Eight teams come to Troy for Sikes’ tournament
"Fitting" is the word Charles Henderson head baseball coach Steve Garrett uses to describe his way of honoring a friend no longer here.
Starting this season, CHHS’s annual Trojan Classic baseball tournament will be titled the Terry Sikes Memorial Invitational.
And for people close to the Trojans’ baseball program, no explanations are needed.
Sikes, a former CHHS player and assistant coach, died last April. He was 38 and left behind a wife, Jennifer, and a son, Trot, born soon after his father’s death.
"Terry Sikes was well loved by the players, the coaches and everyone associated with this baseball team," said Garrett. "This is just something fitting that we could do to honor his memory."
And thanks to Garrett’s hard work during the offseason this year’s tourney will be one of the biggest. Eight teams come to Troy on Monday to kick off the four day tournament.
Dothan and Andalusia start things off at 4:30 on Frazier Field.
Jennifer Sikes will throw out the first pitch. Both Jennifer and her son are still regular fans at every Trojans’ home game.
It was at Jennifer’s urging that Garrett and CHHS traveled to play a key area game against Carroll-Ozark last season, just one day after her husband’s death. The Trojans won the game and soon after clinched the area title at home.
"She and Trot are still a part of this baseball program and they always will be," said Garrett.
Backing her up at the plate will be a member of last season’s team. Pitcher David Taylor was projected to be the top closer for George Wallace Junior College as freshmen this season, but a car wreck in November left him with a number of injuries, the most extensive of which was to his pitching arm.
Taylor had to endure numerous surgeries to repair bone, muscle and skin tissue to his right arm.
Garrett said Taylor took a redshirt year at GWJC this season and has been working out a Troy State.
"David’s doing good," he said. "He’s been throwing off the mound some at Troy State and he’s really just working on getting the ball across the plate right now. Hopefully, he can come back to where he was before the accident."
As for the tournament, Garrett is pleased with the seven other teams he was able to draw to Troy.
"It’s a headache sometimes," said Garrett about putting the tournament together. "But this year should be a strong tournament. We’ve got some quality teams coming in here."
Along with Andalusia and Dothan, this year’s field also features Northview, Mosley High School of Florida, Enterprise, Opelika, and Smiths Station.
CHHS will play Dothan at 7 p.m., following the Tigers’ game against Andalusia. The Bulldogs will then head up the street to the newly renovated Riddle-Pace Field and play Enterprise.
The Trojans are currently
3-1 on the year.
"We’re a real young team and we’re going to be starting at least four or five sophomores each game," said Garrett. "But they’ve been doing the job so far. Where it hurts us the most is our junior varsity squad. Most of the kids on varsity would be playing JV ball this season if we had more upperclassmen and that would mean our junior varsity would be strong."
The lone senior on this year’s team, Alex Long, is a transfer from South Montgomery County Academy.