By Scotty Rouse
Rock Hill, SC – PLAY BALL! That’s what you will be hearing this summer as York County welcomes the Piedmont Pride to town. The Pride will be the newest addition to the Southern Collegiate Baseball league, a Charlotte-based league of teams comprised of college baseball players. The team will be sponsored by the Piedmont Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the local arm of the faith-based Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The SCBL consists of six teams in the Charlotte metro area. Other teams in the league are the Statesville Owls (Statesville, NC), the Union County Vipers (Charlotte, NC), the Concord Weavers (Concord, NC), the Lake Norman Copperheads (Lake Norman, NC), and the SBA Bones (Matthews, NC). The teams will play a 42-game schedule, starting the first of June and ending the end of July. The Pride roster will be made up of players from all over the country.
The Pride will join three other FCA sponsored teams, the Niagara(NY) Power, the SoCal(CA) Catch, and the Herndon(VA) Braves. In addition to playing in the SCBL, the players will be doing mission work in the York County area. This will include conducting youth baseball clinics and participating in service projects. They will also take part in team activities designed to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Pride players will cap their mission summer with a 6-day trip to the Dominican Republic, where they will play against local teams and do ministry work with the youth of the DR. This will be a life-changing experience for the players, as they see how incredibly blessed they are to live in the United States. Each Pride player has the option to go on the mission trip or not.
The team was founded by former Winthrop baseball coach Joe Hudak, who serves as the Area Director for the Piedmont FCA. “This is something I have been praying about and working on for the past two years”, says Hudak, who served as Winthrop’s head man for 19 years from 1992-2010. “It’s a win-win-win situation. It’s a win for the players because they get to play in a competitive summer league, serve their community, and go on a life-changing trip to the Dominican. It’s a win for the kids of the DR, who absolutely love it when American baseball players visit their country. Finally, it’s a win for York County, to have 25-30 college kids serving the community.” The Pride players will benefit from Hudak’s 30 years of college coaching, as he will serve as the head coach of the team. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the field. It’s going to be a great privilege to help these players not only improve their baseball skills, but also grow as Christian young men.”
The team is 100% faith-financed through donations. Hudak has found a sponsor to fund the team for the SCBL season. This means that, unlike other teams in the SCBL and other faith-based mission summer teams, the Pride players will not have to pay a fee or raise any money to play in the league. Each player who goes on the DR mission trip is responsible for raising $1800 to cover all expenses for the trip. Anyone interested in supporting the Pride financially can click on the Donate button, and follow the directions. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.
Hudak will spend the next couple of months filling his roster, and assembling his coaching staff. He is excited about the newest team in town. “I hope it’s just the beginning of a long partnership between York County and FCA Baseball”.