The ironic thing, as I continued to touch base in the last few weeks with my old friends from Turkey Run softball, was that they kept thanking me.

From the time I was talking to them by phone — or, in the case of left fielder Angie (Crum) Bigger, not talking to her by phone — all the way through Saturday night’s ceremonies for the 1996 state champions at the school, that seemed to be the somewhat misguided theme (more on that adjective in a minute).

Between the dominant performances of Vigo County swimmers at Mooresville earlier in the day, it was a hectic but wonderful Saturday for me, and at its end I got to spend time with some folks I probably hadn’t seen in the 10 years since the championship run.

I heard one new story while I was there, and Coach Keith Newlin said it was new to him too. Apparently one of the Turkey Run fans had overheard two fans from Northridge trying to figure out exactly where Turkey Run was located prior to the semifinal game. Once they found out, their conclusion was, “This game shouldn’t last long.”

They were right, of course. Turkey Run 10, Northridge 0, five innings.

I also got to meet Kate Newlin, one-third of a group of fans who attended every Turkey Run that year — maybe every year — and who naturally were in attendance Saturday night. Kate is the mother of Keith and Coach Jerry Newlin, which makes her the grandmother of Stacey and Kim (and a few more) and the great-grandmother of budding stars Gabriela Falls and Owen Myers.

Kate and her friends, Betty Garrard and Virginia Chapman, are apparently still ready and willing to attend a game at the drop of a hat; I heard someone ask her about dropping by her house to see her, and Kate said, “I’m never at home.”

Gabriela and Owen, by the way, were among a group of very athletic-looking youngsters wearing T-shirts that said something like, “My mom was a state champion.” The wording may have been slightly different, because I learned that night that my memory is a little bit faulty. In my stories on Feb. 12, I neglected to mention two significant members of the Warrior softball family, assistant coach/scorekeeper Jim Bosley and announcer Jerry Harry; I’d forgotten about a key defensive play in the championship game by third baseman Kendra Bosley; and the last out was caught by Kim Newlin in right-center, not left-center as I had written.

Yes, the tape of the championship game was being shown as we mingled — and Jerry and Keith were still coaching all the way through it. Jerry’s wife, Stacey’s mom, said she’d seen the championship game hundreds of times by now, and the Warriors keep winning it.

But here’s the point to all this. Writers are always on the lookout for a good story, and for sportswriters a winning team is the best story of all. I’ve already been blessed with a bunch of spectacular stories in my career — like the 1979 Sycamores, the 2002 Terre Haute South girls basketball team and the one from 10 years ago, all of which bring smiles to my face to this day.

Keith Newlin asked me Saturday if any of the Terre Haute folks were upset that we devoted so much time to a team from 30 miles away, and I truthfully told him I’d not heard of any. I didn’t tell him what I thought, which was along the lines of, “Who cares?”

So no, Warriors, thank YOU. I promise each and every one of you that — at least until the time when Gabriela Falls (a lefty, by the way) is pitching to Isabelle Wooten, with an outfield of Haley and Sydney Bigger and Cassie Miller — if I ever again get to cover a story with more drama, more emotion, more human interest, more state-wide import, more historical significance and more sheer joy than the 1996 Turkey Run Warriors, I will call you and tell you about it.

Angie, you can keep your phone turned off.

I I I

Wrestling update — Terre Haute North graduate Amy Borgnini wrestled and won Monday against Sarka Andriova of the Czech Republic in a match at the Olympic Training Center at Northern Michigan.

Amy was also 2-2 a week earlier in the Dave Schultz Invitational in Colorado, one of her losses to a former Olympic silver medalist from Canada.

n Referee news — Members of the Wabash Valley Officials Association who worked girls basketball sectionals recently were Matt Knezevich at Warren Central; Mike Stoffers and Greg Hayes at Bloomington South; Bob Whikehart at Beech Grove; P.J. Pitts and George Knezevich at Cascade; Jay Slater and Trevor Michels at North Knox; Terry Tackett at Eminence; Rick Gentry, Brandon Harris and Steve Morris at Covington; and Don Corey, Barry Nicoson, Chuck Brueggeman and Mark Hopper at Clay City. It was the first sectional for both Tackett and Harris.

In last week’s regionals, Hayes and Morris worked at Southport; Hopper, Nicoson, Corey and Gentry at Bedford North Lawrence; Slater and Stoffers at Jasper; and Whikehart and Pitts at North Daviess.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at 1-800-783-8742 or at (812) 231-4277; by e-mail at andy.amey@tribstar.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.