Byrd grads sign up for “Senior Game”

By Sports editor Brian Huffman

Some William Byrd boys who didn’t figure to play baseball this year just may get to do so after all. Six William Byrd High graduates have committed to play in a game for 2020 seniors at Salem Memorial Ballpark on August 1.

The game will be conducted by the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame and the Salem Red Sox. Seniors from the area served by the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame have been invited and over 60 boys indicated they would like to play. 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.

Byrd seniors from the lost 2020 season who have signed up include Ethan Spraker, Logan Baker, Jacob Johnson, Nathan Sullivan, Nate Hayes and Jacob Brammer. All six Terrier seniors indicated they’d like to play in the game.

The 60 plus players will be divided into four teams, according to geography and number of pitchers available. Following the first game, between Team 1 and 2, all players will be introduced along with their parents, and their pictures will appear on the scoreboard at Salem Memorial Ballpark. Shortly after the introductions Team 3 will play Team 4 in a second game. Games are tentatively scheduled to be nine innings to give everyone ample playing time.

“It will 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.”

Allen Lawrence, General Manager of the Salem Red Sox, has been involved in the planning and is excited about the prospect of having some baseball at Salem Memorial. The Salem Red Sox staff will handle all game operations, including field prep, public address announcing, umpires, music, scoreboard and concessions. There will be no admission fees, no fees paid by the players and food and drinks can be purchased at the concession stand. Players will have shirts with their names on the back for the occasion and wear their team caps.

“The Red Sox are purchasing the shirts through sponsors.”  said Walthall. “This will be a ‘Game Day’ atmosphere put on by the Salem Red Sox and their staff to honor these senior players. It should be a fun opportunity to honor the seniors and also play on a minor league field,”

William Byrd baseball coach Neil Zimmerman listens as Red Sox GM Allen Lawrence and Gary Walthall of the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame go over plans for a “Senior Game” at a meeting of high school coaches at Salem Memorial Park.

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