Shelton Named to RHSSHOF
The late David Neal Shelton, Rector High School class of 1982, has been named to the RHS Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2017. He'll be inducted along with Scotty Johnson, Rector High School class of 1977; Charlie Bateman, Rector High School class of 1978 and the 1964 RHS basketball team. The induction ceremony will be held immediately following the noon luncheon, set for Saturday, Sept. 2, in the Rector High School gym. In earning the distinction, Shelton was a standout for RHS in several sports, but his best work was on the baseball diamond.
In fact, David Neal Shelton was an all-around athlete during his years at Rector High School. He loved playing any kind of ball, and as a small boy had the dream of playing baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. He competed in peewee basketball, baseball and football as a young boy, along with elementary basketball and football. He also played basketball and football in junior high school. During his high school years he spent three seasons as a member of the basketball squad, and was on the football and baseball teams all four years. Following graduation from RHS, he went on to compete in both American Legion and collegiate baseball.
As a Rector Blackcat, Shelton was recognized as the outstanding defensive back in football for both 1978 and 1979. As a member of the baseball squad he was chosen All-State in 1979 and was an All-District selection as both a junior and senior.
The stats also bear witness to his abilities, as he hit .309 as a freshman; .383 as a sophomore, .380 as a junior and .500 his senior season. This production helped the teams he was on to a number of titles, including state runner-ups in 1979; conference champs in 1978-1979; district champs in 1978-1979 and 1980-1981 and county champs 1977-1978, 1978-1979 and 1980-1981.
Shelton was selected three of those years (1980-1982) to play American Legion baseball in Paragould. On that team he played second base, left field and pitched. In 1981 he led the team in six catagories. He had a .348 batting average, as he went 40 for 115 at the plate. Along the way he drove-in 29 runs, scored 26 runs himself and hit 15 doubles.
The following season he also led the team in six catagories, including 20 extra-base hits—including 13 doubles, six triples and one homerun. He drove in 51 runs in 55 games; walked 59 times and had a batting average of .389. Shelton also recorded an 11-1 record on the mound, with a .256 ERA.
Throughout his career the teams Shelton played on did well. His American Legion team compiled a record of 39 and 20, and the Rector Babe Ruth League team he played for was league champs with a record of 17-0.
Following his days at RHS, Shelton signed a four-year scholarship with Arkansas State University in 1982. Sadly, an ankle injury limited him to just 12 games as a freshman, although he was credited with a grand slam homerun for the Indians.
In 1984 he returned to ASU and played 29 games, recording a .262 batting average along the way. The following year he was again hampered by an ankle injury, sidelining him for much of the season.
After his college days, Shelton returned to Rector and coached softball for several years. The following was taken from an article in the Clay County Democrat from July 25, 2001, entitled, “Rector Softball Association Dedicates Field to Coach.”
“A large crowd gathered Sunday afternoon at the Jeremy McDaniel Memorial Sports Complex in Rector to dedicate a softball field in memory of the late David Shelton. A sign reading, “David Shelton Memorial Field” was placed in honor of the memory of Shelton's dedication to the sport, and to the Softball Association.
“He did a lot of hard work for the Softball Association, and on this field in particular,” said Laura Mooneyham, a coach for the Mosley team. “We've planned and worked on this since the beginning of the season this year. We wanted to do something to honor all the hard work and dedication he showed to his team.”
“David played ball in Rector all his life, and he was an excellent player,” Mooneyham said. “He played baseball at Arkansas State University (ASU) for four years. The legacy he left is a tremendous one, and his dedication will not be forgotten.”
Those wanting more information about the annual Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame luncheon may contact Owen B. Moseley at 870 935-4039.
In addition, the annual RHSSHOF golf event will be held Friday, Sept. 1, at the Kennett Country Club. Those wanting more information on this event may call Michele Haley at 870 240-5064 or Michael Lindsey at 870 240-3257.