Team waits 24 years for 400th

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Taylor Scales’ David Essex safely slides into third during Saturday’s game against Pathway House in the Clovis Softball Association’s Oasis “Batting Out Child Abuse” slow-pitch softball tournament at Guy Leeder Complex.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

The Taylor Scales softball team played for eight seasons in the Clovis Softball Association, racking up 399 wins between 1977 and 1984.

Twenty-four years later, many of the same players came together again on Saturday looking for No. 400 in the Clovis Softball Association’s Oasis “Batting Out Child Abuse” tournament at Guy Leeder Complex.

After losing an opening-round game in the Class E bracket of the all-Clovis event, they beat Pathway House 18-4 in a losers bracket game to stay alive in the tournament.

Taylor Scales was later eliminated in a 13-1 setback to Big Business.

That made the team’s record 400-97, said coach Terry Evans, 60, who organized the team and watches the action from a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy.

“It’s kind of a softball reunion,” said Evans, owner of Evans Jewelry. “We thought it would be a good thing to play again.”

Many of the players do not play on softball teams, or do so only sparingly. But they jumped out to a 10-0 lead against Pathway House with an eight-run second and cruised to the milestone win.

All but about three or four of the original team members were in action on Saturday, Evans said.

“We hope we’re going to be competitive,” he said. “I’d like to win one (game), maybe two, but there’s no assurance of that.

“I just want to make (the other teams) earn it.”

First baseman David Essex, 52, said things were different now for the team, besides the fact the players are nearly a quarter of a century older.

“Most of us worked on a farm back then,” said Essex, who now works for Xcel Energy in Clovis. “They made us take our pliers off before we went to bat.

“This was a lot of fun. It’s good to get back with all the guys.”

Pitcher Duane Chase, at 48 the youngest member of the squad, said the goal for the weekend was to post win No. 400.

“That was our goal,” he said. “We had a little get-together (Friday) night and that was kind of an unspoken goal.

“We didn’t know what to expect. The thing that was interesting to me was the look in the guys’ eyes when we lost the first game. You could still see that desire to win.

Chase, who runs Sir Logo/Pack ‘n’ Mail in Clovis and does Clovis High football and basketball on KCLV-AM 1240 radio, said he kind of “cherry-picks” when he’ll play these days, noting that he plays mostly in tournaments with his son’s team known as “The Under Achievers.”

Win or lose, the experience was worth it, Essex said, even if some muscles which hadn’t been used much in a while were put to the test.

“The thing that was special about this team is we always got along,” he said. “That’s what made us last so long and be successful.

“Good teams beat good individuals.”