Getting back to my roots: Goodman’s final farewell, ‘a ride I’ll never forget’
Chapter I on the “getting back to my roots tour” began Thursday with a trip to Fort Cobb to watch the semifinals of a Class A Regional, and it was a great outing to say the least.
It started with a trip to the hospitality room — no I didn’t eat a thing — where one of Southwest Oklahoma’s best sports history buffs, Larry Bellamy, was holding court.
Yours truly got to know the Bellamy family nearly 60 years ago when I first started showing sheep. Of course, the Bellamy family was known for great hogs, so our paths crossed just about every week during the spring and fall livestock show seasons.
Larry and brother Mike were always great if I needed help. We’ve been great friends ever since and seeing both of them was one of the highlights Thursday.
Larry played prep ball against many area residents and then became a top softball pitcher, using his knuckleball to throttle many a slow pitch slugger.
“Those Lawton teams, especially that Southwest Furniture team with David Frost, Art Hudson, Terry Perryman and those guys was one of the best teams I ever saw,” Bellamy said. “It was always fun playing those guys and the other good Lawton teams. We had some great games in the state tournament.”
These days Bellamy stays up with everything relating to Fort Cobb-Broxton sports and is not bashful about his opinions.
During the Mustangs’ big win over Sterling boys, he turned and told me “If Kellen Hines isn’t the best player in Class A, there is something wrong,” Bellamy said. “He can do so many things besides just score.”
I hadn’t seen Hines in person for a year or so and he does seem to be an amazing talent. He has a nice step-back move that caught Sterling off-guard numerous times for open treys. If the Tigers got too tight on defense, he’d just blow by them and get to the rim or draw a double-team and find an open teammate.
And, seeing two other Bellamy boys — Dru and Bo — was another thrill Thursday. The boys are the sons of Fort Cobb-Broxton baseball coach Dale Bellamy and wife Jenna, my great-niece. They serve as water boys for the Mustangs, but before the games they helped me out and then Dru served as my assistant during the exciting Fort Cobb-Fletchers girl’s game.
After looking at the playoff pairings, it’s obvious that the OSSAA isn’t making the Mustangs’ bid for a five-peat an easy march as the four teams that were playing in the regional title games last night are all ranked in the top 10 of Class A.
The Mustangs are No. 1 at 20-7 and were scheduled to face No. 10 Vici (24-3) last night for that title there in Fort Cobb.
Meanwhile in the Central High Regional, the finalists on the boy’s side last night were No. 6 Cyril (21-3) and No. 9 Velma-Alma, which is 24-0.
The winners of those two games will meet Friday at Cache High School for the Class A Area title and a berth in the state tournament. It will be a jam-packed house for any matchup, but Cache AD Lonnie Nunley would need a shoehorn to crowd in the fans if it is another Cyril-Fort Cobb matchup.
And, this writer is looking forward to those games at Cache where the girl’s bracket will be just as exciting.