Warrior Memories: Spring brings memories of baseball past

By Dick Trone March 05, 2012 07:31 pm

Being the athlete nut that some claim I am, I function on a different schedule than most people.

With me the four seasons are not winter, spring, summer and fall, they are football, basketball, baseball and hunting.

I am now going through one of those season changes. Basketball has just ended and the calendar now tells of the start of baseball season.

As the 2012 Warriors take the diamond I get to look back at when I took the diamond with the 1949 Warriors. This group won the first of three straight HDN championships.

We took the field under the direction of Brick Bralich, who was only here one year. We all looked forward to what first-year Warrior Dick Turner was going to do on the baseball field.

Dick had enrolled at Del Norte as a senior in the fall, transferring here from Drain High School in Oregon. He had already made first-team all-league as a running back in football and first-team all-league as a forward in basketball and was about to take the mound for the first time as a pitcher.

He lived up to his reputation and pitched us to the league championship and was again selected first-team all-league. After graduation Dick went on to Oregon State University on a football scholarship. The rest of the team were old Del Norters, some that played together for two more years and helped us win two more league championships.

As I look back at my 1949 teammates, the roster includes members who became life-long friends. The outfield was Bob James, Don and Leon Morgan. Don was a junior at the time and as a senior pitched us to an undefeated championship and to this day remains one of my most cherished friends.

Al Young was the first baseman and only a sophomore, so we played together two more years, and I had the honor of being best man at his wedding when he married Betty. This was a long time ago and they are still going strong.

The second baseman was Ken Kellis, who held the position for three years. Third base was held down by Sonny May, another three-year starter. Shortstop was Louie Fowler.

The catcher was Bunky Peterson, the youngest of the three Peterson brothers. Rocky, Rich and Bunky all were great Warrior athletes.

I was the team cheerleader and played as a backup at catcher, first and second base, and all three outfield positions.

The team included others who are still good friends. Arnie Lopez, our No. 2 pitcher, Dick March, an infielder and Wayne “Butch” Nichols, who became a very good friend and was best man at my wedding. His passing left a real hole in my life.

My experience as a 1949 Warrior baseballer will always be a special memory.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.