Keith Schrimsher
Class of 2018

Keith Schrimsher
When people ask Athens Bible School baseball coach Bill Murrell to name the best pitcher he ever coached, he doesn’t have to think long. It’s Keith Schrimsher.

“People will sometimes ask who is the best pitcher I ever had, and they wanted to know that about Kenneth (recently graduated pitcher Kenneth Adams),” Murrell said. “I put Kenneth up there, but Keith stands all alone as the No. 1 pitcher.”

The statistics would certainly seem to back Murrell’s assessment. Schrimsher, who pitched at ABS from 1973-75, had a 19-1 record in his career, including four no-hitters. Schrimsher’s career earned run average was 0.69 and he averaged 14 strikeouts per game.

His only loss in high school was his final game as a senior, and ironically, Schrimsher said that’s the best game he feels he ever pitched at ABS.

In those days, the first two rounds of the baseball playoffs were single elimination, and Athens Bible traveled to Hackleburg for it’s first-round game.

The game was scoreless in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, when Schrimsher made a throwing error after fielding a ground ball, which allowed the winning run to score. “I had struck out 18 batters in 6 2/3 innings,” Schrimsher said. “I really feel I could have pitched 11 or 12 innings that day. It was the best stuff I ever had and I got beat 1-0. I still think about that from time to time.”

But the way Schrimsher’s final game ended doesn’t tarnish the rest of his career, which continued to college and professional baseball following his days at ABS. Schrimsher earned a baseball scholarship to the University of South Florida, where he played under Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. He set a school record with 21 pitching appearances during his senior season at USF. He later pitched two seasons in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system. Murrell first came to Athens Bible as an assistant coach in 1970, and remembers head coach at the time Price Parker talking about Schrimsher’s ability.

“Price told me he had a young boy who could really throw,” Murrell said. “Well, the first time I saw him (Schrimsher), I realized Price was right.”

When Parker died, Murrell was elevated to head coach in 1973, where he got to coach who he calls his greatest- ever pitcher right off the bat.

“He really spoiled me,” Murrell said. “We’ve had some very good pitchers since, but just the sheer fact of his overall record and what he could do for the team makes him No. 1. The team felt like with him on the mound, they had a chance to win every game if they could just score one run.”

Schrimsher is the third Athens Bible athlete to be selected for the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame, joining basketball standout Cody Sweetland and volleyball player and coach April Davis.

“It’s a tremendous honor because I’ve known so many people in the hall of fame,” Schrimsher said. “A lot of them were my heroes growing up, people like Johnny Black, Jerry Todd, Coach (Fermin) Elmore, Lynn Holladay, Larry McCoy, Cliff Coggin, Bill Nichols, Robert Witt and my dad (Morris Schrimsher). It’s an honor to be in the same organization as those kinds of winners.”