Just two short years ago, Benjamin Russell football coach Kevin Smith was getting his first look at his new team in an intrasquad scrimmage back in 2018. Since then, Smith has become a staple at the helm of the Wildcats, and he isn’t the only first-year head coach who got a taste of success this week in history.
On May 16, 2008, Horseshoe Bend went into its spring game versus Woodland having not won a football game in New Site since 2005. The Generals didn’t exactly seem like they’d change their fate that night as they trailed 20-6 in the third quarter.
However, Horseshoe Bend came back stronger than ever under then-interim coach Jason Franklin to win the game, 25-20.
“We will work on everything but we have a lot of positives to build on,” Franklin said at the time. “I feel like we have a good ball club full of heart and chemistry and that will take us a long way during the season.”
Franklin remained in charge of the Generals for the next season before moving on to Holtville, where he is still the head coach of the football team as well as the girls basketball squad.
Just a few short years before that, Dadeville’s softball team was on the big stage and unfortunately the Tigers fell just short. After defeating Glencoe, Alabama Christian Academy and Springville in the state tournament, Dadeville once again matched up with ACA for the championship. However, the Eagles had Dadeville’s number that time and earned a sweep to thwart the Tigers’ chances.
But other teams in the area did get to celebrate championships this week in history. On May 15, 1999, Central Alabama Community College’s softball team swept Meridian Community College in dominating fashion to win its conference championship and earn its third straight berth in the national tournament.
“It was sweet to win it the way we did,” then-CACC coach Jack Byerley said. “We really ripped the ball (that day.) It was awesome.”
CACC left no doubts as it defeated Meridian, 16-1 and 9-1. Although Byerley is no longer the coach, the Trojans have continued their successful tradition under now-head coach Greg Shivers.
Rewind more than 40 years and Alexander City played host to some of the best spring athletes around in the Colonial Coaches All-Star game. On May 18, 1975, players from 13 teams around the area converged on Alex City for the showcase.
Locals to play in the game included Benjamin Russell’s Jackie Harrelson, David Jones, Lawrence Harrell, Freddy Westbrook and Dwayne Keel; Dadeville’s Bob Collins and Rick Love; and Lyman Ward’s David Harden and Kenneth Deems.
State — May 9, 2015
Freshman catcher Carlee Wallace found herself in the spotlight pretty quickly during her first year at Auburn. She needed just one hit to become the hero of the 2015 SEC Softball Tournament as she lined a double into the gap to score Emily Carosone in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Tennessee, 6-5.
The win gave the Tigers their first ever SEC Tournament championship, one night after defeating rival Alabama in the semifinals. Auburn went on to earn the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and made it all the way to Oklahoma City where the Tigers made their first appearance in the Women’s College World Series.
National — May 6, 1998
In just his fifth career start at the MLB level, 20-year old Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs put his name in the record books with some of the all-time greats. Wood tied the all-time record of strikeouts in a game when he sat down 20 batters in a complete game win over the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.
Wood allowed only one hit and one other baserunner — Craig Biggio after getting hit by a pitch — but he never allowed a runner to reach second base in the shutout.
Wood’s 20-strikeout performance is now just one of five in MLB history. The most recent pitcher to reach that mark was Max Scherzer when he struck out 20 in a win over the Tigers. (Fun fact: That game also happened this week in sports history – May 11, 2016.)
International — May 7, 2016
The English Premier League season had not officially concluded yet but the title race was already decided and the celebrations at King Power Stadium were ready to get started. Leicester City became the 24th unique club in the league’s history to hoist the trophy as the Foxes stunned the soccer world by winning the world’s most prestigious league after starting the season with 5000-to-1 odds according to NBC Sports.
The celebration and trophy ceremony came just a few days after Leicester City clinched the title when runners-up Tottenham dropped points in a match against Chelsea. The club’s next match was at home as it got to celebrate in front of home fans in the East Midlands.
— Sports writer Caleb Turrentine contributed to this report.