By Ken Lay


Central High School will unofficially open the 2015 baseball season with its first annual Leadoff Banquet on Jan. 31 at the Family Life Center at Central Baptist Church in Fountain City.


The event, which begins at 5 p.m. and will be emceed by WNML personality and University of Tennessee play-by-play broadcaster John Wilkerson.


The school will introduce the 2015 Bobcats and honor the 1990 State Championship Team, which went 31-0 and was achieved a No. 16 National Ranking.


Coach Bud Bales, who guided the 1990 Bobcats to the perfect season, will be on hand and Wilkerson will interview members of the championship squad.


The 1990 at three players drafted, including Todd Helton, Bubba Trammell and Chris Freeman. Many of the others also went on to play college baseball.


The team boasted eight all-KIL standouts and five all-East Tennessee players.


“I’m excited because I think we’re going to have a pretty good team,” said Central baseball coach Matt Byrd. “We’re going to honor the 1990 State Championship Team and Bud Bales is going to be there.


“We’ll also have John Wilkerson there and he’s going to interview the players from the 1990 team.”


The event will be catered by Buddy’s Bar-B-Q. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from any current Central baseball player or coach. Tickets may also be purchased through PayPal at