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1962 Centralia High School Baseball Team
The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame
1992 Team Award Winner

Front Row:  Ron Johnson, Ron Black, Dan Kessler, Harry Duncan, Van Bell, Bill Taylor, Danny Kelly, Bob Davis, John Abrams, Larry Black
Back Row:  Coach Jerry Wilson, Mgr. Dennis Edwards, Neil Cohen, Grover Cleveland, Bill White, Andy Stifel, Dennis Jones, Dwight Telford, Jim Manns, Wayne McCoy, Mike Cook, Richard Zgol, Paul Morgan, Jim Brannon, Tom Crenshaw, Mgr. Eddie Pflueger  Not pictured:  Don Duncan

With only one experienced player returning and a team that had an average height of about 5’7, coach Jerry Wilson was not expecting the season that turned out to be Centralia High School’s first state tourney appearance in baseball.

The “Mouseketeers”, as the diminutive team was fondly referred to, proved they could play with anyone as the season moved along. Most of the players had played together since childhood, resulting in a very close-knit team. They sang the Mickey Mouse theme song on the bus ride to games as inspiration. They played together very well and overall make very few errors and had 6 players bat over 300 for the season.

As playoff time rolled around the team was stunned with the news that one of their best players, ace short stop Bill White, had lost a toe in a lawn mower accident. Dan Kessler was moved from left field to fill in at short stop and did an outstanding job having not played the position before. Don Duncan who had just completed his track season with a State championship in the pole vault was added to the team to fill the foster.

The “Mouseketeers” kept their surprise alive through the District and Regional and the downed powerful Carbondale 7-2 in the Sectional championship behind the grand slam home run of Bill Taylor. The orphan dream season came to a close with a 0-3 loss to Taylorville in the quarterfinals (Elite Eight) of the State playoffs.

Ron Johnson was the leading pitcher with a 1.69 ERA in 85 innings, 86 strikeouts, and an 8-3 record. Ron Black won eight games while losing just one. 

Bill Taylor led the team with 33 RBI's and 25 hits, including 5 doubles and 3 triples.  Dan Kessler also had 25 hits and Neil Cohen and Bill White each had 5 doubles as well.  John Abrams was the leading batter with a .383 average.
Abrams later lost his life in Vietnam and the annual batting award at CHS is now named in his memory.

Coach Wilson gained his 100th career win during the season as the team tied a school record with 20 wins while losing only seven games

COACH: Jerry Wilson



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