By: Alexa Key
Gardner-Webb University baseball kicked off their season with their First Pitch Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 5. Before beginning their season, GWU baseball Head Coach Jim Chester honored former GWU baseball stand-outs and highlighted the upcoming season.
The event featured an introduction of the 2022 GWU baseball team. This roster holds 40 members, who are eager to start their season. “We’ve worked so hard through the fall and this spring semester, I’m really looking forward to taking that and putting it towards this season to compete against other opponents,” said GWU baseball first-year transfer, Carter Heller.
Other members also agreed. Senior players Kyle Skidmore and Elijah Bowers both spoke at the event. Bowers added that being a part of GWU baseball has created a tight knit community. “This team is the hardest working team I’ve been a part of,” Bowers said.
Later that evening, the GWU baseball program retired the jersey number 19 and honored two former players who wore it, Terry Wright, class of 1994 and Blake Lalli, class of 2006. Wright gave a speech about how he was grateful to be a part of the GWU baseball program and thanked those that were a part of his career.
Lalli, unable to attend in person, gave a video speech which premiered at the event.
Lalli currently manages the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball association.
Gary Little, former Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball manager gave the keynote address. Little shared his experiences and life with baseball and encouraged current players to enjoy their time at GWU.
Nate Evans, Vice President for Advancement, then featured upcoming plans for GWU baseball. Including, building a new indoor facility that features batting cages named the Masters Melton Indoor Baseball Facility. Evans gave thanks to donors who helped fund this project and mentioned they are still looking for more donations.
The First Pitch event concluded with a social among families and players. The actual first pitch for the GWU baseball season will be thrown on Feb. 18, at 5 p.m. at Gardner Webb against New Jersey Institute of Technology. For information about GWU baseball schedule visit GWU Sports.