Stanly teams set to open in new baseball league

After not having live sports played in Stanly for nearly four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, high school level baseball returns this week.

An American Legion-level baseball league kicks off as Stanly fields teams in the junior and senior levels. The junior team opens Tuesday at home against Wheatmore at 6 p.m. The senior team has two home games, playing Wednesday and Thursday versus Mount Airy and Statesville in non-league games starting at 7 p.m.

The Ball Park at West Stanly, which recently had work done on repairing the warning track after storms, will host both programs in the N.C. 3 league.

Teams in the N.C. 3 league come largely from Area III of American Legion baseball after the cancellation of the 2020 season in April. The new league will use American Legion rules, but will play nine-inning games.

A number of players from West will play on the senior team, including Brady Parker (C/IF), Riley Huneycutt (OF), Cody Kidd (OF/RHP), Colton Austin (IF/RHP), Cody Naylor (IF/C), Bentley Furr (OF), Connor Tucker (IF) and Carson Morton (IF/RHP).

The school with the most players on the team’s senior roster is South Stanly. The nine players representing the Rebel Bulls will be Sawyer Smith (IF/RHP), Cam Bowers (IF/RHP), Garrett Swink (RHP), Jaxon Buck (OF), Dawson Thompson (IF/RHP), Trevor Tucker (IF/RHP), Chance Hunt (IF/OF/RHP), Reese Crump (C/OF/RHP) and Jaxon Barbee (IF/RHP).

North Stanly has two players on the senior roster: Nic Melton (IF/OF/LHP) and Jake Andrews (OF/RHP). The team will also have two Union County players: Piedmont’s Colby Lamm (RHP/C/OF) and Anson’s Garret Maner (IF/RHP).

Head coach Jordan Sells said the last couple of months have been stressful for himself and the coaching staff dealing with the uncertainty, but they are excited to get started.

Sells, an assistant baseball coach at West Stanly, will be assisted by a former Colts and Mars Hill standout, Zac Brown, along with Zac Almond, who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks after playing at North Stanly and Catawba College.

“We are doing all of this for the players. All of them had their season ended way too soon in high school,” Sells said. “We are doing our best to get this season off the ground and play some baseball.”

This week, Sells said the team plans to announce a fundraiser via social media to help support the players to offset some of the costs of travel, hats and game balls.

Companies wishing to support the Stanly County N.C. 3 teams are asked to contact Sells.