Greene County secures bid to host Southeast Regional Babe Ruth baseball tournament in 2020
Mike Anderson, Director of the Greene County Parks and Recreation Department, says he hopes the community embraces the opportunity to host the 2020 Babe Ruth 9-year-old Southeast Regional in baseball. Photo by Rudy Coggins / Neuse News
SNOW HILL - Mike Anderson didn't give the coffee and food-stained letter on his desk a second look.
Until his phone rang.
The caller spoke on the other end.
Clearly, there had to be a misunderstanding.
"Are you sure you have the right Greene County?" said Anderson, Director of the Greene County Parks and Recreation Department.
"Yes," said the caller.
Anderson remained puzzled.
Sure, he remembered the letter, but he didn't put in a bid to host a Babe Ruth Southeast Regional in 2020 for any age group.
The two continued to talk.
Anderson learned that his good friend, Mickey Davis, had recommended GCPR to play host to the 9-year-old regional. Impressed by Davis' endorsement, SE Regional Assistant Commissioner of Operations John Armentrout said it was an easy decision to make.
Known for its annual Sweet Potato Festival, the rural community of Snow Hill will serve as the regional host next summer.
"A big surprise, a big deal," Anderson said. "[It's] great for our kids. We try to continually do something to give our kids experiences and [a chance to] be competitive ... have opportunities that they normally don't get that make it special.
"I think it's just a great opportunity for Greene County and the counties around us. We're kind of excited about it."
Greene County earns an automatic entry into the multi-day, pool-play event that will bring in teams from western North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Carribean.
The winner advances to the World Series.
"Mike and his volunteers do a wonderful job on the fields, concessions and hospitality," said Davis, who directed the Wilson County Youth Athletic Association for several decades.
"They have a great facility, too."
The 10-year-old complex has three baseball fields, a football field and soccer pitch. It was reconstructed after its first year when a devastating tornado all but ripped the facility to shreds.
Since its rebirth, the facility has played host to area, district and state tournaments. It offers plenty of amenities and is within driving distance of downtown Snow Hill, which has restaurants that can whet even the pickiest eater's appetite.
Visitors can book hotel rooms in nearby Kinston, Greenville, Goldsboro and Wilson during the regional.
"I'm hoping that the community [and] our businesses seize the opportunity and that people come out here," Anderson said. "[Visitors could] see the potential to tap into something and you need to promote Greene County because you never know who is coming in [from other places].
"I want to be recognized and get our name out there. It's like the game of baseball. You never know who is watching."
Anderson sure didn't.