In 2011, the Baylor Bears’ softball dropped by Madison County High School to take a few rounds of batting practice prior to meeting Georgia in the Super Regional Tournaments in Athens. After Baylor defeated Georgia to advance to the College World Series that year, a superstitious head Coach Glenn Moore wanted to repeat his path to the series this season by bring the Bears back to Raider Field. They came, they practiced, and again they defeated Georgia earning another trip to the World Series in Oklahoma City.
Raider coach Doug Kesler, who retired as head coach of the Raiders after this past season, formed a relationship with Glenn Moore and assistant coach Mark Lumley back in 1999 when they were with LSU.
“I went to see the SEC Tournament and met them there,” said Kesler. “Melissa Mullis, who I did not know at the time, was on that team and would later become my assistant coach here at MCHS.”
Kesler and Moore had limited conversation over the next 10 years, but when the Baylor team advanced to the Super Regionals in Athens in 2011, Kesler contacted them to see if they would be interested in practicing at Raider Field. Coach Moore and Baylor accepted the invitation and arrived in Madison County and the rest was history.
“This year, I saw they were coming back to Athens and I texted coach Moore to see if they wanted to come back to Danielsville,” said Kesler.
Baylor was repeating their steps from 2011 and made another appearance a couple of weeks ago before facing Georgia again in the Super Regionals. “Immediately, he sent me a text back and said he was just getting ready to send me a text asking if they could come back to our field. He said he was superstitious and would love to come and practice at our field again,” said Kesler.
Baylor coaches and players were met for a second time by the Raider Softball Booster Club who greeted the team with goodie bags. Kesler stated that the Baylor coaches and players were impressed with the facilities, new field house, and the hospitality of the Raider faithful.
“Coach Moore made the statement that our folks have it going on here and that there are very few high schools in the country that have facilities like this,” said Kesler.
Following a Saturday win over Georgia that gave Baylor another trip to the World Series, Kesler, knowing that Baylor’s budget would not allow them to make another trip by to Madison County to practice prior to game one of the series, decided to take Raider Field to the Baylor team.
“I thought it would be neat to take coach Moore a bag of dirt from our field and give it to him since they wouldn’t be able to return here for practice,” said Kesler. “I went to our field and got a small bag of dirt and wrote on the outside of the bag; Authenic Infield Dirt from Madison County Georgia.”
Kesler then drove to Athens and gave the special bag of Raider Field dirt to the Bears and Coach Moore.
“He was so excited to get it and told me that this bag of Raider dirt was going to be poured on the field in Oklahoma City at the World Series,” said Kesler.
Later that day, in text message to Kesler, Coach Moore stated that when he got on the team bus he showed the girls the field dirt from Madison County and it pumped the girls up and they began to cheer.
“I told them what Kesler said about our budget not allowing us to travel back to Raider Field and that the dirt would be poured onto the Oklahoma City field during our practice time,” said Moore.
“We’re excited about a little of Red Raider Softball becoming a part of the College World Series with our dirt being scattered over the field there,” said Kesler. “Obviously, most of us are all UGA fans and this doesn’t diminish that, it’s just that the game of softball is bigger than any one institution. It’s a game that has helped our school and county reach beyond state borders and people who have never heard of MCHS or Daniesville and those people will now have fond memories and good thoughts about us.”
The Bears lost to Florida in game one 11-0 in the World Series, but bounced back to beat Florida State 7-2. Baylor then came from a 7-0 deficit in game three to defeat Kentucky 8-7 in extra innings.