Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Opening Night

March 11 was opening night for the new Frances H. Henry Baseball Field, and it was one of the best nights I can remember at Gaston Day School. The weather cooperated and the GDS community
arrived in force. I suspect there must have been close to 500 people in attendance. The Henry Field Parking Lot was full, and we had to shuttle in the overflow parking from around the campus.

The scene at the field was fantastic. Families were tailgating in the parking lots. Kids were running around everywhere. All the surrounding hills--and there are lots of them--had younger children chasing each other and playing. FLIK, the school's dining service, was serving free hot dogs and pop corn in the new Spartan Field House. The crowd in and around the bleachers was loud and happy. You could feel the positive energy and the sheer joy. This was all before the game started!!

The opening ceremony and dedication included the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and a prayer by the Rev. John Frye, First Presbyterian, Gastonia, minister. There were lots of people to thank. In particular, Marsh Spencer, Gray Little, and Greg Dills from the Gaston Day School Board put so much time and effort into the construction of the ball field. And, of course, there are Bill and Frances Henry to thank. How do we adequately thank the Henry family for all they have meant to the School and for building the new field? We can't. But, at least, we need to try as hard as we can. Their generosity is enormous. Frances has also given so much time and energy as a coach to build the baseball program. She really is more responsible for the baseball program than anyone else. Bill Henry now has supported three major projects at Gaston Day School: the James Heyward Henry Student Activity Center; the William S. Henry Family Academic Center; and the Frances H. Henry Baseball Field. Thank you, Bill and Frances Henry!!

Frances Henry threw the first pitch--a strike--and it was time to "Play Ball!" Our opponent was
Piedmont Community Charter School. We scored in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Eventually, Piedmont Charter pulled ahead and won the game by a score of 12-9. It was a really good game. Our team should be so proud of the way they played. The future is bright for GDS baseball!!

William Henry, starting first baseman on the team, had a magical night. He got the first hit on the new field named for his mother. He stole a base, got an unassisted double play, and pitched well in relief. What are the odds that William Henry would get the first hit in the history of the Frances H. Henry Baseball Field? Could anything be more appropriate?

I am so grateful to Coach Chris Carrera and Athletic Director Casey Field for their hard work and dedication to the baseball program. We are so fortunate to have someone with Coach Carrera's talent and commitment working with our baseball team. The Gaston Day School Baseball Program is going to become stronger and stronger. We have the best facility and we have the best coach. We have players who are willing to work hard and become better. Opening night is the beginning of a great tradition of baseball at Gaston Day School. If you missed it, I encourage you to come to one of the next home games. The whole experience is fantastic!!