Bath-Lynchburg High School “Ramblers”

Bath-Lynchburg High School Building
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Taken by Beau Spencer

The History of Bath-Lynchburg High School

Bath (population 310) is a small town located on the banks of the East Branch of the Illinois River. The town is situated on the western edge of Mason County on Il. Rt. 78, approximately 9 miles south of Havana.

There is limited information available on the IHSA web site ( regarding the high school. There is listed a Bath-Lynchburg High School and a Bath Balyki High School under Boys Basketball. Lynchburg is a township around Bath and Kilbourne is a town near Bath. Hence, the name Balyki comes from BAth + LYnchburg + Kilbourne.

The school faired quite well in boys’ basketball. Bath Balyki HS was deactivated in 1991. The students from Bath are now attending the Havana school system.

Two great website addresses helping keep the Bath Balyki HS spirit alive can be viewed at:  and

The pages were developed alumnus Kenny Crookes, a great fan of the Glory Days site. These pages are fun to read with some classic photos from the “glory days” of Bath Balyki High School!

If you have any further information regarding Bath-Lynchburg please contact us at .

Bath-Lynchburg High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                        1920 (classes held in GS bldg.)

Year HS building built:           1921

First Graduating Class:          1923 (one student)

Year “Balyki” formed:             1954

School nickname:                   the “Ramblers” (1933 – 1954)

the “Sea Gulls” (? – 1933)

School colors:                        Sable & Orange

School Fight Song:                 unavailable


The Ramblers were a force to be reckoned with in boys’ basketball all the way to the end of the Bath-Lynchburg H.S. existence. The Bath-Lynchburg boys won 3 District Championships in basketball, and finished as runner-up three more times!

One interesting piece of information was found for us by our good friend Phil Shadid.  Phil’s research showed that the Bath-Lynchburg High School nickname had an interesting development:

“Bath-Lynchburg HS in the early 1930’s was known as the “Sea Gulls”, but 40 students petitioned the county newspaper in 1933 and said they wanted to be called the “Ramblers”.  The editor said OK: Ramblers it is.”

We are also told that the Bath-Lynchburg High School building in Bath (pictured at the top of this page) housed its gymnasium on the second floor. The gym was said to be quaint but sturdy. This gym was later converted to other uses for the school when the new “Thunderdome” gymnasium was built.

As the Bath-Lynchburg HS “Sea Gulls”:

Season       Record                                                                 Coach

1923-24        20-4       Postseason scores needed               L. E. Heinz

1924-25        21-5       Mason County Tourney Champs   L. E. Heinz

Postseason scores needed 

1925-26        29-3       Mason County Tourney Champs   L. E. Heinz

Postseason scores needed

Bath-Lynchburg HS Basketball Team 1925-26
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Provided by Bruce Firchau

1926-27           ?         Postseason scores needed               L. E. Heinz

1927-28           ?         Postseason scores needed               L. E. Heinz

1928-29           ?         2ND Place – Mason Cty. Tourney   Maurice Root

                                   Postseason scores needed               

1929-30           ?         Postseason scores needed               Maurice Root

1930-31           ?         Postseason scores needed               Maurice Root

1931-32        28-1      District Tourney Champs                 Maurice Root

                                  Undefeated Regular Season

                                  Mason County Tourney Champs

                                  3RD Place / Sectional Tourney

                                  District Tourney Scores

                                  1st Rd Beat Greenview 31-20

                                  Semi-Final Beat Havana 19-9

                                  Title Game Beat Athens 22-19

                                  Springfield Sectional Tourney

                                  1st Rd Beat Jerseyville 34-24

                                  Semi-final lost to Beardstown 21-20

Sectional Consolation Game – Beat Lincoln 19-18

Beardstown lost to Springfield HS in Sectional title game

Springfield HS lost in Elite 8 Rd to Canton

Canton lost in state title game

Bath-Lynchburg Ramblers of 1931-32
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Submitted by Phil Shadid

BATH-LYNCHBURG BASKETBALL TEAM, 1931-32 (pictured above):

Front row, from left: Walter Sarff, Andrew Lindsay, Emery Sarff, John Kenneth Fletcher.

Middle row, from left: Basil Schaeffer, Roy Sarff, Clyde Coddington, Floyd Coddington, Gerald (Charlie) Allen, Tom Minor, Harry Clemons.

Back row, from left: principal Lee Blair, Floyd Sarff, C. J. Cantrall, Howard Kolves, Melvin Lacey, coach Maurice Root


                                              Article by Phil Shadid

The above headline is sometimes subjective, but in 1931-32, the basketball team achieved that status.  Coach Maurice Root (a Carthage College graduate) guided the team to a 28-1 record, winning these championships: Mason County tournament, West Central Conference (8-0), Mason City District tournament; plus third place in the Springfield Sectional tourney.

The boys won four games in the County tournament whipping Havana twice and beating Kilbourne and San Jose.  The first win over Havana in the tourney was a 6-4 victory.  Havana slowed the game greatly because Bath had trampled them 50-5 earlier in the season.  They met again, this time in the championship game, with B-L winning 20-8.

In the District tournament, tall center Clyde Coddington, Emory Sarff and Gerald Allen took turns leading the team in scoring.  They beat Greenview 31-20, Havana 19-9 and secured the title with a 22-19 come-from-behind win over Athens.

They lost their only game of the season in the semi-final of the Sectional played at the State Arsenal (a huge castle-like building) on March 18, 1932, a one point loss to Beardstown (21-20).  B-L had beaten the Tigers by eight points earlier in the year.  Their 27th straight win (the longest undefeated streak in the state) occurred the night before when they beat Jerseyville 34-24, in the Sectional opener.  The Ramblers edged Lincoln 19-18 in the third place game on March 19, thereby establishing themselves as one of the 24 best teams in the state (811 schools had begun district play in March, and only eight teams went to the state finals).

Sports Editor Bob Drysdale of the Springfield State Journal wrote in his column on March 20:  “Volunteers offered to help with writing the headline for the Bath-Lincoln game.  There were a half dozen variations of BATH CLEANS LINCOLN SATURDAY NIGHT.  Personally, we’d say that Lincoln, which had expected to take Bath, failed to find the stopper, so its game was a washout.  But one thing is certain, Bath cleaned up a lot of central Illinois hardwoods before it was stopped in the semi-finals.”

Clyde Coddington and Gerald Allen paced the team during the season and had plenty of help from Clyde’s brother Floyd, Roy and Emory Sarff, Andrew Lindsay, Thomas Minor, Bazzile Schaeffer and Harry Clemons.

For 29 games the Ramblers averaged beating their opponents by a 26-13 margin.

The best team in the history of the school?  YOU BET!

For further information on the 1931-32 Sea Gulls check out

As the Bath-Lynchburg HS “Ramblers”

Season   Record                                                                     Coach

1932-33     13-5       2ND Place Mason County Tourney   Maurice Root

Postseason scores needed


1933-34     10-7       Lewistown District Tourney                   Maurice Root

1st Rd Beat Lewistown 25-18

Semi-final lost to Canton 26-11

Canton beat Fairview in title game

Canton lost in Sectional

1934-35     12-6       Mason City District Tourney                  Maurice Root

                                1st Rd Score Needed

 2nd Rd Beat Petersburg 20-18

                                Semi-final lost to Havana

Havana beat Athens in title game

Havana lost in Sectional

1935-36     10-9       Havana Regional Tournament              Maurice Root

                                1st Rd Beat San Jose 34-28

                                Semi-final lost to Athens 34-28

Athens beat Havana in title game

Athens lost in Sectional

1936-37     11-11       Postseason scores needed              Homer Bartholomew


1937-38     18-8         San Jose District Runner-Up         Homer Bartholomew

                                  Early Rd Scores Needed

                                  Title Game lost to Greenview 36-34

                                  IHSA Regional Qualifier

                                  Lost – semi-final in Regional Tourney

Regional Scores Needed

1938-39     16-6          IHSA District Runner-Up                Homer Bartholomew

District Scores Needed

                                   Athens Regional Tournament

                                   1st Rd lost to Riverton 31-29 (2 O/Ts)

Riverton lost to Athens in Semi-final

Athens lost to Tallula in title game

Tallula lost in Sectional

Bath-Lynchburg HS Basketball Team 1938-39
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Courtesy of Gerta Griffin, Submitted by Phil Shadid

 Standing, from left: Homer Bartholomew (Principal/coach), Johnie Conway, Lowell Markert, Raymond Middelkamp, Clifford Coddington, Arthur Elmer Finch, Ralph Siltman.

Seated, from left: Melvin Dobson, Allen Connolly, Morris Bell, Robert Dierker, Ira Everett Smith.

….Photo courtesy of Gerta Griffin.

1939-40     18-8       2nd Place District Tourney                Homer Bartholomew

                                District Scores Needed


1940-41     11-9       Consolation Champions –                    Homer Bartholomew

Mason County Tourney

Postseason scores needed

1941-42      8-16      Postseason scores needed                 Homer Bartholomew


1942-43    13-10      Postseason sores needed                   Homer Bartholomew

Consolation champs in 1943

Mason County Tourney.

Runner-up to San Jose in District Tourney

District Scores Needed

1943-44    12-10      Postseason sores needed                   Arthur Stills


1944-45      5-10      Greenview District Tournament           Arthur Stills

1st Rd lost to Greenview 52-49

1945-46      4- 18      Postseason sores needed                   W. B. Lindsay

1946-47      4- 20      Postseason sores needed                   James Lattig 

1947-48      3- 21      Postseason sores needed                   Art Vallicelli


1948-49    10- 15      Easton District Tournament                 Art Vallicelli

                                 1st Rd Beat Kilbpourne 47-41

Semi-final lost to Chandlerville 40-37

Chandlerville lost to Easton in title game

1949-50    14- 10      Athens Regional Tournament              Art Vallicelli

                                 1st Rd lost to Athens 63-42

Athens beat Havana in title game

1950-51    16- 10      Greenview District Champions         Art Vallicelli

                                  1st Rd Beat Greenview 66-24

                                  Semi-final Beat Chandlerville 58-44

                                  Title Game Beat New Holland 49-43

                                  Havana Regional Tournament

                                  1st Rd lost to Easton 53-52

Easton lost to Mason City in title game


1951-52    10- 14      Bath District Runner-Up                    George Kapas

                                 Early Rd Score Needed

                                 Semi-final Beat Tallula 65-38

                                 Title Game lost to Chandlerville 57-46

1952-53      8- 18      Postseason scores needed                 Joe Eckstein


1953-54    14- 7        IHSA District Champions                  Joe Eckstein

                                 District Scores Needed

                                 Havana Regional Tournament

                                 1st Rd lost to Mason City 67-56

Mason City beat Havana in title game

**From our good friend Phil Shadid:

Information regarding the MASON COUNTY BOYS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT, which was held for 68 years, and ended in 1989:

Bath-Lynchburg won 3 County Tourney championships, finishing second 2 other times!!”

Track & Field

Phil Shadid offered this piece of information regarding the Bath-Lynchburg Track program of the 1930s and 1940s:

Homer “Buster” Bartholomew also coached baseball and track during his seven years at Bath-Lynchburg High School. In track, two of his boys qualified for the State Track finals in May 1943, the first time in the history of the school. Bath finished third in the District Track meet at Macomb, behind Quincy and Jacksonville. Eldon Herrmann, a junior, won the Discus and was second in the Shot Put. Melvin Fletcher, sophomore, won the High Hurdles and finished fourth in the Low Hurdles. They were both eliminated in the early rounds of the State meet at Champaign. (Bath’s high school enrollment in 1943 was 63 students.)

*Homer “Buster” Bartholemew – (Research provided by Phil Shadid)

                                                                                                              Principal/Coach Homer Bartholomew
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                                                                                                                     Submitted by Phil Shadid

Mr. Bartholomew had a long history of coaching and officiating sports. He was born in 1891 in Loami and passed away in June 1943 after a brief illness. The loss of his left arm as a child did not deter him from pursuing athletics and education. He graduated from Illinois State Teachers College (now Illinois State Univ.) with a degree in Education and obtained his Masters from the University of Illinois. (See his baseball team photo on the Loami page of this website.)

He taught in one-room country schools in the Loami and New Berlin areas from 1910-21.

He was the first basketball coach in the history of New Berlin High School (1917-21). In 1922 he moved to the Chatham school district where he coached boys and girls teams until 1936. He was also elevated to Principal of both the grade and high schools in 1931 at Chatham. In September 1936 he took the job of Supt/Principal/Teacher/Coach of the Bath-Lynchburg schools.

He was a principal organizer of the Sangamon County Conference for 3-year high schools in 1925. Bartholomew was also known as a top-notch referee for basketball and football games and umpired for several years in baseball. (He helped organize the Springfield Officials Association.)

On an early January 1938 Saturday, referees Ron Gibbs (who would officiate in the NFL from 1940 to 1962) and Homer Bartholomew, worked a morning semi-final game at Athens in the annual Athens-Greenview basketball tournament.  After the game was over the two ref’s drove to Greenview and officiated in a late morning semi-final. At the conclusion of the game, Bartholomew drove home to Bath where he was a teacher/coach for the B-L High School.  He coached his team to a win over Forest City in the late afternoon. When that game was over he drove to Athens and worked the tourney championship game that night with Gibbs.  Four games in one day!

When he passed away, hundreds of his friends and fans paid their respects and turned out. As his friend Bob Drysdale, Sports Editor of the State Journal (Springfield) wrote:  “He was an ardent booster for all sports.  And with it all he made hundreds of friends.  His influence helped to send scores of boys (and girls) into successful careers.  His kind can not be replaced in the school room, the athletic field, or in life.”


The Ramblers competed on the diamonde as well.  we have limited information on this program at Bath-Lynchburg High School but were sent the folowing information by Ted Connolly:

” My uncle, Larry Lippert, asked me to send you the following information about the 1954 Abe Lincoln Conference Baseball Championship. This information is from a report by The Pekin Daily Times in October of 1954…

1954 Abe Lincoln Conference Championship

Final score:  Mason City 1    Bath-Lynchburg 0   in 16 innings

Both starting pitchers went the distance;  Ken Bracey (Mason City) 16 innings, Larry Lippert (Bath-Lynchburg) 15 2/3 innings.

This game set several state records:

1. Longest game;  3 hours 30 minutes

2. Most recorded outs for two starting pitchers;  95  out of 105 official at-bats

3. Most strikeouts for two starting pitchers;  43.  23 for Bracey,  20 for Lippert

4. Most scoreless innings for two starting pitchers;  16 for Bracey,  15 2/3 for Lippert

The following year Bath-Lynchburg defeated Mason City by the score of 1 – 0 in 1955

Larry did not mention that during his high school career he also pitched both games of a double-hitter and both games were no hitters. He also played basketball “.


Goes out to the Village of Bath, Havana Public Library, the A. Lincoln Presidential Library for microfilm records of State Journal-Register (Springfield) and Mason County Democrat (Havana).

And a very SPECIAL gratitude goes out to a great friend of the Glory Days website, Phil Shadid, who provided most of the research for this page.


Seeking Further Information

We are seeking information regarding Bath-Lynchburg High School’s storied past. Please contact us via email at or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva Ave.

Chicago, IL  60631

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