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Saturday, July 27th, 2024

at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
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1972 Monterey High School Baseball “State Champions”

Class of 2015

1972 Monterey High School Baseball “State Champions”

Monterey Plainsmen Baseball had come close to a state championship in 1970 and even closer in 1971, but it was the 1972 Plainsmen that finally captured the first state championship for Monterey High School and Head Coach, Bobby Moegle, who would go on to be named the National High School Baseball Coach of the Year.

Building off a trip to the state semi-finals in 1970 and a 5-4 state championship loss to Houston Bellaire in 1971, the 1972 Plainsmen team had one goal, to bring home the state championship to Monterey High School. With only three returning starters off a 1971 team that finished 33-3, that seemed like a daunting task. Standout pitcher, Donnie Moore, was back for his senior season, along with juniors, Gary Ashby, at first base, and Tommy McIntyre at shortstop. New players would have to play vital roles if a Plainsmen state championship was to become a reality.

Senior transfer, Mark Griffin, and sophomores Marlin Hamilton and Jimmy Shankle would turn out to be key additions, to the returning starters, in Monterey’s run to the state championship. Coach Moegle would later call Shankle the best sophomore in the state of Texas.

By Monterey’s standards, the 1972 team got off to a slow start with 8 wins and 4 losses in the non-district portion of the schedule. However, the Plainsmen turned it on in district play, going 14-1 and claiming another district championship.

After hard-fought playoff victories over Amarillo Tascosa (MHS won in two games) and El Paso Burges (another two game series win with Moore tossing a no-hitter in game one) the Plainsmen faced off against familiar foe, Abilene High, in the regional championship series. Monterey had defeated the Eagles the previous two years to advance to the state tournament, and they would have to do it again. In a battle of two of the state’s top pitchers, Abilene’s Clint Thomas got the win over Monterey’s Moore, in game one, by a score of 1-0. The Plainsmen battled back in game two to win a wild one, 9-8. That set up a decisive game three and a rematch of Moore and Thomas on the mound. This time, Moore hurled a one-hitter, and the Plainsmen were on their way to Austin with a 4-3 victory.

Moore continued his mastery on the mound in the state semi-finals by throwing a two-hitter in a 6-1 win over Corpus Christi Carroll. That win put Monterey back in the state championship game against the team that beat the Plainsmen the previous year for the state title, Houston Bellaire. Jim Gideon, the ace pitcher of Bellaire, easily led his team to their semifinal victory and the rematch with Monterey.

Everything was in place for a storybook finish for the ‘72 Plainsmen. The teams battled through six innings and the score was tied 1-1. By the seventh inning, both of the teams pitching aces were back on the mound. With Monterey batting in the top of the 7th inning, McIntyre was on second base and Griffin was coming to the plate. Griffin laced a triple to the right-centerfield gap, easily scoring McIntyre from second base, and giving Monterey the lead, 2-1, heading to the bottom of the seventh.

With one out, in the bottom of the seventh, Bellaire loaded the bases against Moore. The game and the championship were on the line and Moore responded by striking out the last two Bellaire hitters. Monterey had its first state championship in school history.

Moore would later become Coach Moegle’s only player to make it all the way to Major League Baseball. However, several of the players off the 1972 team would continue their baseball careers in college and in professional baseball. Gary Ashby was an All-American at Texas Tech and Griffin played on a national championship team at the University of Texas. Ashby, Shankle and Larry Horn went on to play minor league professional baseball.

Monterey Plainsmen Baseball and Coach Bobby Moegle are secure in history as one of the greatest programs and coaches in high school baseball. But, it was the 1972 team that broke the barrier and brought home the first of four state championships for the Plainsmen.
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