Mustang HOF, First Pitch banquet Sunday
by By JOE CANNON Assistant Sports Editor
Feb 28, 2013 | 550 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the third straight year the Walker Valley baseball team will host a preseason Hall of Fame and First-Pitch Banquet, this Sunday afternoon at the school’s cafeteria and auditorium.

“This is a good chance for us to get together before the season begins to honor our past and look to our future,” commented Mustang head coach Joe Shamblin. “We will have a good meal, hear from a wonderful speaker and raise some funds with a silent auction.”

This year’s honorees will be current professional pitcher Ryan Fraser and Bobby Dye, who has labored tirelessly in helping improve the school’s baseball facilities.

The pair will join former inductees including longtime coach Mike Turner, Brandon Turner, who played at Mississippi State and minor league ball, and Larry Kugler from the orignal class of 2011 plus Rick Murrey, Dusty Murray and Mark Touchstone, who went in last year.

Speaking for the occasion will be former Major League Baseball pitcher Lee Guetterman, who played for four big league teams between 1984-96.

Originally from Chattanooga, the lefthanded reliever had a 38-36 overall record with a 4.33 earned run average and 287 strikeouts in his career while playing for the Seattle Mariners thee times, the New York Yankees, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals.

Guetterman holds the distinction of being one of only a few players to ever be traded from one New York team to the other, as he was dealt from the Yankees to the Mets for Tim Burke. He wrapped up his professional career in 2007 by playing for the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Canaries of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. He currently lives in Lenoir City.

After a sterling high school career at Walker Valley, that included a 7-0 record with 71 strikeouts and a 1.32 ERA his senior season, 2013 inductee Fraser was drafted in the 49th round by the Tampa Bay Rays, but chose instead to play for Gulf Coast Community College.

In two years at the Florida school, the hard-throwing right-hander compiled an 11-10 record with 111 Ks and a 5.21 ERA in 138.2 innings of work.

Accepting an offer to play for the University of Memphis, Fraser overcame some early struggles that saw him go 3-5 with a 7.04 ERA in his first year with the Tigers. He bounced back with a 7-4 mark his senior season, with a pair of complete games and a save.

Starting 15 games, one of his victories was over then 14th-ranked Oklahoma, plus his save came against No. 15 Ole Miss to help Memphis to its highest finish in Conference USA play.

Fraser finished in the top 3 in the league with 96 strikeouts in 92 innings of work his final season, plus he was a C-USA All-Academic Team member.

Being drafted by the New York Mets in the 16th round of the 2010 Amateur Draft, Fraser went 3-3 with a 1.44 ERA and a dozen saves and was selected as a New York-Penn League All-Star.

Moving up to low-A ball with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2011, Fraser went 7-9 with a save and a 3.58 ERA including 21 starts in 28 appearances. He led the team with 138.1 innings pitched and struck out 90 batters.

Last season he started in advanced-A ball in Florida, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.08 ERA and a pair of saves before being called up to Class AA in Binghamton, N.Y. Fraser went 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA and four saves. He had 25 Ks and just seven walks in 30.1 inning pitched.

The Mets had Fraser come to the Arizona Fall League for top prospects after this most recent season, where he pitched well with a 1-1 record, 10 strikeouts and just five base on balls in 14 innings.

Dye helped build Walker Valley’s beautiful baseball complex, including sliding off a frost-covered roof while constructing it. He also served as the team’s public address announcer from 2002-07.

“Our hall of fame is not just for former players and coaches, but for those who helped build our program as well,” explained coach Shamblin, who was a player for current athletic director Mike Turner while both were at Walker Valley predecessor Charleston High School.

The silent auction will begin at noon Sunday with the meal to be served at 1 p.m. Hall of Fame inductions and the special guest speaker will begin at 2 p.m.

The cost for the meal is $10 per person for dine in or $12 for carry out, with coach Shamblin asking for those wanting to eat to RSVP as soon as possible so that enough food will be prepared. Contact Kathy Smith at 596-7849 to reserve meals for you and your family.

The event is a fundraiser to benefit the 2013 Mustang baseball squad to help offset their expenses for the upcoming season.