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June 16, 2013

Field of memories

Calloway looks back after 36 seasons as Western's coach

(Continued)

Calloway gave an example of how when he was first an assistant with Western, the Panthers ran up against a powerhouse Lafayette Jeff team that was beating teams by the 15-run rule, as the mercy rule worked then, as the defending state champion Bronchos racked up victories in 1974.

“I told the coach at the time, one of these days I wanted to compete at that level. I think getting to that level is the most satisfying thing in coaching that I did.”

Q: What’s the toughest loss, or hardest finish to a season?

A: “There’s no doubt the ‘93 loss to Huntington [in the semistate]. That tore the heart out of you. We were six outs away and we had a three-run lead. The rain came [delaying the finish from Saturday to Monday]. We had a couple dropped foul balls, and a slipped bunt coverage. They caught us. That’s the hardest loss that I’ve ever had. We ended up going 11 innings before we got beat. That was a tough one. That was the toughest one.”

Q: What’s different abut high school baseball, from your point of view, today, compared to 36 years ago?

A: “I think back when I started, we had more three-sport athletes playing baseball than we do now. I think it’s become more specialized. I’m not sure it’s for the better, but that’s the way I see it. Today, you’ve got a lot of kids that play one sport or no more than two.

“And I think the way the kids play in the offseason [has changed]. It started with AAU basketball. The money thing has gotten too out of hand in baseball. I don’t think kids should be paying through the nose in the offseason.

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