"We should be much improved off last year's 16-18 record," said coach Ben Downs,
entering his fifth season at the helm of Anderson County High School. "Last year was
the first time Anderson County didn't have at least 22 wins in seven years."
He said a good senior class, coupled with a stellar group of sophomores, will be keys
to the Mavericks' season.
Downs, also an assistant principal at ACHS, said junior pitcher-first baseman Daniel
Newman will also be counted on. Newman, a right-hander, will form a strong
one-two punch on the mound with senior lefty Taylor Durand.
He expects strong seasons from sophomore infielders Hunter Tackett, Tyler Hicks
and Wes Stooksbury as well as 10th-grade outfielder Bradley Strickland.
Over the past seven seasons, the Mavs have posted a 191-68 record with four
district championships, three district tournament runner-up finishes, a pair of region
titles, and two trips to state tournament in Murfreesboro.
Downs took over the successful program when coach Mike Guinn moved on to
coach Pigeon Forge.
ACHS will team up with Project 20/20 to hold a fund-raiser for Young-onset
Parkinson's Disease Saturday, April 28 vs Johnson City Science Hill at 2 p.m.
"Science Hill and Coach Ryan Edwards will be coming down to play us that day,"
Downs said. "Coach Edwards was my pitching coach in college at Tennessee Tech
University and I know he will be very supportive in this fundraiser."
Project 20/20 grew out of a fund-raiser All-Knoxville Interscholastic League
outfielder Pat Dorwin started at his former high school, Farragut. Dorwin led the
Admirals in a number of offensive categories his senior year in 1982 when Farragut
won the first of its eight state titles, including the last four in a row.
He was diagnosed with Young-onset PD, a progressive neurological disorder, at age
38 in 2003. His brother, Pete, an All-KIL center fielder in 1988 on the first of four
Farragut state championship runner-up teams, was diagnosed with the disease at
See http://www.farragutpress.com/articles/2010/03/12167.html for a story on the brothers.
"It's certainly not the end of the world, but my life has changed dramatically," said Pat Dorwin. "I had always relied on my speed as an athlete, and suddenly it's
gone for the most part."
His speed helped knock Clinton High School out of regional semi-final play in
1982, as Dorwin stole three bases and scored two runs in a 4-1 win over the
Dragons, setting up a regional final against a powerful Bearden squad.
The Admirals would knock out upcoming first-round draft pick Mark Snyder in dropping
the Bulldogs 8-3, then Farragut would edge Morristown East 8-6 in quarterfinal
action, after nearly squandering a 7-0 lead.
That set up a semi-final showdown at the University of Tennessee's Lower
Hudson Field against a Chattanooga Baylor team coming off an 18-2 quarterfinal
thrashing of Columbia High school.
Dorwin went three-for-four in Farragut's 3-0 win in which Admiral closer Mike
Jordan notched his 14th save, still a state single-season mark according to the
tbca.org Web site.
The win put Farragut (24-4) again at UT in a best-of-three championship showdown
against a stout Memphis Christian Brothers High School team. The Purple Wave
entered the title match-up with a perfect 25-0 mark.
Standout junior pitcher Jeff Glover would improve his record to 15-1 for Farragut in the opening game of a doubleheader, before MCBHS took Game Two, setting up a
winner-take-all game the next day.
Dorwin kick-started a three-run first-inning uprising by leading off the game with a
sharp two-hop grounder to shortstop that he legged out for a base hit and Farragut
would hold on for a 4-3 title-clinching win without Glover, who had pitched his
allotted 10 innings the day before.
"We faced elimination in seven games over the course of the post-season," said
Dorwin. "We won all of them and a lot of it was because we had a group of 20 or
so guys that just hated to lose at anything. There were certainly a number of talented
teams in the Knoxville area that year."
Dorwin's been facing his toughest opponent with Young-onset Parkinson's disease.
He's having more movement problems lately, like getting off couches or up out of chairs.
"I have an uncle (Bobby Hamm) with PD," said coach Downs. "He is an unbelievable
man and I look up to him very much."
Project 20/20 is working with the American Parkinson's Disease Association's
National Young Onset Center to raise money.
"The goal of Project 20/20 is to get 20 Knoxville-area varsity or club sports holding
annual Young PD fund-raisers by the year 2020," Dorwin said. "We're off to a good
The Maryville Rugby Football Club, comprised of players from different Blount
County high schools, was the first team to sign on to Project 20/20.
"Since the club started in 2004, its girls teams have won five state championships
and gone to three national championship tournaments," Dorwin said. "The boys
team has three state title runner-up finishes."
Dorwin played for 15 years with the Knoxville Possums Rugby Football Club before
retiring from the sport at age 35 after the 2000 season. He was chosen by his
teammates for a rare double as an A side wing and B side fullback for the all-time
30th anniversary (1980-2010) Possum teams.
"My speed certainly helped in rugby," Dorwin said. "I only weighed about 150
pounds when I started playing, so I had to have some edge to just survive because
it's certainly a tough sport."
In early November, coach Guinn agreed to host a fund-raiser at Pigeon Forge, and
coach Downs followed suit a few days later.
"I always talk to our guys about doing things for other people who are less fortunate
than us," coach Downs said. "We always like to do something that helps those in
Recently, Seymour High School became the fourth team to sign-on to Project 20/20
through coach Scott Norman, a teammate of coach Guinn's at the old South-Doyle
High School. Guinn is a former physical therapy assistant who has worked with
Parkinson's patients and knows what they go through.
According to American Young Parkinson Disease Association's National Young
Onset Center, when someone who is 21-40 years old receives a diagnosis of
Parkinson's disease, it is referred to as "young onset" Parkinson's disease.
Although most symptoms are the same at whatever age PD develops, managing the
disease can be particularly challenging for a younger person and the person's family
medically, psychologically and socially. Roughly 10 percent of those diagnosed with
Parkinson's are under the age of 50.
Coach Downs said the Mavericks have an "awesome" booster club that will help
out with the fund-raiser.
"We bring in vendors and have two silent auctions for the Farragut event, which is a
'Throwback' doubleheader, as the teams wear old-style uniforms," Dorwin said. "We
get the gate, a percentage from the vendors and money from items that are donated
for the auctions. We have raised more than $4,000 the past two years, with the
money going to the National Parkinson Foundation."
You may search for "Parkinson's" at http://www.wbir.com/ for an interview Dorwin did for
Live at Five for last spring's Farragut event.
Dorwin said since both he and his brother have Young-onset PD, he wants to focus more on that aspect of the disease with Project 20/20.
"Right now, we're just trying to get things started that may later turn into bigger
events," Dorwin said. "I certainly appreciate the generosity of folks like coach Downs,
coach Guinn and coach Norman, as well as coach Buckner at Farragut and their
respective booster clubs.
"It's heartening when folks you don't even know immediately respond with 'Yes, we'll
help any way we can,'" Dorwin said. "It really boosts my spirit."
Dorwin may be reached at Patrugb@att.net or 865-363-9014.