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Baseball Bests GMC on Jim Turner Appreciation Night

MACON, Ga. – Head baseball coach Jim Turner has never been at a loss for words.

His decorated 25-year career as FPD’s skipper has provided memories that are still praised by many of his current and former players.

But on Thursday night, April 17, the school stopped to honor Turner and the legacy he leaves behind to the baseball program in a pre-game ceremony at Ben Harden Field. He announced earlier this season he would step down as head coach to have more time with his family.

His family was in attendance, along with former FPD greats that included John Rocker (1993) and Michael Bridges (2006).

This time, Turner, with his hands in his face, “crying real tears” as he would say, saw his beloved number 34 retired in front of Viking nation. His words were few as memories flashed to and from his mind like a 90-mph fastball whizzing by a hitter.

“The stories (about Coach Turner) are endless,” Athletic Director Greg Moore said. “We thought long and hard about what would be the best way to honor him in a lasting way and retiring his jersey was the best way (to do that).”

Turner said the thought of having his jersey retired never crossed his mind.

“This was really special,” Turner said. “It’s hard for me to sum it up into words what this means to me. It’s just really special.”

Perhaps his Vikings summed it up for him, at least on the field. After all, there was a game following the ceremony.

The Vikings rolled to their tenth region win in 11 tries and pushed its season record to 13-5 with a 5-1 victory over the GMC Prep Bulldogs.

Sam Jones dazzled Bulldog hitters all night, tossing six shutout innings while allowing one hit and racking up 11 strikeouts en route to picking up his fourth win of the year.

FPD’s offense was hot early, scoring four runs in the first two innings.

The Vikings added another run in the fifth on a solo home run off the bat of Austin Cox that sailed over the right field fence.

Cox, who spoke during the pre-game ceremony, said the homer was nice, but playing for Turner is main highlight he will cherish.

“He knows so much about the game,” Cox said. “To be able to play for him is something I will never forget.”

It’s also a night number 34 will never forget.

After the post-game team meeting, Turner reached down and picked up his two granddaughters as they came running on the field to greet him.

A big bear-hug awaited them and on cue Turner exclaimed, “I love my girls!”

It’s something he will never forget.

The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by visiting www.twitter.com/FPDVikingSports.

VIDEO:

PHOTOS:

Photos from “Jim Turner Appreciation Night” on Flickr!

BOX SCORE:

FPD 5, GMC 1

GMC 000-000-1 – 1-2-2

FPD 220-010-x – 5-7-0

WP: Sam Jones (4-0). LP: Dalton Threatt

2B: FPD – Tyler Stubbs.

HR: FPD – Austin Cox.

Game notes: FPD retired head coach Jim Turner’s name in a pre-game ceremony…Cox homered in the fifth…K.J. Spears had two RBI’s…Jones had 11 strikeouts…FPD did not strike out during the game.

Records: FPD 13-5, 10-1 Reg. 7.

Next: FPD v. Warner Robins at Turner Field (Atlanta), 1:10 p.m., Saturday.