NHS baseball fundraiser highlights big weekend

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Apr 25, 2019 at 2:27 PM

NORWALK — Wes Douglas truly believes this weekend will show the best of the best.

And that thought is not just because the two Norwalk High School state semifinal baseball teams will be honored.

The Trucker baseball program again will host its yearly community fundraiser, which is always designed to go back to a local person or group.

On Saturday, that will be ‘Operation Warm’ in conjunction with the International Association of Firefighters, which helps provide winter apparel to children in need.

“I think to have our kids along with their parents and our coaches give back to the community is important,” Douglas said. “This is our sixth year in a row now where we do a community fundraiser.”

On the field, the Truckers (11-6) host Edison (12-3) with the first game of a doubleheader scheduled for 11 a.m. Entering play on Friday, the Truckers and Chargers are both in first-place ties in the SBC Lake and Bay Divisions, respectively.

“It's a good matchup every year, and it's usually played late in the season and both of us are usually in a league race or try to be,” Douglas said of facing Edison. “So we don't always see the top-end pitchers, which equals things out on the field a little bit.

“Edison does a nice job year in and year out, it’s usually a pretty good matchup,” he added. “Depending on the weather, we have nine games in 10 days, with those being two of them. We'll spread out our pitching as best we can to focus on our league games, but we're looking forward to it.”

Throughout the two games, there will be a 50/50 and Chinese basket raffle to also help raise money for Operation Warm.

Also during the doubleheader will be the recognition of the 1978 and 1980 Class AA district and regional championship teams. Norwalk was 18-9 in 1978, a team Douglas played on as a junior, then 20-3 in 1980.

John Deerer was the head coach of both teams, as his Norwalk teams went 139-69 in 10 seasons (1972-81) at the school. Also expected back is one of Deerer’s assistants, Ted Dyckman, who taught at Norwalk from 1975-2002, and was also a longtime area umpire.

“On the same day as the fundraiser, we always try and honor someone from our past, be it coaches, community members or former players,” Douglas said. “This year we're honoring our two Final Four teams. I know Coach Deerer is planning on coming back, as well as Coach Dyckman.

“We'll have a hospitality tent set up for those guys and we'll introduce them — and hopefully they can stay and watch some Trucker baseball and reminisce a little bit and join in the celebration of our program here,” he added.

Capping the weekend will be the fourth annual alumni baseball game at 1 p.m. Sunday. The reunion game of former NHS players will be at the high school field, with food and drinks provided.

“It’s a very laid back alumni game with younger guys, to guys my age still playing fast-pitch,” Douglas said. “We’ll have a catcher and a pitcher, which is usually the younger guys. But it's gone over pretty well. We'll fire up the grill and the guys get to sit around and feel how hold they're getting and reminisce about the good times they've had here.

“We've had between 20 and 30 guys come back each year, and it's been some pretty well-played,” he added. “I think they enjoy coming back and I always enjoy getting to see everybody."

Norwalk is tied for first place in the SBC Lake with Perkins. It has three league games scheduled for today vs. Sandusky, Monday at Tiffin Columbian and Wednesday vs. the Pirates in what could be a winner-take-all game.

This spring is the 48th season of baseball at Norwalk. The program has eight 20-win seasons and has won nine league championships. In tournament play, the Truckers have won 18 sectional titles, and the two district and two regional championships in 1978 and 1980. Norwalk has played in eight district title games total.

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