- Tuesday, 21 May 2019
- Written by EARL VAUGHAN JR.
If the early turnout is any indication, Mark Kahlenberg should not have a problem keeping a full team on the field this summer for the Hope Mills Boosters American Legion baseball program.
At the first official practice of the season last week, Kahlenberg had a potential roster with 23 names of players from area high schools who were either on hand at the first workout or had expressed interest in playing this year.
Even with the good turnout, Kahlenberg expects this year’s team to be somewhat young, with a number of players who will be getting their first taste of the American Legion brand of baseball. The roster is heavy with a big crop of players from Cape Fear. Gray’s Creek High School has returned to the mix, along with players from South View and Douglas Byrd.
Before it’s all over, Kahlenberg hopes to pick up some players from Freedom Christian and Terry Sanford. The Bulldogs were still involved in the state 3-A baseball playoffs when the Boosters American Legion season kicked off last Sunday with a doubleheader against Jacksonville Post 265.
“Last year we were struggling to put nine guys together around tournament time,’’ Kahlenberg said. “At our first meeting (this year), we had 14 guys, and I knew there were 10 other guys who couldn’t make it.’’
Among the players Kahlenberg will be counting on are pitcher Landen Harris from Gray’s Creek, who’s committed to play at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Another prospect is Aaron Smith, Harris’ Gray’s Creek teammate, who batted in the No. 3 position for the Bears this season.
South View prospects include Riley Caudle, who recently committed to play for Methodist University. Another promising player is Cape Fear’s Nick West, who played shortstop and pitched and could fill an important need for Kahlenberg in the heart of the lineup.
Kahlenberg doesn’t feel the team has an established pitching ace as the season begins and will have to rely on pitching by committee until things get more settled. “Hopefully we can develop those pitchers into a starting rotation,’’ he said.
Both Harris and Caudle are optimistic about this team’s chances this summer.
“I like playing with my friends from all over Cumberland County,’’ Harris said. “I think we can do pretty good if we bring it all together, hit the ball and play the game how we learned it.’’ Harris also hopes to use the Legion experience to work on his off-speed pitches and improve his velocity.
Caudle is looking forward to facing better pitching this summer, improving how he sees the curveball and working on improving his ability to hit to the backside. “We have a lot more people than last year,’’ he said. “A lot of them are going to college, so they’ll focus on Legion ball.’’
The Boosters will again play their home games at South View High School.
Following is this year’s schedule. Whiteville currently does not have a team this year, but Kahlenberg said he had seen reports on social media that the Whiteville club was attempting to get funding so it could possibly return this year. For now, its games have been removed from the schedule.
Photo: Landen Harris
EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to some late changes in the Hope Mills Boosters 2019 schedule, portions of the version in this week's print edition are incorrect. The correct schedule appears below.
- Monday, 13 May 2019
- Written by EARL VAUGHAN JR.
After a five-month hiatus to regroup and reorganize, the DK Sports Page sports radio talk show has resumed on Monday nights from 6-8 p.m. It airs on WFNC 640 AM with hosts Trey Edge and Bill Boyette.
“Fayetteville needs a local talk show based on local sports, from the high school level to the college level to NFL ties,’’ said Edge. In addition to hosting the show, he’s the play-by-play voice for the DK Sports, Inc., game of the week in various sports. He’s also the Friday night voice of Terry Sanford during football season.
Also on the game broadcasts are Boyette, providing color commentary and occasional appearances by Don Koonce, founder of DK Sports, Inc.
When it comes to the DK Sports Page, Edge said the show will try to cover everything but will focus primarily on local sports.
“We’ll always have a high school segment each and every week,’’ he said.
When the show returned to air for the first time last week, high school guests included Terry Sanford baseball coach Sam Guy and Jack Britt softball coach Sebrina Wilson. Also interviewed were University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football coach Mack Brown and Fayetteville Woodpeckers general manager David Lane.
The initial version of the show, which debuted in the late summer of 2017, was heavy on interviews with coaches. Edge said the goal this time around will be to try and talk with more players, both active ones and former players from the area who have moved on to the professional ranks.
Boyette, Edge’s cohost, is a veteran high school basketball coach who led his Fayetteville Academy Eagles to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 2-A championship last season.
Edge said Boyette is an avid sports fan who obviously has a lot of expertise in basketball but is detail-oriented in all aspects of sports. “That’s probably why he’s successful as a coach too,’’ Edge said.
The show was strictly studio-based during its initial run, but Edge said that could change with the revived edition. “We may be looking to go out live,’’ he said, “for example, to a Woodpeckers game. We may try to do something where we get in front of people and do live broadcasting from there.’’
To keep up with the show and to send suggestions for possible topics or guests, Edge said fans should follow the show on Twitter at @DKSportsPage.