Home Local Sports PHOTOS: Hamlet home opener recognizes ’87 state championship team

PHOTOS: Hamlet home opener recognizes ’87 state championship team

Greg Hunt (left) and Glenn Ross (right) run the bases during Post 49's recognition of the 1987 state championship team. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

HAMLET — Memorial Park took a trip down memory lane Friday evening during the Hamlet American Legion baseball team’s home opener.

With the grandstands and hillsides packed with fans, Hamlet Post 49 put on a show before the show, as hundreds gathered to celebrate the first home game of the season.

In conjunction with all of its regular home game festivities, the big pregame draw Friday was the recognition of the 1987 Post 49 team. Celebrating its 37th anniversary this summer, the 1987 49ers were the last Hamlet team to win a state championship.

Nearly the entire roster was present for the celebration, including Ronnie Yarbrough, who coached Hamlet to a 39-6 record that summer.

Public address announcer Daniel Diggs opened the evening by reading a statement offered by current Post 49 Commander Joe Richardson.

Players, coaches and family members of those unable to be present lined up near first base and were introduced for a trip around the bases.

Yarbrough, along with Eddie Martin, a long time Post 49 member and the organizer of the event, presented each 49er with a commemorative t-shirt. 

As the 1987 team circled the bases, fans cheered to what Martin called “a trip around the bases for old time’s sake.”

On the back of the shirt were the names of everyone associated with the team that summer, including Yarbrough, assistant coaches Tyree Brown and Kim Cousar, former Post 49 Commander Pete Howe, athletic officer Willard Page and finance officer Bill Averitte.


Players on that team were (in alphabetical order) —  Sandy Baldwin, Gary Dunn, Roger Hailey, Jeff Hoopaugh, Bobby Hunt, Greg Hunt, Tommy Lill, Jessie McDonald, Cary McKeithan, Dwayne Miller, Alvin Morman, Stancil Morse, Tom Outen, Keith Robinson, Glenn Ross,  Corey Short, Corey Taylor and Eric Tillmon.

Family members were present to receive the t-shirt for Howe, Page, Averitte, Brown and Morse.

Yarbrough, who was a state champion pitcher and outfielder with Richmond Senior High School and Hamlet in the early 1970s, took to his old stomping grounds to throw out a ceremonial first pitch to current catcher Evan Hodges.

Presenting the colors was the AMVETS Post 316 honor guard, which was followed by the National Anthem and the starting lineups.

On hand to show countywide support of Post 49 were several local officials, including Hamlet’s mayor Amy Guinn, Dobbins Heights mayor pro tem Tyre Holloway, Rockingham mayor pro tem Denise Sullivan and Board of County Commissioners chairman Jeff Smart. 

Richardson was also on the field and Bill Monroe, reverend of Hamlet Calvary Baptist Church, offered a pregame invocation.

Hamlet went on to defeat Chatham Post 182 by a final score of 5-4, its fourth straight win to start the season. 

The Richmond Observer will publish a game story of Hamlet’s win, along with a photo gallery, shortly.

Below are photos of Friday’s home opener pregame celebration at Memorial Park, taken by sports editor Kyle Pillar.