The high school baseball season has officially been cancelled, but area coaches and enthusiasts are hopeful this year’s seniors can still have a chance to play some ball and be recognized for their accomplishments.
High School baseball coaches in the area served by the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame have been invited to a meeting on Thursday of this week to determine the interest of having a game for 2020 seniors. The meeting will be held at Salem Memorial Ballpark, which would also be the site of the game, or games, in early August.
“It would be at no cost to the Hall of Fame Board, players or fans,” said Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame Vice President Gary Walthall. “Just an opportunity for the seniors in our area to play one more game and the Red Sox to have real baseball at their field this summer, even if it is just a game or two.”
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame area includes the counties of Alleghany, Roanoke, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties. That includes 22 public schools plus North Cross and Roanoke Valley Christian. Walthall estimates that between 65 and 80 seniors would be eligible, although all may not be able, or choose not to, participate. A letter went out to coaches this week to determine the interest and invite the coaches to Thursday’s meeting.
Allen Lawrence, General Manager of the Salem Red Sox, has been involved in the discussions and is excited about the prospect of having some baseball at Salem Memorial. The Salem Red Sox staff would handle all game operations, including field prep, public address announcing, umpires, music, scoreboard and concessions. Senior pictures of each player would be displayed on the video board, and there would possibly be a “Senior Walk” on the field prior to the game with players and parents.
There will be no admission fees, no fees paid by the players and food and drinks can be purchased at the concession stand.
“This will be a “Game Day” atmosphere put on by the Salem Red Sox and their staff to honor these senior players,” said Walthall. “The Red Sox are purchasing the shirts through sponsors.”
The number of games to be played will be determined by the number of players who commit to participate. How the players will be split up into teams will be determined at a later date.
“This should be a fun opportunity to honor the seniors and also play on a minor league field,” said Walthall.