Monday evening saw the likes of a shutout victory for the Okemah Panther baseball team get followed by the official dedication of the new Tony Dean Baseball Facility.
After the Panthers put down the visiting Weleetka squad in a 5-0 victory, current- High School Principal and soon-to-be Superintendent Lee Vick called attention to the middle of the baseball field to honor and pay homage to Tony Dean.
The Panther team, along with Head Baseball Coach Matt Ross, brought out a banner that said “Okemah Public Schools – Tony Dean Baseball Facility … ‘Keep on Keepinʼ On.ʼ”
Several of Deanʼs family members, ages young and older to elderly, made their way to the middle of the field as Vick explained how important the occasion was.
The visiting Weleetka team and coaching staff, still decked out in their purple travel uniforms, stood-by respectfully as the proceedings took place.
Coach Ross spoke to the crowd, emotionally telling them how much the former- superintendent meant to him and Okemah Public Schools.
“You know, a lot of times we lose people close to us before we get to tell them about stuff like this happening,” Ross said. “But I got to talk to Mr. Dean in the hospital and got to tell him about the dedicating of the facility to him, so he knew about this — just wanted to let everyone know that.”
The crowd applauded, the baseball team stood tall, holding the banner and the family and coaching staff and Vick hugged and shook hands before taking a moment for a solemn prayer at the dedicationʼs conclusion.
The family was presented with a couple baseballs, signed by the team and coaching staff, as well as the memorial banner.