Home Local Sports PHOTOS: Hamlet Post 49 baseball tryouts

PHOTOS: Hamlet Post 49 baseball tryouts

Chaz Witmore, a returning player, throws a bullpen during Saturday's tryout. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

HAMLET — Action returned for the first time this spring at Memorial Park on Saturday as the American Legion Post 49 baseball team held its tryout.

Twenty-five players from Richmond, Marlboro, Moore and Scotland counties participated in a two-hour pro-style workout.

Head coach Chip Gordon, who returns for his third season as the head coach, was joined by assistant coaches Chaz Sessoms and Mike Way.

Players, grouped by position, worked through a series of infield and outfield drills before hitting the batting cage. Pitchers also threw bullpens.

“I was really impressed,” Gordon said. “There were a lot of guys out there who seemed excited to be a part of our program and seemed to all get along. They are looking to get after it and a lot of them know each other already, which will form great team chemistry.

“I thought they swung the bat well and there were a lot of gap-to-gap hitters which is what we like to see,” he added. “There will be a lot of depth at pitching this year and there are 11 guys who have logged significant innings. We’ll have a slew of arms to keep us in ball games.”

Gordon noted that the tryout was “very strong defensively, especially in the outfield.” Another positive was a strong showing on defense by infielders and catcher.

On Sunday, Gordon released the official roster for the 2023 season, made up of 18 players. Making the team, listed by county, were:

Richmond County: James Eason, Ethan Locklear and Ashton Phifer

Marlboro County: Layton Hardee, Tristan Hunt, Matt Miller, Markey Purvis and Jon Westbay

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Moore County: Carter Bean, Hunter Honeycutt, Bryant Kimbrell, Mason Konen, Jackson Kuhn, Skylar Mathis, Hunter Meeds, Ryley Norton and JD Scarbrough

Scotland County: Chaz Witmore 

Returners from last season include Hunt, Norton, Purvis and Witmore.

“There was a lot of talent this year which made it tough to narrow it down to the final 18 players,” Gordon said. “We went with who makes us the most competitive and gives us the best chance at winning our division and winning a state title.”

Post 49 will open its season on June 3 against Wayne County Post 11, and hold its home opener on June 5 against Horry County Post 111. Coaching legend George Whitfield will also be on hand for a book signing.

The Richmond Observer will publish a season preview in the coming weeks. Below are photos of Saturday’s tryout, taken by sports editor Kyle Pillar.

Note: Several players from Pinecrest High School were at the tryout but did not participate because the Patriots are still playing in the NCHSAA 4A East state playoffs.