Case in Point

Brother and sister acts helping propel Wilton, Durant teams


For those of you braving the COVID-19 pandemic to attend area Wilton and Durant baseball and softball games, I felt it quite necessary to shed light on a very interesting phenomenon occurring on all four diamonds I frequent.

Every fan, parent, and even journalist, may be watching and/or noticing different details while at a ball game. There is no greater game of statistics than baseball (and softball) so there is plenty to watch for.

What has me shaking my head in awe is something quite different — something that can be best picked up on by looking at last names in the box scores.

I don’t know if there is something in the water, but brothers and sisters abound on the Wilton and Durant ball teams. On the varsity baseball and softball teams in Durant and Wilton, there are five sets of brothers and sisters playing and contributing in Wildcat and Beaver varsity lineups. They include:

* Durant baseball’s Logan and Lucas Callison, and Drew and Nolan DeLong.

* Wilton baseball’s Colby and Caleb Sawvell.

* Durant softball’s Kira and Kylie Schult.

* Wilton softball’s Hayley and Grace Madlock.

What’s even more amazing is that three of the five — the Callisons, Sawvells and Madlocks — are twins! Let that sink in, or blow you mind, for a moment.

All these boys and girls contribute to their respective teams. They pitch, field and hit with one another, and that’s just scratching the surface.

In Wilton, freshman Grace Madlock pitches to her twin sister Hayley, a catcher. A set of twins pitching and catching each other for the next four years is quite intriguing.

In Durant, younger sister Kylie Schult has taken over as the ace of the Wildcat softball squad, while sister Kira plays in the outfield. They bat fourth and fifth in the lineup respectively as well. I’m often seeing Kylie get on base and Kira driving her in. Remarkable.

On the Durant baseball diamond, when both sets of brothers are playing, it represents nearly half of the Wildcat batting order. In recent games, Nolan and Drew DeLong are batting No. 1 and 2 in the order, and Drew plays second base with Nolan often playing shortstop. Imagine them working a double play together. The Callison boys help from each side of the plate as one is left-handed and one is right-handed. It was the same in golf, as both would have led the Wildcats this season if COVID-19 hadn’t stopped it from happening.

Colby and Caleb Sawvell bat near each other in the Wilton lineup and play next to one another in the Beaver outfield.

I could go on and on, but hopefully our readers are amazed at this, as I am. If you’ve not noticed, keep it in the back of your mind next time you’re at a ball game.

Three of the five sets of brothers and sisters I’ve mentioned involve one or more seniors, so take advantage of these brother and sister acts while you can.

As an only child, I’ll never know what it’s like to have a brother or sister. The bond they must share I can only imagine. I will say that when I bring it up to any of them during sports coverage, as they all play multiple sports, they all speak of a bond and trust like no other.

Again it’s amazing for these small towns. There are even some brother and sister combos, and perhaps other tandems, between the teams, but I wanted to focus on varsity pairs of brothers and sisters who will be key contributors to the postseason stories our area teams are about to write for themselves. Enjoy!

A disclaimer—As I wrote about and suspected just a few short weeks ago, teams around Iowa are dropping like flies when it comes to COVID-19. Every time I turn around, I hear about another team either shutting down totally, or having to send players home due to exposure. It’s happening in our conference as well in both baseball and softball. So while I’m urging fans to go watch these brothers and sisters play, let me stop and say, please stay away if you feel ill or have been around someone you know to have had COVID-19. I’d also encourage it if you are in a vulnerable population as well. Or at least in that case, keep your distance. Find the right spot to follow these teams — which may be home reading your hometown newspaper.


Remembering Jack Henderson—Both Durant and Wilton lost a great man on Independence day with the death of Jack Henderson of Durant. He lived a long, full life and gave back to both the Durant and Wilton communities in more ways than one could count.

He was a member of our Greatest Generation as a veteran of World War II. He then served the city of Durant as both a city council member and mayor, always having his finger on the pulse of the community, even after his years of service.

He was the go-to man of the Durant-Wilton Food Pantry for decades, spending countless hours combing the state for food to distribute to needy families in the area.

The food pantry is next to our office, and I’d see Jack often after hours stocking the pantry, only to then show up every day it was open to help ensure no one left hungry.

At least once every couple months he’d visit our newsroom, exchanging pleasantries with our staff as he made his way to my office to “shoot the breeze” for a few minutes before going home. It could be politics, local sports, the St. Louis Cardinals, who knows … but I’d rarely get a word in as he’d have plenty to say. As his health deteriorated in recent months/years, I found myself missing his visits.

He’d often either bring candy from the pantry for our staff to share, or he’d come in empty handed and steal a few small candy bars from our dish. He was one of the good ones, with an infectious smile and laugh that will be truly missed.

If only all our residents — in both towns — could have the sense of community and giving as Jack did. RIP…