Jr. golfers attend Masters
By Carol McLeod
To area golfers and golf fans, there is nothing like visiting one of the sport’s premiere battlefields during April.
The battlefield is the golf course at The Augusta National Golf Club. The battle is the Masters Tournament.
One of those fans is Ron Delagrange, golf coach at the Jefferson County High School (JCHS).
Delagrange is such a fan of the Masters tournament he said its proximity to Jefferson County is one of the reasons he works at the school.
“I’ve always watched the Masters,” he said, adding he’s originally from Indiana. “That was one of the draws that brought me down here to teach.”
Delagrange said he was already teaching in Jefferson County when he first visited The Augusta National Golf Club during one Masters Tournament.
“It was just an eye-opener; because, what you see on TV is not anything like being there. You can’t just experience it watching it on TV,” the coach said.
He said everything on the grounds was manicured “to a T.”
Because of a donation made to the coach and his golf team, he was able to take three students with him this year and attend Thursday’s opening day of the 79th Masters Tournament.
“This is our third year participating in the Masters Junior Pass Program,” said Betsy Wagenhauser, president of Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.
“We are able to invite four schools to attend – one for each day of the tournament,” she said.
This is the second year that Jefferson County High School has received tickets to the tournament from the foundation.
Wagenhauser said a group, The Masters Tournament Local Junior Pass Task Force, was formed to promote the sport of golf by providing opportunities for youth golf enthusiasts to attend the tournament.
“A number of charitable organizations whose programs involve youth are selected each year to participate in the Junior Pass Program. Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy was one of the charitable organizations selected,” she said.
The foundation created its Junior Pass Program, which allows free admission to the Masters for kids between the ages of 8 and 16.
That criterion was one Delagrange used to select which three students to take.
After narrowing the choices down to the players on his team in that age group, the coach said there were other considerations.
He next looked at the students who had not already attended the tournament.
One student under consideration was going to work at the Masters; so, that ruled him out, Delagrange said.
“Then I was just going to put (the names) in a hat and draw two out,” he said.
Instead, after asking his students to check with their parents to make sure they could go if selected, he was down to two, which allowed him to bring his son, Noah Delagrange, who is not a team member.
The other two students were Matthew McCoy and Harley Hadden. Both are freshmen.
“They all had some different plays they wanted to make sure they saw,” the coach said.
“As a nonprofit that serves youth, we were fortunate to be selected to participate in the Masters Junior Pass Program. Of course, the children we serve (birth to 5 years) are too young to participate directly, but we felt we could make the most of this wonderful opportunity by other means,” Wagenhauser said
“There is no financial gain involved – we can’t sell the tickets or profit financially from them – but we found that we could profit in other ways,” she said.
Wagenhauser said the Ferst Foundation is always looking for ways to thank supporters and to give back to the community.
“The Jefferson County school system has supported the valuable efforts of Ferst Foundation since the program began in the county in 2010. Offering its high school golf team the opportunity to attend the Masters tournament is one way we can show our appreciation and give something back,” she said.
Delagrange said the students who attended the tournament with him were very grateful and appreciative for the opportunity.
He also said when it was time to leave, the students would have stayed if they could.
“They were treated very well by the Augusta National,” the coach said. “They got a pin, Junior Golfers. Like a little lapel pin. And they all said they wanted to hit some golf balls afterward.”
Panthers baseball hits a tough streak
By Tyler Copeland
In recent weeks, the Glascock County Panthers baseball team hit a bit of turbulence, adding six losses and four wins to their overall record.
The first matchup in this string of games ended in a shut-out loss to the Aquinas Fighting Irish. The Panthers prevented the Irish from scoring until the fourth inning. By the end of the fifth, the Irish scored all of their points and the Panthers were unable to recover, leaving the final score at 4-0.
The Panthers returned to the diamond four days later to square up against Georgia Military College’s Bulldogs in an intense game that ended in a hard-fought victory for Glascock County.
Both teams came out of the dugout swinging, with GMC scoring 6 points and Glascock scoring 4 in the first inning. After these initial runs were scored, the Bulldogs pulled ahead, and it seemed as though the Panthers would not recover from their 12-6 disadvantage by the fourth inning.
However, Glascock County would not go down without a fight; in the fifth inning the Panthers began picking up speed once more, and were able to score 3 points before the final inning while stopping the Bulldogs in their tracks.
In the final inning of the matchup, the Panthers were down by three runs, but their opponent had grown weary. The Panthers went in for the kill and rallied four runs in the final moments of the game, drawing the final score up to a hard-earned 13-12 victory for the Panthers.
Sadly, this momentum did not carry through their next two games, as they lost to both Washington-Wilkes and Wilkinson County the next week.
The Panthers travelled to play against the Washington-Wilkes Tigers in a match that ended in a tight 9-7 Glascock County defeat. The two teams were neck-and-neck early into the game, with the Panthers leading 6-3 by the third inning. Unfortunately, the Tigers caught a second wind and rallied 5 runs in the fifth inning. Both teams added an additional point, but the Panthers were unable to add any more to the board, leaving the final score at 9-7.
Two days later the Panthers travelled to Wilkinson County to play the Warriors in a game that ended in a loss for the Panthers.
The Warriors started the game with a fierce 7-point total by the third inning. Glascock County was unable to match the ferocity of the Warriors, and could only retaliate with four points on the board, while Wilkinson snuck in an additional two runs. By the final buzzer, the Warriors held a 5-point lead over the Panthers, leaving the final score at 9-4.
Shortly after, however, the Panthers would redeem themselves with an astounding shut out against the Baldwin Braves.
The Panthers started the game with vigor and tenacity, scoring 6 points by the third and an additional 9 by the fifth. The Braves were unable to return any fire, and limped away from the game with a 15-0 defeat at the hands of the Panthers.
Sadly the Panthers would go on to suffer a similar fate.
One week later, Glascock County hosted the Portal Panthers at a game that ended in a tragic 11-0 shut-out loss for the Glascock Panthers.
The next day, Glascock County played the Mount de Sales Cavaliers with little success. The Cavaliers brought 6 points to the table before the Panthers got their first run in the fifth inning. After that, neither team was able to score, leaving the score at 6-1.
A week later, Glascock County travelled to once more play Portal with a much different outcome than their previous bout.
More prepared than before, the Glascock Panthers lead the entire game, starting their offense with 5 runs by the third inning, while holding Portal down to only 2. By the end of the sixth, the Glascock County offense posted 4 more points, and the defense held Portal down to only 2. By the end of the game, the Glascock County Panthers held a 9-4 victory over Portal.
On April 14, the Panthers were routed by the Tatnall Square Academy Trojans in an away conference game that left the Panthers crippled with a gruesome final score.
The Trojans entered the game with overwhelming force, scoring all 12 of their runs in the first three innings, overpowering the Panther defense and offense, only giving up 2 runs throughout the entire game. The Panthers returned home with a new 12-2 defeat on their record.
Luckily for the Panthers, redemption was near.
Two days later, the Glascock County Panthers hosted the Washington County Golden Hawks in a nonconference game with a more favorable outcome.
The Panthers gained traction much earlier in this game than before, pounding out 5 runs by the third inning, while holding the Hawks down to one run.
However, in the fourth inning, the Golden Hawks put fans on the edge of their seats by rallying 4 runs and tying the score to 5-5.
In response, the Panthers mustered up all their strength and scored 5 runs in one inning, with an additional run shortly after.
Washington County was unable to recover, and could only add three more points to the board, leaving the final tally at 11-8, Panthers.
The team’s current overall record is 8-13, with a 2-9 record in the region.