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Gilmer honors Jaffre with state title

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

CHARLESTON -- It was only a matter of minutes after Joey Frashure had completed his final interview. It was time to be with his team, the parents and almost all of the Glenville community.

Frashure's team, the Gilmer County Titans, had just won the Class A title with a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Fayetteville in extra innings. Then it hit home.

Frashure embraced one of the followers who had spilled onto Charleston's Watt Powell Park with tears in his eyes.

"I have never been around so many great individuals as I have this season with these guys," Frashure said. "It's been an honor. I just fill out the lineup card and ride the bus."

And the ride was an emotional wave.

Just more than a year ago, Frashure was an assistant when Gilmer County head coach David Jaffre died from a heart attack during the Titans' opening-round sectional tournament game. Gilmer County strung three wins together only to fall to Pendleton County in the regional finals.

This season the Titans were champs. This season was for coach Jaffre.

"He was with us the whole time," Gilmer County pitcher Justin Townsend said. "He is still such a huge part of this team. This season was for him. We wanted to win this one for coach."

Townsend delivered on his team's promise with the game-winning single to left in the bottom of the eighth. After making the turn at first, he watched teammate Travis Moss score the game-winning run and almost immediately gave a personal tribute with a look and point up in the air.

"I know he was watching," Townsend said. "Last year we won a couple of games, but we were still down. We knew this year we had to go to states for coach Jaffre. We played all year for him. He was a good coach."

Frashure was especially close to Jaffre. The 21-year-old Glenville State student played four seasons for him and served as an assistant for two.

"This is just a follow through on what coach Jaffre has built," Frashure said. "He built this program. He was a tremendous coach.

"I know you guys don't understand. We lived with this guy every day. He loved baseball, and baseball was his life. I'm sure he was looking down on us today."

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com.

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