A team that generated high hopes for its followers and confirmed some of those hopes with a 23-5 record and a forth Egypt Conference Championship.

Although they opened and closed with losses, Coach Walt Kirk, Jr. , led his Wildcats, the “Knights of Marion County”, to 23 victories in the intervening 26 games while winning the NEC title with an 11-1 mark.

After the opening loss, Salem started a string of victories with an 81-66 win over Effingham with four players scoring in double figures led by Ed Perry’s 28 points, and following with a 52-51 win over Mt. Vernon as Jack Moore led with 16 points.

morris_steevensMorris Steevens, a 1958 graduate, a fireballing left-hander excelled in four sports at Salem Community High School.

Steevens later pitched professionally for the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League.

Steevens started his high school pitching prowess with a four-hit shutout of Odin as a sophomore and also notched a four-hit victory over Centralia. During his junior year, he was the kingpin of the Wildcat pitching staff with five shutout victories, including a no-hit, 1-0 win over Flora. The Wildcats won their fourth straight North Egypt Conference championship that year and, with Steevens pitching a four-hitter, won the regional championship. During his senior year, Steevens combined with Jack Simmons and Billy Smith to pitch a 12-0, no-hit, win over Odin. Salem also won the district title that year, beating Centralia 4-2, with Steevens pitching a five hitter and contributing a two-run home run.

edward_perryDr. Edward E. Perry, a four sports star in high school, whose basketball career started as a sixth grader with the junior varsity in junior high school and culminated as a three-time letter winner with the University of Illinois Fighting Illini.

Perry, who participated in basketball, baseball, football and track in high school, set records his senior year in high school in football and basketball. While basketball and football were his strongest sports in high school, he also lettered in baseball and track and was a member of the championship 880-yard relay team both his junior and senior years.

phillip_newportA former three-sports star at Salem Community High School, whose athletic career has wound from high school and college, and has culminated with 30 years in the teaching and coaching field, Phillip “Butch” Newport was inducted into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

Newport, a 1953 SCHS graduate, is a teacher and coach at Hollis Grade School at Bartonville. In 1989 his team placed fourth in the state in the Class A Division and he was named Division 4 Coach of the year.

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