Summer baseball returns to downtown Lenoir’s Walker Stadium in June.
A new team, the Lenoir Legends, are part of the Old North State League. The team will play the first of 15 home games at Walker Stadium, which is behind Davenport A+ Elementary School, on Sunday, June 6 at 7 p.m.
The league was started in 2018 by Alec Allred, played for the Lenoir Oilers in 2019, and his father, Reggie Allred.
The Oilers, a collegiate wooden bat team, played in Lenoir 2016-19.
Alec Allred said he is originally from the central part of the state but is excited to be back in the Lenoir area and play for the Lenoir Legends.
“I love Walker Stadium and the atmosphere of Lenoir,” he said.
Since the Old North State League’s first teams started playing, he has watched the league grow. He said the community feel and friendly atmosphere of the places where the teams play has been a great help in attracting players.
“We wanted to create a league focused on players’ relationships and interests rather than business interests. That’s really what has allowed us to grow,” he said. “The league has been very successful so far. ... But we always have a lot of local players so we get a lot of fans out to games.”
The other teams in the league are the Appalachian Moonshiners, Brunswick Surfin’ Turfs, Deep River Muddogs, Fayetteville Chutes, High Point Hushpuppies, Lexington Flying Pigs, Mocksville Muscadines, Oak City Gliders, Reidsville Luckies, Sanford Spinners, and Swepsonville Sweepers.
Mayor Joe Gibbons said in a press release that having baseball games again will be great for bringing people back together after such a long time apart because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a good thing for Lenoir,” Gibbons said. “Families will be able to come watch a game, and then grab a bite to eat or maybe some ice cream. We’re glad that the Old North State League chose Lenoir.”
The coach of the Legends, Brendan Emery, also played for the Lenoir Oilers in 2019 and said he loved the area.
“Lenoir’s a small town and fun to be in,” he said. “It’s a baseball town, for sure. We’re not far from Hickory and Boone, so it’s easy to attract players to Lenoir.”
Reporter Carmen Boone can be reached at 828-610-8723