The Athens Review
It’s been 32 years since the Brownsboro Bears baseball team has seen the sights of the state tournament.
Two players from that team, sophomore all-state left fielder Steve Lockwood and senior pitcher Billy Ferguson will reunite along with other students as the class of 1983 meets in Tyler this weekend.
Lockwood along with Van’s Billy McClanahan were the only East Texas players to be named to the 1981 all-state baseball team by the Texas High School Coaches Association.
The 1981 state tournament appearance was a 2-0 loss to Bowie, in which Ferguson allowed only two hits in a game that went one hour and 20 minutes.
“We were back in those days a sparky type of team where if we got on a role, then we just rolled,” Ferguson said. “When we had to sit in an Austin hotel room waiting for it to rain, we played good defense when we finally got to play but we just could not hit the ball.”
Lockwood said that the coach was one of the top coach he had ever seen in the game of high school baseball.
“We had a group of guys on that team that every position was filled,” Lockwood said. “Everyone knew what they had to do and we had the best coach that a team could have in Lee Lanier. Everybody did their job and we excelled with a great pitcher in Billy Ferguson, who played in the farm system for the Philadelphia Phillies.”
Lockwood said there was a particular segment during the state semifinal game that sticks in his mind.
“We were down in Austin playing a game that was on turf and I had a ball hit to me that I could not get to,” Lockwood said. “I pulled up and the ball hit the ground and it rocketed over my head. I felt really bad about it and by the time I got off the field, my coach was waiting for me at the first base line and I can remember him saying, “you made an error, let it go, keep your head up, you will be fine and let’s go win the ball game.”
Ferguson said the bond of the players on that team is what made them a close knit team during the season.
“It is an honor to know that we are the only one. Back in our days, we only had 15-or-16 guys on the team and all of the guys knew their positions,” Ferguson said. “I think I pitched every game for Brownsboro since I was a sophomore and that is what we did.”
Lockwood and Ferguson said they keep in touch with a lot of the guys from that team and they will be glad to see them this weekend.
“I talk with Scott Williams, Tom Williams, Wayne Duke, Paul Carver, Ferguson, Sonny Booth and some of the other guys from the team,” Lockwood said. “To be a part of that team, it is hard to put into words and I will always cherish that baseball team. All of those guys are like brothers to me.”