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Long contribution
Lady Admirals’ season over, but no end in sight for Watson’s 60 years in fastpitch softball, long ties to Farragut

Farragut High School’s 2005 softball season, ending with a 20-11 record, wasn’t up to the standards coach Ray Watson helped set in more than 10 years with head coach David Moore’s FHS program.

But following consecutive 1-0 defeats to Bearden and Maryville in the District 4-AAA Tournament at BHS Tuesday and Wednesday, May 10-11, Watson isn’t ready to follow FHS senior All-District standouts Amy Josephson, Stephanie Dueber — along with senior Aimee Reeves — out the door in Lady Ad country.

Watson said he plans to return with the likes of All-district third baseman Jessie Howard in 2006 to extent six decades of fastpitch softball contributions.

His 60 years as a player, coach, teacher and contributor in fastpitch softball centers around expertise in pitching since he first fired in the direction of enemy hitters as a 12-year-old hurler in 1944.

“I pitched fastpitch for forty-seven years ... it’s a game I’ve loved,” said Watson, 72, a native of Illinois who along with wife, Judy, came to the Farragut area in 1991 looking to continue his playing career, which extended into his late 50s. However, “I moved down here expecting to pitch some more but then they didn’t have (a league) for men so I had to quit.”

Still desiring to contribute to the sport, “He found me and asked about helping with the program,” Moore said. “I’ve had some other people approach me before then, and since then, and usually they fall by the wayside.

“But Ray sincerely wanted to help, and has ever since in one capacity or the other,” Moore added. “He just loves the sport ... he’s been playing, coaching, scorekeeping, managing ...,” Moore said.

A retired ordained minister and former principal who also serves as a substitute teacher at FHS, “he’s been a volunteer coach and helped us mostly with pitching a little bit. ... He’s helped work with some of the pitchers in mechanics as well as someone’s mindset about what to throw in certain situations. ....” Currently the team’s scorekeeper, “I pitched batting practice to the girls until I was sixty-five, then my arm kinda quit on me,” Watson said.

FHS junior All-district pitcher Margaret Morris, who allowed just one earned run in 23 innings of tourney work while receiving help with pair of diving catches by right fielder Haley Lewis, said Watson “is a great person and he is really dedicated to the team.”

Watson found one way to combine his religious and athletic duties. “He actually married coach (FHS assistant Shannon) Holt last summer,” Moore said.

What does Watson consider the crowning achievement of his fastpitch softball career? “I think working with girls, helping them develop,” he said. “I taught pitching in Illinois ... .”


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