Patriots Begin 4th of July Celebration Early, DJ at Smith, Dudley’s Hicks Comes Up Empty at NBA Draft, Dick Murdoch Dead at 49

The Guilford Patriots Palomino Baseball club got their 4th of July weekend rolling early Thursday night at War Memorial Stadium. The Patriots were the victors but I don’t believe coach Johnny Smith was a bit too happy with the way his team was playing. The Pats, who you can learn more about at, defeated GAPP 10-6. The Patriots outhit GAPP 13-3, the sad part is the two teams combined to commit 8 errors(4 a piece).

The Patriots are without a doubt the top team in the Palomino Summer League for High School juniors and seniors or 17-18 year olds if you prefer. The Pats are coming off a big trip out to Las Vegas, Nevada and they still might be suffering from the post-travel letdown. The Pats kids come from primarily Western and Northwest Guilford and this team is loaded with talent.

GAPP is a combo team of Guilford /Alamance Palomino Players. The GAPP team made me think of the old GAPCO club that Ed and Tom Bigham used to sponsor, but GAPCO is gone and Bob Doss tells me his Palomino League is as strong as ever when you look at the overall talent of players and coaches that are in his program. Bob Doss is the Boss of Palomino Baseball and he has been running the show since back in the early 80’s. That’ early 1980’s for all you historians out there that want to keep your facts straight. Bob is one of our GreensboroSports all-time great leaders and dads. Bob’s kids: Randy, Sandy, and Andy Doss(always loved those names).

The Pats manager Johnny Smith has been at the helm of the Guilford College team for well over 20 years and he has more wins than all the flavors at Baskin-Robbins and Cookout ten times over. Use your imagination and do the math and then you will get it.

On Thursday night the GAPP team had a doubleheader and were very steady in game #1 against the Elks. GAPP crushed the Elk 10-0, on 5 hits and no errors and the GAPP-Elks contest was called after 4 and a half innings because the 10 run after 5 was in effect and GAPP was the home team. GAPP has some players and the kid I was most impressed with was Eric Lowdermilk. Bob Doss tells me that Trevor Mullins out of Ragsdale, the area’s top High School player from 2006 is playing for a team called the Rebels.

As we look closer at the Pats over GAPP by the 10-6 score, we should note that the Patriots got solid starting pitching from Jody Calloway who went deep in the game and got the win but he tired late and gave way to relief man Jimmy Assal. Calloway throws as hard as any kid you will see but as he got through the 5th and headed to the 6th inning he lost his control and couldn’t find the plate with his wild pitches. Assal settled things down and the Pats held tough to get the win.

The Pats played some sloppy ball on Thursday night at WMS, but rest assured Johnny Smith will have his team ready for the 4th of July Palomino Tournament that gets under way Saturday at Stoner-White Stadium, Grimsley, and at Northwest Guilford. JS(Johnny Smith) has a deep baseball heritage coming out his family with all three Smith sons, Jeff, Jason, and Justin having played for their father in the Pats program. Justin is still working with his dad as the third base coach and Justin runs the team through the pre-game warmups(infield/ourfield) and he does much of the on- the- field teaching and motivating of the players. Johnny Smith stills contols all the strategy that goes into making the Pats the top Palomino team in our area.

We mentined Calloway and Assal, but the team has many other key parts. John Neese(this guy showed me the most), the Pats 2nd baseman can flat out hit the ball hard and he gives the team a future. Neese will be back out at NWG as a senior in the fall. Steven Gleiter is a tall 3rd baseman who reminds me of Ryan Minor who played basketball for Oklahoma and played baseball for the Delmarva Shorebirds and later for the Baltimore Orioles. Minor was playing 3rd at 6’7 and Gleiter is 6’5. Lawrence McMorrow, Nick Rogers, and Ryan Sprinkle are steady players and Johnny always has good things to say about Michael Wright. McMorrow is a small catcher, but he gets job done, Rogers dropped a ball at shortstop that should have ended the game, but he was taking it a bit too easy and Sprinkle smacked a pitch into left field late in the game that got to the wall and helped give the Pats an insurance run. The 10-6 final and the Patriots have another win in the history books.

Derrick Johnson(DJ) coaches the Elks Palomino Team and he tells me his coaching days at Smith High School are just about over. DJ has been running the program at Smith for several years and he says it is time to leave baseball and move into Administration. Smith has a new Principal(Roy Rogers) and DJ tells me there will be many changes upcoming over on Holden Road. The Golden Eagle Athletic Director Hank Bullard is already gone. Hank will be teaching Elementary Physical Education in the Guilford County System. Look for other changes in the Smith Athletics Landscape. The only change you won’t see is Reggie Peace should still be coaching Boys Basketball. Watch for new coaches in Football, Soccer, Girls Basketball, Baseball, and there will be a new AD. Roy Rogers the new man on the block says head um up and move em out. Former boys basketball coach Art Wade is now the Dean of Students.

Eric Hicks got the shaft in the Draft. They keep on saying the kid from Dudley High School is too small and he’s been injured too many times. Eric Hicks is tough. This kid got shot in the leg in a park(the summer before his first year in college) just down the street from George’s Pizza on Randleman Road and Hicks still went on to average 15 PPG and nearly 10 rebounds per game his senior year and he was 1st Team All-Big East. Hicks is the Man and any NBA team that signs him as a Free Agent will be lucky to have Hicks. EH at 6’6 or “whatever” and 250 pounds is the next big thing and I am calling on all NBA teams to cash in and win.

Did you know? Former Professional Wrestler Dick Murdoch died this week 10 years ago. Dick Murdoch was only 49 years old and it’s hard to believe he is gone and that he’s been dead now for 10 years. Fourty-nine is pretty darn young and today DM’s son Trevor Murdoch is a name with the WWE.

9 thoughts on “Patriots Begin 4th of July Celebration Early, DJ at Smith, Dudley’s Hicks Comes Up Empty at NBA Draft, Dick Murdoch Dead at 49

  1. Speaking of Smiths whose first name starts with J, how about Jake Smith from ECU/Southern Guilford! There was a pretty large section in todays paper about him winning the Bench award for best College catcher in the nation! Way to go Jake, way to represent SGHS ex-Indians!

  2. And I know for a fact that Johnny Smith would say without a doubt that a big reason his teams have been so good for so long is the baseball fundamentals they learned earlier on. He didn’t have to teach those. They were already there.

    It is no small coincidence that the majority of Johnny’s players came thru the Guilford College Mustang, Bronco, and Pony League programs in years gone by.

  3. M@M(Mike and Marshall) are on the money. I can remember doing straight to video broadcasts of both Jake and Justin Smith when they were like 10 years old and playing Bronco or Mustang baseball. Jake played in Pleasant Garden and Justin played for the Henry Bondurant- coached Libby Hill team out of the Guilford College community. Jake was a catcher even back 15-20 years ago and his dad Kim South also out of Southern Guilford was real proud of JS and I’m sure he still is. Henry B. did an outstandig job of getting those GC kids ready for Doc Lineberry(PONY) and Johnny Smith(Palomino).

  4. Yeah, I still remember the days when Guilford College had 6 teams of 11 and 12 year olds with coaches like Ralph Stafford and Charlie King. Both of those men are amazing stories unto themselves and both were great men who didn’t let their disabilities stop them in the least.

    I still remember the night at Latham Park some 25 years ago when the Guilford College Indians (Libby Hill) took on the Guilford College Red Sox for the Greensboro city championship.

    They really didn’t want to play each other after beating the city boys and it was seriously discussed that they should have a watermelon cutting right there on the pitcher’s mound instead of a baseball game.

    Thanks for reviving memories of my childhood. It was because of great people like my father and others like him that I and a lot of other kids turned out as good as we did.

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