It’s beginning to look a lot like baseball season.
That was the sentiment on Monday night at Lane Tree Golf Club, where more than 200 local baseball lovers gathered to celebrate another great year for the sport at the 2019 Wayne County Hot Stove League banquet.
University of Mount Olive head baseball coach Rob Watt was the evening’s keynote speaker, and he talked about how the game of baseball should always be fun, and for coaches to teach their players how to self-assess and problem solve.
“If you love baseball, take time to explain the game to your kids,” said Watt during his speech. “It’s a true honor to be here, and I think the game is so special, it’s my whole life outside of my family, and if all we’re sharing it on is a device, then we’re missing out.
“If you want this generation to appreciate the past, then share it with them. Take the time to help them problem solve, and self-adjust, I think that we’ll see a very productive future generation. This game will be in good hands if we do that.”
Other honorees included Southern Wayne’s Jack Casbarro and Charles B. Aycock’s Blake Gipson. Both young men were awarded the Jerry Narron Award as the area’s top catchers.
Quinton Pittman, who graduated from North Lenoir, was presented with the Clyde King Award, which is given to the area’s top pitcher.
Wayne Country Day School head coach Michael Taylor, who guided the Chargers to the NCISAA State Championship series a season ago, and North Lenoir skipper Jackson Massey each earned the Doyle Whitfield Award as the area’s top head coach.
Former Spring Creek standout and current Methodist University player Christian Yarbrough was picked as the George Whitfield Award winner.
The John Thomas Award and the Dick Knox Distinguished Service Award for dedicated work in the area were also given out, while the 2018 North Lenoir and Wayne Country Day baseball teams were also honored.