Local folk artist memorializes PLAS title

Published 11:07 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One local folk artist has commemorated Pike Liberal Arts AISA baseball state championship with a series of paintings.

Wally Lowery, who has made a name with his character-filled paintings of animals, places, and anything else with an interesting story, sat and listened as Pike Liberal Arts took Game 1 of the championship series over Tuscaloosa Academy on May 9. The Patriots fell in Game 2, but returned the following day to battle the Knights once again.

"State Champs 2012" by Wally Lowery

As Wally listened to Game 3, he decided to begin a piece to memorialize Pike’s first-ever state baseball title.

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“I’m a huge baseball fan,” Lowry said. “Anytime kids from around here play for a state title, it’s special.”

But as the final game progressed, Wally began to think he had made a terrible mistake.

“As I was painting, they got down 4-0, then 10-1 and started thinking I have jinxed these boys,” he said. “But then the fifth inning came around and Pike poured it on ‘em.”

The Patriots would score 14 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to lift them to a 15-10 win and the state championship. Wally would not only get to finish the “2012 State Champs” piece, which features the likenesses of all 22 players, but also create the inspiration for the “5th Inning Miracle” which he completed shortly afterwards. It depicts head coach Butch Austin following Pike’s offensive explosion leaning against the dugout rail at Paterson Field in Montgomery with a smile on his face.

“It was something for the kids,” Wally said. “Something a few people could appreciate and remember the state title.”

Wally said the games were the perfect platform by which to create a piece of folk art.

“Folk art is story art,” he said. “It represents a story or an event.”

Wally would paint three pieces altogether. “2012 State Champs”, “5th Inning Miracle”, and “Senior Domination”.

"5th Inning Miracle" by Wally Lowery

Two of the three original works sold the day after the Thursday championship game but “Senior Domination”, which features all six of Pike’s seniors, is still available. A limited number of prints of all three are available at The Confetti Crate, which is located at 110 W. Madison Street in Troy. The prints are $10 each.

Wally said the paintings are special to him not only because of the accomplishment but his connection to the players and coaches.

“I know a lot of the boys and Coach Austin,” he said. “Coach was at Charles Henderson when I was there and I’ve watched the boys come up and play through recreation ball. It’s special to me to watch them win a title.”