HAMPSTEAD – Let’s play ball! It’s that season – spring – when youth from four-year old t-ball players to senior leagues take to the fields at Hampstead Kiwanis Park.
New to Smith Field is a press box, thanks to an $8,000 contribution from the American Legion Post 167 in Hampstead. Recently a plaque was installed on the side of the press box to acknowledge the contribution of the local post.
“One of our four pillars in the Legion is Youth,” said Jim Williams, who oversees the athletic committee in the local American Legion. “We sponsor at least one baseball team per season.”
This year the post will sponsor a junior team for ages 13-17. Smith Field, a lighted field, is the team’s home field.
Pender County Commissioner David Williams said the press box is a welcomed addition to Smith Field.
“It’s a multipurpose press box,” David Williams explained.
“The upper level is a press box and the lower level is storage,” said Jim Williams. “We will use one section of the lower level to sell snacks and drinks during games.”
Jim Williams said the Legion sponsored team will play against eight to 10 teams during the baseball season.
Admission to see the games are $5. Proceeds are used to fund Legion projects in the community.
“They play seven inning games. We hire professional umpires,” said Jim Williams. “We start every game with the American Legion creed, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem. Our goal is to teach good sportsmanship.”
Williams said the head coach is Chris Bass and his assistant coach is Matt Floto. Fathers often help too. The junior team is for youth ages 13-17.
Try-outs for the American Legion team is April 29, 2 p.m. at Smith Field in Hampstead Kiwanis Park. The cost is $150 per player. Anyone with questions regarding the try-outs should call 704-906-9501 or email Williams.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The next project is a scoreboard and a public-address system,” said Jim Williams.
Commissioner David Williams said community contributions which benefit our parks are deeply appreciated. Donations, such the one made by Pluris for lighting at Smith Field, are community investments, he added.
“Our community is invested in our youth,” he added.