Grove at Gorin Park to repeat as regional champions.

For this season, 1961, Caverna was looking for a three-peat, or maybe since the Kentucky Derby was coming up this weekend we should just say they were looking to win the Trifecta.

Although all games would be played in the daytime hours, Gorin Park also had lights for night-time baseball, a covered grandstand and even a press-box and broadcast booth, … and covered dugouts. Enclosed bullpens also extended beyond the first base and third base dugouts.

The thing that the infield did not have was grass.