North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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July 25, 2013

Community Champions: Mickey Yarbrough helps state softball champions as he awaits transplant

HAYDEN — This profile of an NJN Community Champion was featured in our Progress 2013 section.

It is a sometimes thankless job, that of a scorekeeper for a baseball or softball team.

There’s minutiae of all sorts to deal with, and almost as many judgement calls as the umpires on the field of play.

Was that an error on the shortstop that let the batter reach first base safely, or was it a base hit all the way? Did the runner advance on a wild pitch or a passed ball? And by the way, make sure you counted all the runs correctly, since the scoreboard isn’t official — assuming there’s one available at all.

Mickey Yarbrough was the man for Hayden High School’s softball team during the last three seasons. At home games, he would take his place in the Wildcats dugout, close by head coach John Simmons as he watched his granddaughter Katie Parr pitch and play third base. And since the Cats’ relatively-new softball field doesn’t have a scoreboard (yet), it was his job to keep track of the score batter by batter — very important in close games against area rivals Mortimer Jordan or Curry, but also when Hayden was running up the score on a lesser opponent, and getting close to winning by the mercy rule.

Yarbrough was fortunate enough to go along for the ride all season, and what a ride it was. The Wildcats got past the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets — arguably their toughest foes at any level of the post-season — and went all the way to the AHSAA Class 5A State Championship in Mont­gomery. It was the first varsity state title in any sport in Hayden High history.

But hardly anyone knew that Yarbrough was in his own post-season battle: waiting for a new liver.

He’s now in line for the next available organ to be transplanted by UAB Hospital, and sixth overall in the southeastern United States. The need stems from a hereditary condition instead of a specific disease.

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