WHITE HALL — White Hall coach Skip Carr knows what it feels like to be on the field after winning a state championship game.
It is the same feeling he wants his team to have when White Hall plays Watson Chapel for the Class 5A championship at 7 p.m. on Friday at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
White Hall made its only trip to the baseball state championship game in 1980. Carr was a centerfielder for the Bulldogs, which beat Little Rock Catholic 2-1 for the title.
“It was an amazing victory and I still get goose bumps whenever I think about it,” Carr said. “Now as a coach, you know how it feels to win it, and you want to get the kids in a position to win it. I just want them to feel the joy like I felt it then.”
Carr is stressing about this state title game more than the one in 1980, but the circumstances have changed quite a bit. Carr just had to play in the game and listen to the coach, something he did a lot of. He said back then, the players would play baseball all day before playing a game at night.
That is exactly what Carr did too. He just played and had fun with it.
“We just played baseball, and I didn’t have a worry in the world then,” he said. “We played all day and played games at night. There wasn’t a lot of strategy to it, we just played.”
Now Carr says there is a lot more strategy involved and the players are more skilled since some players are starting to specialize in just one sport instead of participating in as many sports as they could.
“When I played the game, I didn’t know a whole lot about it. Not that I know a whole lot about it now,” Carr joked. “I have read a bunch and studied the game a bunch since.”
Even thought Carr claims there was not much strategy involved back then, the Bulldogs won the game on a strategic play.
Little Rock Catholic was undefeated going into the championship game and had beat White Hall earlier in the year. But late in the game, the Bulldogs had a runner on first and another on third. Carr was the runner on first base.
“We scored the winning run on a double steal,” Carr said. “We went into the state championship game against a team that has already beaten us, was undefeated and a lot better school.”
While some might dwell on that championship game, White Hall player Nathan Lee said Carr does not reference the game too much.
“Every once in a while he will talk about it, but he doesn’t bring it up too much,” he said. “I like to hear about them because we only have one championship.”
One similarity from that game is Watson Chapel beat White Hall twice this season.
White Hall has come close to making the championship game under Carr, who has coached the Bulldogs for the past 14 years, twice — in 2004 and 2006. White Hall was beaten in the semifinals in 2006 mainly because of the pitching of Greenwood’s Tyler Wilson, who is now the quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
White Hall was able to break through this year as the Bulldogs beat Nettleton 12-2 in the semifinals, and Carr would love to win a championship with the team he has now.
“I have been with this group for about nine years when I formed a little tournament team with them,” he said. “It would be special, as it would be for any team I coached, to go all the way through the championship. It would be icing on the cake.”
Carr would also like to return the favor for White Hall making him the head coach of the team 14 years ago.
“I appreciate them giving me the opportunity and I feel over the last 14 years, baseball has become more of an interest to the city,” he said.