Keeping it loose

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blake Craft (left) and John Michael Stephens (right) rock the shark fin style rally caps Charles Henderson has adopted this season. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

Blake Craft (left) and John Michael Stephens (right) rock the shark fin style rally caps Charles Henderson has adopted this season. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

Charles Henderson baseball uses unique celebrations to have fun during playoff run

What do bull fighting, surfing, grenades, field goals, rap music and shark fins have in common? They are all referenced by the Charles Henderson Trojans during celebration for on-field plays.

While head coach Derek Irons likes what brings on the wacky celebrations, he is quick to point out that he is not the originator.

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“All of those belong to Coach (Brandon) Lee,” said Irons. “He does a great job with helping our guys keep the energy level up, and the guys really like it.”

Lee, the Trojans’ first base coach, said he wanted to find a way to keep the dugout in the game for all seven innings, and thus the celebrations were born.

“It is just a creative idea for them to stay involved, and know what is important,” said Lee. “It can be things as simple as getting a bunt down to move someone over, to reading a ball in the dirt or other little things. Those things help you win ball games, and need to be celebrated.”

On offense, the Trojans have a different celebration for each base they reach. A single is celebrated by “Surf City,” a double gets the grenade thrown in the direction of the dugout and a triple is finished off with a fade away jumper basketball shot. Members of the “Bench Mob” greet a base runner that scores a run at the dugout and a simulated bullfight is takes place as.

Other plays net celebrations as well. Lee will kick a field goal when the Trojans reach one of their defensive game goals and a “high five train” occurs every time a game goal is reached.

Lee enjoys all of the celebration, but says he does have a favorite.

“I’d probably say my favorite is the bull fight,” said Lee. “When the bull fight is used, we are scoring runs. When you score runs, you win games.”

While the celebrations are Lee’s brainchild, he points to one player that has embraced the role of Bench Mob leader.

“John Michael (Stephens, Charles Henderson pitcher) has taken control of the celebrations,” said Lee. “He pitches now once a series, and the rest of the time he is in the dugout keeping his teammates up. He is a great teammate and everyone will tell you that he loves to have a good time.”

Charles Henderson will its celebration on the road this week in the third round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs.

The Trojans will travel to Centreville to battle the Bibb County Choctaws. The series will begin Friday at 4 P.m. with a doubleheader.

The tiebreaker third “if-needed” game will be played Saturday in Centreville.