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Franklin County baseball seniors will have one last prep playing date

Franklin County baseball seniors will have one last prep playing date

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SALEM — Franklin County baseball seniors Colton Kent, Brayden Merrick and Logan Mason will take the diamond Saturday for the last time as high-school teammates.

Eagles skipper Barry Shelton is coaching the trio too.

The quartet is taking part in the 2020 Senior Games, which are being called “The Last Inning,’’ at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The doubleheader with the first game starting at 3 p.m. is being staged by the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame.

Kent, Merrick and Mason each has games to play after Saturday as each has committed to continue his career in college: Kent at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, Merrick at Virginia Tech and Mason at Eastern Mennonite University.

The trio and Shelton saw their 2020 seasons canceled following a pair of preseason games in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, the pandemic cost Mason a summertime American Legion season with Rocky Mount Post 6, which captured the district championship and advanced to the state tournament a year ago.

The cancellation of spring baseball play is the genesis of the Senior Games; recently, area senior softball players were given the opportunity to play in a similar event.

A total of 63 seniors from 21 area high schools is expected to see action in the two games.

The Franklin County trio is competing on a team with players from Alleghany, Covington, James River-Buchanan, Lord Botetourt and Patrick Henry-Roanoke.

The teams held practices at the Salem facility, the home of the Class A Advanced Carolina League Red Sox, selected Roanoke College games and selected high-school games, this week.

Gates open at 1:30 p.m.

A “Senior Day’’ player recognition will be staged in between games with the second contest slated for a 6:30 p.m. start. Post-game fireworks are planned.

Officials with the Red Sox said players “will receive the full game experience with announcements, head shots (on the scoreboard) and jerseys provide b y the club.’’

Admission is free. Concessions will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages will be permitted.

“All social distancing guidelines and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations will be followed; the wearing of masks is encouraged,’’ Red Sox officials said.

Presenting sponsors are Coke, American National Bank, Kroger and Guelich Capital Management.

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