Originally created 06/01/01

Team finds icon in radio announcer



SWAINSBORO, Ga. - On the radio in southeast Georgia, you can hear the popular phrases.

"Kyle Palmer's tater, a ribbie for Nate Smith, if it's not one thing, it's a hundred million more."

If the expressions sound familiar, they've been made popular in these parts by Swainsboro Tigers radio announcer Danny Henry, otherwise known as "The Stat Cat."

For more than two decades, Henry has served as the voice of the Swainsboro baseball program. In addition to calling the games for the Radio Group in Swainsboro, Henry reports all of the Tigers' scores and highlights to area newspapers and television stations.

Henry will call Swainsboro's state championship series with Gainesville, along with Bobby Gardner, who will handle the color commentary. Today's 3:30 p.m. doubleheader can be heard on Swainsboro's WXRS AM-1590.

The 43-year-old said he'll continue to call baseball games as long as he's needed. He knows Swainsboro's athletics history better than anybody in town and often can rattle off records off the top of his head. He's like a walking encyclopedia of general sports knowledge.

"The truth is, we've practically adopted Danny because Danny has adopted us," said Swainsboro baseball coach Hank Aldridge. "He's the - what's that word? - epitome of what Tiger baseball is all about. He has a lot of spirit, drive and determination.

"He's an example. And the kids respond to him."

GOOD PITCHING: Top-notch pitching is an ingredient that is essential to state playoff success. Swainsboro's top three pitchers - Ashley Hooks, Raymond Alford and Paul Terwilliger - have accounted for 25 of the team's 27 victories, and the trio is allowing fewer than three runs per game.

Hooks' 11 victories lead the team, and the senior right-hander has a 2.59 ERA in 70 1/3 innings.

Alford has the most strikeouts with 80, has a 6-6 record and a 2.89 ERA.

Terwilliger has the lowest ERA at 1.72 with an 8-2 record and 69 strikeouts.

MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS: Players such as Kenny Brown, Justin Hartmeyer and Wayne Curl don't get many at-bats, but Aldridge has cited all three for significant play this season.

Hartmeyer has been the Tigers' main courtesy runner, while Brown and Curl have filled in admirably at third base when Hooks pitches.

TRADITION VS. TRADITION: Gainesville has been considered a longtime baseball powerhouse, winning state titles in 1948, 1978, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The Red Elephants have been to the state semifinals eight times in the past 25 years and have captured 14 region championships since 1972.

Swainsboro won its only state title in 1951 while playing Class B baseball. The Georgia High School Association divided its schools into Class AA, A, B and C before 1973, when the GHSA disbanded the "C" classification.

In 1979, the GHSA threw out the "B" classification and went with Class AAAA, AAA, AA and A.

The Tigers last played for a state title in 1990, losing to Lovett in the Class AA finals. Swainsboro made the state semifinals in 1985 and has won seven region titles.

Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216 or timmorse@augustachronicle.com.