Welker Also Deserves A Little Ink

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Former Payson High School athletic director, coach and principal Tom Meck is of the opinion I should have devoted a bit more attention to former Longhorn sports star Steve Welker when I penned a March 26 edition of Sports Talk.

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Former PHS coach, principal and athletic director Tom Meck was at Phoenix America West Arena when the 1979 Longhorn basketball team was honored last month for winning the state title.

"Not to take anything away from Hunter Walden, but Steve deserves a little more ink," Tom wrote.

It's good to know he's still reading the Roundup. He moved to Phoenix about 15 years ago.

The Sports Talk column the ex-coach was writing about featured Walden, Welker and their inclusion in the Arizona High School Baseball Record Book.

Walden is in the book for hitting a Class 3A record 17 home runs in 1998. Welker is included because he stole a 2A record six bases in a 1977 game against Lakeside Blue Ridge.

About Welker, Tom wrote, "he was an outstanding three-sport athlete -- a quarterback on the football team that played St. Johns for the state championship in 1976.

"He was also a great shot guarding on the basketball team and was all-state baseball as a sophomore. His outstanding skill in baseball was because he was at full speed in about two steps."

Tom remembers Welker's quickness helped him steal bases and star defensively.

"He could flag down ‘tweeners' in the outfield to take away doubles and triples," he said.

In most years, Welker would probably have been a unanimous all-stater his senior season. But, he was beaten out for first team all-state honors by a Williams Viking baseball star.

"His competition for center field was a athlete named Billy Hatcher who after one year in junior college played 10 years in the major leagues," Tom said.

Tom enclosed a 1977 Class B state baseball tournament bracket that shows the Longhorns lost an opening round match-up to Tombstone. Tombstone went on to win the state championship over runner-up Phoenix Christian.

"Unfortunately it was one of those (tournament) brackets where the two best teams met in the first round," Tom said. "We had two victories over Phoenix Christian in the regular season."

Among the old coach's memories of the state game are Roy Sandoval's home run and an injury to Ray LaHaye.

"Roy had an inside-the-park home run on a ball that hit the batter's eye in center field at Glendale College," he said. "Ray had an injured elbow the week prior the game and hadn't thrown all week. It was a great game and great memories."

Tom, thanks for sharing your memories.

Registration continues for Santa's List tournament

The 18th Annual Stocking Stuffer Golf Tournament has a new home this year.

Santa's List, the Rim country's official Christmas toy drive, is hosting the tournament this year at Chaparral Pines.

Last Christmas, Santa's List helped more than 1,000 needy residents by providing them with gifts.

The competition, which is open to all amateur golfers, gets off to a shotgun start at 11 a.m. May 11.

The entry fee is $200 per player. The fee includes green fees, cart, lunch and a prize party at the conclusion of the tournament.

Prizes will be awarded for closest-to-the-pin drives on par 3 holes and for longest drives (Both men and women).

The lucky golfer who shoots a hole-in-one on a pre-selected hole will win a 2004 Chrysler Crossfire from Chapman Auto Center.

Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup. 708 N. Beeline Highway.

For more information, call (928) 472-8827 or (888) 843-8032.

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