LCC's first World Series team, Carl Long headline 2019 hall of fame class
For the first time in five years, the Kinston-Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame will be inducting a new class.
The Hall will grow by 12 members — to 59 — when it inducts its sixth class Saturday night at the Kinston Community Center. While the event has technically sold out, KLCSHOF co-chair Scott Alston said organizers still have a limited number of tickets available by calling 252-939-3332 and at the front door. The banquet portion of the event is being catered by King’s Restaurant.
The ceremony starts at 6 p.m.; tickets are $30.
“The whole county is represented this year, and this is an outstanding class of inductees and teams,” Alston said. “We’ve already sold out once, but we’re continuing to add tables and seats. It’s going to be a great night.”
Two teams will also be inducted into the hall, joining the previous 11 already enshrined in the KLCSHOF. The Hall, which is housed at the Kinston Community Center, inducted its first class in 2004.
The 2004 Lenoir Community College baseball team — the first in school history to make it to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series — finished fifth in the nation under head coach Lind Hartsell. The Lancers finished 34-17 that season, defeated Southeastern Community College in the Region X finals and Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville (Md.) in the district finals to advance to the NJCAA Division II World Series in Millington, Tenn.
“It was a special season for LCC and it was big for our program,” Hartsell said. “The kids made it their mission to make it to Millington. … There’s something special about being the first team to do what they did.”
The 2004 Lancers were led by pitchers Blake Herring (now the head coach at Louisburg College), Jared Sutton (who went on to play at UNC-Wilmington), Lincoln Smith and Jacob Allen, along with hitters Aaron Ranft (the national leader in RBIs), Barrett Otto, Cole Franks and Mike Macanas.
The other team set to be inducted Saturday night will be the 1950 Grainger High School boys’ basketball team. The Red Devils, coached by Amos Sexton (2007 KLCSHOF inductee), finished 30-3 and won the state championship thanks to the efforts of five other KLCSHOF inductees: Bryant Aldridge (inducted in 2007), Doug Bruton (2012), Tommy Cole (2012), Bobby Hodges (2004) and Eugene “Red” McDaniel (2004).
“This is an excellent class of men and women we are inducting Saturday night,” the event’s emcee, George Whitfield (KLCSHOF Class of 2007), said. “I’m also very happy for Lind Hartsell and the LCC baseball team — Lind did a great job with that team and they deserve this recognition.”
Here’s a quick look at the Kinston-Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019, in alphabetical order:
JIMMY ADKINS: A starting forward on Grainger High School’s undefeated 1964 state championship basketball team, Adkins was a rare four-sport letterman — basketball, football, baseball and tennis — for the Red Devils. Adkins was named all-conference in football and basketball and was all-East in football.
FRANCIS DAVIS ALLISON: The 85-year-old Allison, known throughout North Carolina as the “Face of the State Games,” has won more than 700 medals in a smorgasbord of sports at the local, state and national level in the Senior Games.
EVERETT CAMERON: One of the best swimmers in Lenoir County history, Cameron was a junior Olympian in the sport in 1954, 1956 and 1958; he was named outstanding swimmer for the Kinston Swim Club in 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. He was also a basketball standout for the Red Devils as he helped lead Grainger to the state title games in 1960 and 1961. At East Carolina, he swam and played basketball inter-collegiately.
JOHN “GUS” CUTLER: A spectacular athlete for Grainger High School in football and baseball, Cutler has the distinction of being one of only three Red Devils to be named an All-American. Cutler earned his All-American honors following the 1957 season in which he played fullback and linebacker for the team. He was also a star on the state runner-up baseball team.
ALEXANDER “SKEET” DAVIS JR.: Davis is a Tarboro native and Pattillo High School graduate who was also a coach and mentor to thousands of young people in Kinston. He taught physical education in the city and county school system from 1974-2004 and had coaching stints at Rochelle Middle School (baseball, football, track and basketball) and Kinston High School (track and football).
GLENN DAVIS: An outstanding three-sport star athlete at South Lenoir High school from 1965-67, Davis was South Lenoir’s first 1,000-point basketball scorer and finished with 1,192 points. However, combining his freshman year at Deep Run School, he finished with 1,402 points in his hoops career.
In football, he still holds the South Lenoir record for most touchdown receptions in a game — four.
WILBUR BRYAN “BUCK” FICHTER: Fichter is one of the greatest — and most-decorated — baseball pitchers to come from Kinston. In two seasons for the Kinston American Legion team (1951-52), he only lost two games; in three seasons for Grainger High School (1951-53), he compiled a record of 27-6, but only lost two games in his final pair of seasons for the Red Devils.
His senior year was one of the best in ENC history — he struck out 217 batters in 112 innings and finished with two no-hitters, one one-hitter and two two-hitters while compiling a 13-1 record with seven shutouts.
MARVIN “ARLYNN” HINES: A North Lenoir High School alum, Hines was a star football, baseball and track athlete for the Buccaneers (as they were called then).
On the gridiron, he was the first player from North Lenoir to be selected to play in the East-West Game after running for 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior.
On the baseball diamond, he batted .452 as a senior, .417 as a junior and .411 as a sophomore. He was all-conference and all-area in both baseball and football.
GEORGE IVEY: Ivey has impacted thousands of youth in his 60 years of service to Kinston and Lenoir County. He was the athletic director at Fairfield Recreational Center from 1959-76 and has volunteered for the city of Kinston for decades. He has been the gymnasium attendant at Mock Gymnasium since 2005 and was a leader for youth baseball in Kinston for many years.
He refereed hundreds of games in baseball, football and basketball, working both community recreational games and high school. He retired from referring at the age of 75.
CLAUDE KENNEDY: After a prestigious athletics career at Grainger High School that included a state title for the Red Devils football team and much success for the baseball squad, Kennedy attended Edwards Military Institute (now Southwood College) on a baseball scholarship.
He officiated high school football and basketball for 20 years, but has umpired baseball for nearly 60 years at the high school, Babe Ruth, American Legion, college and professional levels. Kennedy has umpired three Babe Ruth World Series, one NJCAA Division III World Series, two NCAA D-II regional championships, among many other tournaments.
CARL L. LONG: One of the preeminent players in the history of Negro League baseball, Long made history several times over in minor league baseball in Kinston.
After making his debut for the Kinston Eagles in 1956 as the first African-American to play in the Carolina League, he hit .291 with 18 home runs and 111 RBIs; the RBIs remain the most in Kinston professional baseball history for a season.
In the Negro American League, he was an all-star third baseman for the Birmingham Black Barons; after breaking the color barrier in the Carolina League, he played for several other teams before a shoulder injury ended his playing career.
JAY RANDALL: Randall holds the special distinction of being the only member of the 1963-64 and 1964-65 Grainger High School basketball teams to play every game in those state championship seasons. As a senior, he was named all-state and also played in the East-West All Star basketball game. He played collegiate basketball at Wake Forest.
He was also a strong tennis player; he and his brother Ray lost in the third round of the state tennis tournament in 1965.