The 17-5 Cascade Champions are the front-runners in District 9-A this season and have high hopes of a long post-season, but the first order of business for Coach Chris Parker's squad was winning the coveted Dirty Ball Classic versus Cornersville.
Started in 1998, the Dirty Ball Classic began as a joke between former Cascade head coach David Parker (Chris's father) and current Cornersville head Coach Brent Adcox.
"It started as a joke," Adcox said, "Instead of using a white game ball, I found the dirtiest ball I could find and gave it to Cascade to start a game in 1998 and then they began to do the same thing to us."
Parker adds hardware to the tradition
The tradition grew into what is now an annual best of three series between the two schools that got even bigger on Friday night when Parker showed up with the official Dirty Ball Trophy.
"This is such a great way to continue a great tradition," Parker stated, "It's the little things like this that keeps this great game going."
The official dirty ball is provided by the home team and the squads are required to use the ball for the first inning before they can change to a clean ball.
Asked if he had any secrets to messing up the ball at Cascade, Parker grinned and said, "We have a cow pasture right behind home plate and a chicken coop in left field that we utilize."
Series shortened to
Friday's doubleheader at CHS
The usual three game series was shortened to a doubleheader at Cornersville Friday night because of the ominous weather forecast for the weekend so both squads knew that capturing the hardware meant a sweep was in order.
The Champions wasted no time as they put the Bulldogs in an early 9-0 first inning hole in game one and cruised to a 16-6 victory.
With their backs to the wall and the Dirty Ball Trophy gleaming in the home dugout, the Dawgs knew they were up against a tough test versus the powerful Champion squad in game two.
Adcox finds a gem of
dirt for game two
It would have to take the dirtiest ball Adcox could find to slow down the Champions and out of the depths of the duffel bag came a blackened, nasty sphere that was hardly recognizable as a baseball.
Bulldog starting pitcher Jake Brewer had the pleasure of trying to grip the musty old ball to start the first inning, but Cascade did not mind the muck because they continued their hot hitting, scoring three runs in the frame.
The boys from Wartrace did not let up as they added two runs in the second and two more in the third to build a 6-0 lead before Cornersville came back with one in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 6-1.
Cascade added two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to make it 9-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. The Bulldogs did not quit as they mustered up some offense, but eventually succumbed 9-1 and had to hand the hardware over to the Champions at the end of the game.
"We will continue to have a long good relationship with Cascade," Adcox said.
Parker was also reverent when he said, "It feels good to have the trophy, all the kids played hard and I want to thank coach Adcox for having us."
Cornersville will spend the next twelve months with anticipation of traveling to Cascade next year to reclaim the Dirty Ball Trophy from their longtime friends and Parker will assuredly be ready with a ball that meets the standards of filth and friendship. There is even talk of throwback uniforms and wooden bats in future Dirty Ball Classics.