By Thomas Sellers Jr.
For the past three years, the best baseball players in Shelby County have marked their calendars for the day after Memorial Day to participate in the Shelby County Baseball All-Star Game at USA Stadium.
Christian Brothers High School standout Colin Kilgore was well on his way toward making a date to be in Millington after signing to The University of Memphis. The 6’1 right hander would have been a locked to be a part of the Private School squad during the 2015 AutoZone Shelby County All-State Baseball Game.
But instead the night of the game became a field of tribute for the late Kilgore. The 8-3 victory by the Public School All-Stars was the backdrop of USA Stadium Director Johnny Ray paying tribute to the CBHS 2015 State championship, the four All-Stars and Kilgore’s mother Anna.
“To me it was meaningful not only for the overall aspect of what we do here at the Stadium, but more importantly for the Christian Brothers kids,” he said. “As you can tell it was a lot of emphasis put on the lost of Colin Kilgore. The young man from Christian Brothers who was killed in the car wreck back in February.
“His teammates went on to have a great year,” Ray added. “The players overcame a lot of adversity. With me being close to that program, it was really important to me to recognize those kids.”
Purple Wave players Nick Taylor, Zane Phillips, James Muse and Tyler Walton were by Anna’s side for the opening pitch May 26. After recognizing Kilgore, it was time to play ball.
White Station ace Lance Anderson got the Public School off to a solid start only allowing a double to Briarcrest’s Ben Ellis in the first inning.
Then it was time for the Public School Stars to take their swings. Arlington’s Aaron Campbell got things started with a double. Collierville’s Parker Phillips followed with a single setting up Bartlett’s Andrew Miller with an RBI opportunity.
Miller delivered with a base hit to score Campbell. The Public School Stars went ahead 2-0 in the first inning when Houston’s Jared Schmidt doubled. The Public School added two more runs in the frame to jump ahead 4-0.
The Private School Stars mounted a comeback in the third inning with 3 runs. ECS’ Sadler Goodwin drove in a pair of runs with a single. Goodwin stood in scoring position after an error.
Briarcrest’s Von Watson was the next batter and singled in Goodwin to make the score 4-3 in favor of the Public Schools.
Over the next three innings the arms dominated from the mound keeping the game scoreless. The bottom of the sixth inning the Public School got some insurance when Anderson used his bat to earn his team’s MVP award.
Anderson’s double drove in Christian Busby of Bartlett and Austin Brenner of Arlington. By the time the sixth inning was complete, the Public School was ahead 7-3. In the seventh inning Busby drove in a run to make the score 8-3.
The Public Schools earned their first official victory in the series. The Private School All-Stars won the 2012 and 2013 contest. Last year the Public Schools were well ahead in the fourth inning when a thunderstorm stopped the game. Rainy conditions leading up to the 2015 game put the crew at USA Stadium into overdrive.
“Overall for the facility, I thought it was well attended,” Ray said. “We battled through the weather. Our ground’s crew did a great job of getting this field ready. And we had a great collection of talent out here this year.
“This is what this whole things is about the kids having fun,” he added “They are going to come out and compete. But it’s all about having fun. Our sponsor, this all couldn’t have been possible without the support of Mr. Bill Edwards from AutoZone. He stepped up late to make sure each kid was recognized with their plaque and jersey they get to keep. Hopefully we’ll be able to use them as a sponsor.”
Anna went home with an AutoZone All-Star No. 15 jersey in honor of her son. Kilgore was also named MVP for his team.
Kilgore’s name will live as part of the Shelby County All-Star Game for years to come. And his peers will head onto the next level to places like Memphis, UT Martin, Ole Miss, Blue Mountain, Austin Peay and more.
“The talent speaks for itself,” Ray concluded. “There’s a lot of D-I guys here. There’s a lot of guys who will go on to play some pro ball. It’s just a great way for these kids to be acknowledged for their accomplishments throughout high school and to come out here and be in the same dugout with guys who are as talented as they are.”
The 2015 Public Schools All-Stars are Andrew Miller (Bartlett), Parker Wilson (Bartlett), Bo Sutton (Collierville), Jesse Kelley (Collierville), Aaron Campbell (Arlington), Austin Brenner (Arlington), Alex Sala (Houston), Alex Hicks (Collierville), Lance Anderson (White Station), Jared Schmidt (Houston), Jonathan Bowlan (Bartlett), Jarod Wright (Arlington), Jack Rude (Houston), Christian Busby (Bartlett), Jordan Smith (Germantown), Michael Merritt (Cordova), Nikko Warmus (Houston), Parker Phillips (Collierville), CJ Burrow (Bartlett) and Peyton Wigington (Millington) and coaches Zane Adams (Millington), Wade Walter (White Station) and Mark Schildmeier (Germantown).
The 2015 Private Schools All-Stars are Nick Taylor (CBHS), Tyler Culpepper (St. Benedict), Sadler Goodwin (ECS), Ben Ellis (Briarcrest), Zane Phillips (CBHS), Mason Ince (Briarcrest), Connor Wright (MUS), Preston White (MUS), Tyler Walton (CBHS), Alex Smith (ECS), Ryne Dennis (St. Benedict), Conner Sanders (TRA), Colin Kilgore (CBHS), TJ Johnson (St. Benedict), Trey Urban (St. Benedict), Nolan Stevens (Harding), AJ Hunt (MUS), Connor Green (St. George’s), Blake Smith (Briarcrest), James Muse (CBHS), Gil Erwin (TRA), Von Watson (Briarcrest), and Brett Czech (St. Benedict), and coaches Brian Stewart (Briarcrest), John Jarnigan (MUS) and Duke Williams (ECS).