Gammon, Pulcifur-Fleming and Burnett inducted into PIHS shrine

6 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Tim Olore called Todd Gammon the best hitter he has ever coached during his 33 years involved at the recreation and high school levels.

“His swing was quick, short and mechanically sound, but very violent,” said Olore, who had Gammon during his years directing the summer recreation baseball program in Presque Isle and later as his varsity baseball coach. “Opposing teams feared him and respected him, and I had a front row seat for it all.”

Olore was Gammon’s presenter at Friday’s Presque Isle High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The 2018 inductees also included Angela Pulcifur Fleming from the graduating Class of 1997, and Clarence Burnett from the Class of 1932, who was inducted posthumously.

Gammon also was a standout in soccer and basketball for the Wildcats, graduating in 1991, but was renowned for having one of the most impressive baseball resumes in the modern era at PIHS. His four-year career statistics, announced by Olore, included a .455 batting average, 68 extra base hits, 30 home runs; 108 runs batted in, 179 total bases and 61 stolen bases.

Gammon had a large group of teammates in baseball and the other sports attend Friday’s event.

“I’m amazed, humbled and honored to be inducted,” Gammon said during his acceptance speech and quickly recalled how fortunate he was to spend his childhood in Presque Isle.

“I was fortunate to play in an amazing recreation program growing up,” he said. “I spent all my waking hours down there and it got the fire burning in me at a young age.”

Gammon said he looked back with pride on his time being a Skyway Rocket as a junior high student and later as a varsity athlete at the high school under longtime coaches Dick Gardiner in soccer, Tim Prescott in basketball and Olore in baseball. All the teams, then competing in Class A, were successful and he appreciated playing under the three coaches, who all attended the ceremony, throughout his entire career.

“I played with a chip on my shoulder,” he said, noting his teams never lost to rival Caribou in his four years. “We were good and we expected to win.

“I’ll always fondly remember the fan support, the bus rides, the band playing at the basketball games, the school pride and all the people I got to meet [through athletics].”

Fleming’s presenter, her high school track coach David Maxcy, called her one of the top throwers in the America East Conference and in New England as a college scholarship track athlete at Div. I University of Maine at Orono.

As a student-athlete at Presque Isle High School, Fleming still holds the school record in the discus and javelin. She excelled in other sports as she was an all-state honorable mention in soccer under coach Brian Cronin and was a starter and key defensive player on coach Dick Barstow’s 1997 state champion Wildcat basketball team.

“I worked my heart out and wanted to contribute to the team and the success of Presque Isle High School,” she said during her acceptance speech, while also stating her appreciation of the community, her family and all the fans during her playing days.

The presenter for Burnett was Jim Carter, a local sports historian who nominated Burnett for the hall of fame.

Burnett garnered 14 letters during his career in football, basketball, baseball and track and stood out in all four sports, making all-county in football, all-state in basketball, batting better than .300 in baseball and setting Aroostook League records in the 100-yard dash and the broad jump in track and field.

Paula Burnett, a 1974 graduate, accepted the award and told the audience her father “would have been so delighted to be inducted.” She said whenever anybody brought up the 1932 state champion basketball team, “it put a smile on his face.”

She added that her father, who passed away in 1992, loved being a Wildcat and continued to follow and support the school’s athletic program long after he graduated.