By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Before Brighton’s Caleb Armour could set an example he learned from his role models.
On May 17 in the Brighton High School Library, the recent BHS graduate was joined by most of his role models for his signing ceremony to play baseball at Southwest Tennessee for Head Coach George Skyes.
Caleb’s older brother Charles wasn’t able to attend the ceremony. But Caleb was joined by his parents Karen and Charles B. Armour.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of baseball to get here today,” Caleb said. “A lot of hard work in practice and studying in the classroom to stay on track. I had very good role models in my life that helped me make it here today.”
Also joining Caleb were Brighton Head Coach Brian Oswalt and Pitching Coach Zane Adams. Already with a team of role models, Adams was a late edition to Caleb’s arsenal.
Back during his high school days, Adams was a star linebacker and pitching ace for the Millington Trojans.
Earning All-District honors in both sports, Adams knew he could relate to Armour who was a standout on the Brighton Football team at middle linebacker and the No. 1 on Oswalt’s pitching staff.
“I can definitely relate well with the stuff I did,” Adams said. “Caleb and I had our own routine. Before, I would hand him the ball I would tell him ‘I’ll see you in the seventh.’ He would try to make sure I didn’t see him until the seventh. Although he didn’t always make it to the seventh, each time he gave me everything he had on the mound.”
Adams and Oswalt were proud of the senior season Armour had toeing the rubber picking up wins over District 13-3A rivals Dyer County and Jackson North Side. Oswalt said he knew he would count on Armour for big games like Cape Central (Missouri).
“He was a great pitcher for me,” Oswalt said. “Great arm, one of my captains and he won some big games for us.
“To watch him transform over the years was great,” he added. “He’s a big kid and I think Coach Sykes will let him play. He will be a utility player going to the outfield some. He can go get the baseball.”
Sykes said during the recruiting process he saw beyond Armour’s physical abilities.
After seeing his solid grades and getting to know his family, Sykes offered the 6’2, 190 pound Armour a full scholarship.
“He meets our triangle of accountability for Southwest Tennessee Baseball,” Sykes said. “There are three sides to a triangle and side one is his academic profile. The other side is his baseball skills and work ethic.
“But the base of the triangle, the foundation is that he is a young man of value,” he added. “He’s a man of ethics and integrity. And my job over the next two years is to hold him accountable for his triangle and make it stronger to get him to the next level.”
The Armour family already has one player at the next level of a four-year college playing baseball in Charles. While at Brighton Charles was a letterman in football and standout catcher for Oswalt.
Charles became one of the 28 signees under Oswalt during his 12-year tenure at Brighton. Following in his brother’s footsteps, Caleb is the latest.
“I looked up to (Charles) and I wanted to do what he did,” Caleb acknowledged. “He had more drive than me and his example has been very important in my life.”
The man who groomed Charles and Caleb was their father. The elder Charles has an athletic background playing two years of football for the Tennessee Volunteers.
“Since the day I was born, Dad had me out there throwing a baseball,” Caleb recalled.
Witnessing his second signing in as many chances, Charles said the day was validation for Caleb’s dedication to sports and academics.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s got its own rewards. He worked hard in baseball. I like the Coach there and I’m happy he has a full ride to school. He is a product of his family both academics and athletics. He gets the athletics and physical part from his father. He definitely gets the mental and intelligence from his mother.
Karen is the owner of Armour Family Medicine in Brighton. Karen Armour, MD is a family physician who graduated from The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and The University of Tennessee-St. Francis Family Medicine Residency Program. She is a Board Certified Family Physician.
With a team of dedicated parents, coaches and older brother, Caleb knew it was his turn to give back to younger teammates and his younger siblings Brett, Blake and Mike.
“It’s was important for me to sign in a sport and be a role model for them,” Caleb said. “I drilled Brett in football. I stay on Blake and Mike about playing baseball. I throw with Michael like I throw with Charles.
“It feels pretty good to have made a name for myself,” he concluded. “I did stress out about signing the second half of my senior year. This is a relief and I worked hard for this day.”