02/02/13 — Hot Stove Banquet set for Monday

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Hot Stove Banquet set for Monday

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 2, 2013 11:13 PM

Kevin Wise's zest for life and passion for baseball, which he respected with all of his heart and soul, infected everyone around him.

His Christian-based beliefs didn't go unrevelled, either.

Lucas McKay, a sophomore at Southern Wayne High School, wanted to find a way to remember Wise and opted to dedicate his senior project in memory of the 17-year-old, who unexpectedly passed away Feb. 18, 2012.

McKay gets to see the fruits of his selfless labor take shape Monday evening during the seventh annual Wayne County Hot Stove Banquet at Lane Tree Golf Club. The evening kicks off with a social, followed by the banquet at 7 p.m.

"Kevin was a friend and someone Lucas respected as a Christian and an athlete," said Lucas' father, Dwayne, who is the Director of Planned Giving at Mount Olive College.

Lucas has worked closely with Charlie Swinson, Kevin's grandfather, to establish the Kevin Wise Jr. Memorial Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund for high school baseball players in Wayne County. Wise's death stunned the community and its close-knit baseball fraternity.

Just two weeks prior to his passing, Wise had attended the Hot Stove banquet and was named co-winner of the Jerry Narron Award. The out-spoken center fielder testified before friends and family that he "wanted to thank his Lord and savior Jesus Christ" for the honor.

Now those lives whom Wise touched will honor him Monday.

Wise's family, along with Southern Wayne head baseball coach Trae McKee, will light a candle in his memory during the banquet. Hot Stove organizer Roger May said a donation will be made to the scholarship fund, and Mount Olive College head baseball coach Carl Lancaster said preliminary work has started on a possible Endowment game that will benefit the fund.

Financial contributions will also be made to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in memory of Clyde King and Wayne County Babe Ruth in memory of John Thomas. Area athletes will be presented awards for their achievements during the 2012 high school baseball season.

East Carolina head baseball coach Billy Godwin is the guest speaker.

Godwin directed the Pirates to a 36-24-1 record last season and an appearance in the NCAA Division I tournament. In-state rival North Carolina eliminated ECU, which eventually had five players selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.

The Pirates concluded the year ranked nationally among the top 35 in the final RPI rankings and the top 25 in home attendance average.

Banquet tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for those 18-years-old and under. For more information, call Roger May at (919) 738-5319; Rooster Narron at (919) 731-7321; Larry Gerrard at (919) 921-1412 or Chad Pate at (919) 589-7970.