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Free clinic to honor Terry Childers Sr. and help a great cause

Posted: October 17, 2015 - 11:03pm  |  Updated: October 18, 2015 - 2:13am

Most folks in Columbia County are well aware of the impact of the Holder Family on local baseball.

Most are also aware of the Thornhill family and the success the three Thornhill brothers had on the diamond. However, some may not know as much about another family that is every bit as important in local baseball – the Childers family. Because all four Childers sons played at Westside, I have not written a lot about them over the years. That however, cannot diminish their incredible accomplishments. That is one reason why I am glad Matt Childers opened Complete Game LLC in Evans.

It gave me a chance to highlight the family’s incredible baseball story. That story starts with Terry Childers Sr. He was a standout player at Richmond Academy and Georgia Southern in the 1960s before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 28th round in 1968. Childers, a catcher, spent eight years in the minor leagues with the Cubs, Brewers and Expos before retiring. He also was the first fulltime head coach for Augusta College in 1980 and spent five seasons guiding the Jags. He instilled his love for the game in his four sons.

No matter how talented a father may be, or how much he teaches his kids, the odds of those kids reaching professional baseball is still remote. Well, the Childers family defied the odds. All four Childers boys made a mark in the game they loved.

Terry Jr. helped lead Westside to back-to-back state titles in 1987-88 before becoming a four-year starter behind the plate at the University of Georgia. He helped the ’Dogs win the 1990 World Series and spent two seasons in pro ball with the Expos and Mets organizations.

Next was Scott. He was also a standout at Westside and was a member of the title teams in 1987-88. He also played on the collegiate level and played pro ball in the independent leagues. After he quit playing, Scott made it back to pro ball as an umpire in the minor leagues.

Next was Jason, a pitcher. He played two seasons of JUCO ball after Westside. From there he had two incredible seasons at Kennesaw State. In his two seasons with the Owls, Childers went 19-4 with a 2.39 era. He also pitched the clincher as Kennesaw State won the 1994 Division II national title. (The catcher and hitting star on that team was Evans standout Chris Halliday). He went undrafted out of Kennesaw State, but signed a free agent deal with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1997 and spent 14 years in pro ball, reaching the Major Leagues with Tampa Bay in 2006.

Finally the youngest son, Matt came along. He was a star at Westside but, unlike his brothers, Matt did not play college ball. He went straight to the pros after being drafted in the ninth round by Milwaukee in 1997, the same year the Brewers signed his older brother. Matt spent 13 years in pro ball, reaching the major leagues with both Milwaukee and Atlanta.

After retiring, Matt moved to Columbia County and opened the Complete Game Baseball and Softball Training Facility. Over the last few years he has built a reputation as a solid teacher. And why not? He was groomed by his dad, Terry Sr., and Westside coach Gerald Barnes. Sadly, Terry Childers Sr. lost a lengthy battle with cancer in 2013 and passed away at the age of 66.

In honor of his father, the youngest Childers started a free baseball clinic a couple of years ago. The Line Drive Can Drive Baseball Clinic benefits The Golden Harvest Food Bank in memory of Terry Childers Sr. This year’s event will take place at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is free to attend. All they ask is you register ahead of time to reserve a spot, and all canned good donations will be appreciated. (Also, you do not have to attend the camp to make a canned goods donation.) To register and reserve a spot in the clinic, e-mail mattchilders@completegamellc.com or call Complete Game LLC at (706) 814-5916.

 

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