SKYLAND – Fifteen years after leading Roberson to a state championship, Chris Narveson is still pitching at baseball’s highest level.
So of course, the 33-year-old left-hander with the Miami Marlins organization is honored to give back to the high school program that got him there.
Narveson is among the former players who will take part Saturday in the first-ever Roberson Baseball Legends home run derby and alumni game.
“It’s cool to see that the tradition remains so strong,” Narveson said.
“A lot of the former players have an interest in coming back and giving back. I know even with our class (2000), a lot of guys would love to be there but it’s just a matter of scheduling. I’m looking forward to seeing the excitement and seeing a lot of people in the area.”
Tickets for Saturday’s event are $10 and children ages 12 and under will be admitted free. Gates to Holmes-Smith Field open at 12:30 p.m., and the order of events is as follows – batting practice for alumni (12:45 to 1:45 p.m.), home run derby (2 to 3 p.m.) and a seven-inning alumni game pitting odd vs. even graduation years (3:45 p.m.).
Saturday’s proceeds will help fund the Rams’ 2016 spring break trip to the IMG Classic tournament in Bradenton, Fla., field improvements and the school’s Progressive Education Program.
Barbeque and hot dog plates as well as other refreshments will be available for purchase.
Narveson, Braxton Davidson (Class of 2014), Alex Ledford (2011), Bo Dickerson (2000), Aaron Wright (2011), Matt Wright (1999), Chris Price (2002) and Ryan Radford (2002) are the home-run derby participants.
Narveson was 3-1 overall with a 4.45 earned-run average and 32 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched for the Marlins (71-91) this past season. He has been in MLB since 2006 and previously played for Milwaukee and St. Louis. He was a second-round draft pick (53rd overall) out of high school.
Narveson was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans earlier this month but believes he can still pitch at the major-league level in 2016.
“There’s still an opportunity there with Miami and we’re talking with them,” Narveson said.
“They needed to make sure they had spots (on the 40-man roster) for guys they were trying to protect and we’ll see if something works out. I’ve enjoyed my time with Miami and obviously we’ll check out all our options. It’s never a bad thing to be a free agent in this game and I feel good about the way the season finished up.”
Davidson is just getting started with his pro career. The former first-round pick batted .242 with 45 RBIs and 10 home runs as an outfielder this past season for the Atlanta Braves’ Single-A affiliate in Rome (Ga.).
“I’m really excited to be part of this on Saturday and glad that (Roberson coach Eric Filipek) asked me,” Davidson said.
“I’m a big supporter of the PEP program and it’s always good to give back to T.C. There really isn’t another program in the state of North Carolina like it. There are so many great people who have come through this program with great character. (Former coach Tom Smith) started it way back in the day and we’re just trying to build on top of that.”