New sign adorns Unaka's Claude Holsclaw Field

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Claude Holsclaw was recognized earlier this year with his name permanently attached to the baseball field at Unaka High School.
   The field was opened to the Ranger baseball squad during most of their memorable 2003 state tournament season, and constantly undergoes positive changes, including a new sign in the outfield reading the "Claude Holsclaw Field of Dreams."
   "I'd liked to have had this when I was up here," Holsclaw said Wednesday at Unaka High School. "It's up to date and really nice."
   The field is cornered differently than the older field, with a bank to overlook it.
   "The bank sets it off here," he said. "They've worked hard on this field and they have amphitheater like seating on the bank. The field looks as good as any in the area."
   Holsclaw recalled the length of the old baseball field at Unaka when he first coached, only seeing a pair of home runs hit.
   "I only saw two in the old field where I coached before they moved it in," he said. "They can hit them out now."
   A power hitting team like Unaka can benefit from the layout of their field, giving them a solid homefield advantage.
   The field was named in honor of Holsclaw during a ceremony on February 13th between the Unaka-Hampton boys and girls basketball games.
   Holsclaw earned 302 wins as the baseball coach at Unaka and Elizabethton. He also had a stellar collegiate playing career at Tennessee, where he shone in the 1945 Rose Bowl, and Milligan College, where he was the first athlete in school history to letter in four sports during a year.
   Holsclaw led Elizabethton to the state baseball finals in 1958, where they were defeated by Memphis Christian Brothers High School, the location of Unaka's final state tournament game in 2003.
   The Rangers won many conference titles and had several excellent teams during Holsclaw's campaign until his retirement. He is honored by the field and the support the community gave him during his time at the school.
   As Holsclaw said in February: "Any coach that's coached anything can tell you, you can never be honored any more than by having a field named after you."
   The Unaka baseball program did just that.