The Radford baseball program welcomed the start of the 2020 season on Saturday, Jan. 25, with its Inaugural First Pitch Dinner.
The event, which took place at the Radford Student Recreation and Wellness Center after outgrowing its original venue, attracted a sellout crowd of more than 300 people. Included in the capacity crowd were Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill leadership members from both Radford University and the department of athletics, the current team and coaching staff, parents and family members of student-athletes and university donors and supporters.
Radford Athletics Hall-of- Fame members Kelly Dampeer and Denny Van Pelt were also in attendance.
The event kicked off with a silent auction, the introduction of the 2020 Radford Highlander baseball team and opening remarks from Robert Lineburg, Radford’s Director of Athletics.
“The inaugural First Pitch Dinner was a great success and a wonderful way to get the 2020 baseball season under way,” Lineburg said. “We are so appreciative of our event sponsors, our parents, former players, fans, and special guests who made this such an incredible evening. We are looking forward to the Highlanders doing great things on the diamond.”
First-year head baseball coach Karl Kuhn addressed the crowd following a dinner with a live auction and raffle prize announcements closing the night. The guest of honor was seven-time major-league All-Star closer Billy Wagner, a former first-round pick who ranks sixth in major-league baseball history in saves.
“I could not be more happy and proud with our turnout for this inaugural event,” Kuhn added. “Our live auction was a tremendous success, and we sold more than 100 season tickets at the event as well. It goes to show the support that our young men have here playing in our program and wearing our Radford uniform. I am so thankful to our university administration and our athletic department for allowing us to put on such an exciting evening in support of our players.”
In addition to the guests in attendance, the event also had 13 table sponsors who were recognized for their contributions and support of the program. Those sponsors were AOPA Air Safety Institute, Foster Well Company, Mikin Group, Inc., Radford University Department of Design, Abie Williams – STIFEL, Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance / Joe Johnson, The Barrs Family, The Domecq Family, The Hudson Family, The McGough and Alderfer families, The Peyton Family, The Sande Family and Tyler Williams.
The Highlanders, who received votes in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason poll, open their 2020 season on Feb. 14 at North Carolina Central. Season tickets for the Highlanders’ home slate, which consists of 29 games, are on sale for $20. This includes a flex book that can be used in any combination across the games.