Mount Airy’s baseball team will host the ALS Classic on Saturday in honor of the late Craig Hunter, who passed away January 13 after a three-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Hunter, a longtime Surry County commissioner, was an assistant baseball coach for several years at Mount Airy High under former coach Mack Hodges.
Proceeds from Saturday’s event go to the ALS Foundation, which has a history with baseball players who have had ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
The fifth annual event was started by Hodges as a benefit for Hunter.
Current head baseball coach Jon Cawley said Hunter was “a guy who got things done.”
“In his personal life, business life, community leader, county commissioner, baseball coach, he got things done,” Cawley said. “He was really good with the students. He had a heart for high-school aged kids, boys and girls.
“I think baseball was probably his best sport. He played it here when he was a student at Mount Airy, and consistent with his nature, he wanted to give back. Coach Hodges came up with idea for this benefit. We thought it was a good one, so we wanted to continue it.”
Starmount and Walkertown will kick things off at 10 a.m., followed by East Surry vs. East Wilkes at 1 p.m. and Mount Airy vs. Elkin at 4 p.m. Admission is $5.
A Bible study group started by Hunter and led by Cawley will be on hand for the first pitch of the Bears-Elks game at 4 p.m. Cawley said there were about 40 involved in the Bible study that met at Hunter’s house when he was ill. The group currently meets every Saturday morning at Snappy Lunch in Mount Airy.
Cawley said Hunter, who died at age 48, was a “rock solid” believer.
“When he was as sick as he was, he would spend his time praying for others,” Cawley said.
Mount Airy (6-6) has a big Northwest Conference home game against Walkertown (4-2) tonight. With unbeaten East Surry in the driver’s seat for the conference title, the Bears, Wolfpack, and Bishop McGuinness are currently fighting for second place. Bishop and Walkertown are 4-2 in the league and Mount Airy is 3-3.
The Bears look to avenge a loss to Walkertown last week. Mount Airy had a 2-1 lead in that game before the Wolfpack had a seven-run third and a five-run fourth inning on the way to a 13-2 win.
East Surry (14-0, 6-0) hosts Bishop McGuinness tonight.