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Cougar Baseball honors ’91 Championship Squad

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

1991 Munford State team handsake 1991 Munford State TeamThe history painted on the Munford Baseball Field wall came to life for a moment on April 4.
With the District 13-3A rivals Dyer County Choctaws in town, the Munford Cougar Baseball program felt it was the ideal night to honor the school’s only State champion baseball team.
Under a sitting sun, several members of the 1991 championship squad raced back onto the field they called home a quarter of a century ago. The “Hustling Cougars” were back their moment in the sun and a silver anniversary recognition from current Munford Head Coach Jake Garbuzinski and the 2016 Cougars.
Among those reminiscing and reliving the glory of the 1991 State title was Cougar standout and former Major League Baseball pitcher Aaron Fultz.
“It’s a very fond memory, it’s touching,” he said. “It was a great experience. With all I’ve done in baseball, it’s still one of my top three experiences in my baseball life.
“It was a special group,” Fultz continued. “The year before, we finished second. That year we won, what was cool, we had eight seniors. Six or seven still hang out together very frequently. Obviously you can’t have a better group than we had.”
The 1990 Cougars were dominant but fell one game short of their ultimate goal. In 1991, Munford came in with a focus only one other team could overcome. On their way toward the championship, the Cougars compiled a 29-1 record.
Once Fultz struck out the side of Bradley Central in the sixth and seventh innings in Murfreesboro, the Cougars were State champions.
Those being recognized were Fultz, Shane Harchfield, John Griffin, Chris Pugh, Shannon Reed, Issac Peete, Dewayne Smith, Spence Cousar, Lonnie Glass, Jason Starnes, Rodney Patterson, Wade Wallace, Chad Staub and Richard Cramer.
Several of the 1991 Cougars went on to play at the next level with Fultz being drafted in the sixth round of the 1992 amateur draft by the San Francisco Giants. In his career, Fultz stepped onto the mound for the Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians.
Glass went on to set records at The University of Memphis. Fultz enjoyed a more than decade career in the Big Leagues even pitching for the Giants in the 2002 World Series.
Just like Glass and Fultz, several members of that title team are still a part of the Munford fabric. Glass is a vice principal at Munford Middle School and Fultz opened a pitching academy in town years ago.
Fultz said like the love and appreciation the town showed them on the night, the feeling is mutual.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s home. No matter where I live and I’ve lived all over, Munford is always home. It will always be. It was a special place growing up. It’s grown so much since we were here, but it’s still that same special place.”
The 1991 Cougars have a special place on the outfield wall for all visitors to see. Underneath the banner State Champions is the year 1991.
“It means so much because the group we had,” Fultz concluded. “That was our ultimate goal and to achieve it, it’s very nice to be honored and appreciated.”

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