There wasn’t much good that came out of the coronavirus pandemic in the year 2020, but one positive you can point to is the Senior Baseball event at Haley Toyota Field in Salem.
Last year, with the high school spring sports seasons cancelled, the Salem Red Sox and members of the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame board decided to have games for players who missed their senior seasons. Seniors were split up into four teams for two games played at Haley Toyota Field, home field for the Salem Red Sox. It proved to be such a popular event that it was decided to make it an annual affair, even when the regular baseball season returned.
This Saturday, the Red Sox and the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame will again put on a doubleheader for seniors in Salem, and it’s free of charge for spectators. Two seven inning games will be played with a special presentation in between.
The first game will begin at 4 pm between teams wearing Navy and Red shirts. The Navy team will consist of players from Glenvar, Lord Botetourt and William Byrd, and they’ll take on the Red team with players from Hidden Valley, James River, North Cross and Eastern Montgomery. Glenvar will be represented by Ryan Butler, Josh Howard, Cam Wiley, Jacob Mays, Nathan Richardson, Carson Osburn and coach Jeremy Cromer. Salem High had just three seniors and none of the three opted to participate.
After the first game the Salem-Roanoke Valley Hall of Fame will have a special presentation of the annual Ray Bellamy Award for the Player of the Year in the area served by the Hall of Fame. That 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.
The five finalists this year, as voted on by high school coaches in the eight-county area of the Hall of Fame along with Hall of Fame Board members are Tyler Dean of William Byrd High School, Isaac Fix of William Byrd, Cory Sigmon of Northside, Holden Wilkerson of Cave Spring and Michael Williams of Franklin County. There will also be a presentation to an area player as winner of the Posey Oyler Scholarship, sponsored by the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame and awarded to a player who will go on to play in college and has shown a dedication to the game.
After that presentation a second game will be played by teams wearing Green and Gray shirts. The Green team will consist of players from Patrick Henry, Staunton River, Liberty and Christiansburg while the Gray team will have seniors from Blacksburg, Cave Spring, Franklin County and Northside.
Concessions will be available during the games this Saturday and the Hall of Fame will be open for players and fans to visit. The Salem-Roanoke Hall of Fame building is located on the grounds of the James E. Taliaferro Complex, next to the Salem Red Sox administrative office behind the third base seating area of Salem Memorial Ballpark.