Playing for the kids

Chris Hughes takes a swing Saturday during a golf tournament fundraiser for the Lenoir City High School baseball team at Avalon Golf Course.

Two sports collided for a common cause Saturday when the Lenoir City High School baseball team held a golf tournament fundraiser at Avalon Golf Course.

LCHS head baseball coach Dusty Langley was pleased with the turnout of 20, four-man teams.

“We kind of threw this thing together about six, eight weeks ago,” he said. “To have a turnout of 20 teams, it just shows that a lot of people like to play golf. We’ve got a lot of people out here that are former Panthers. We’ve got a lot of guys that are friends of mine that come out to support me, the coaching staff and most important of all, our kids. That’s what it’s all about.”

Langley expects the tournament to yield at least $5,000 to help pay for various team expenses.

“We’re just trying to raise some money, maybe do some updates to the facility, uniforms and cleats,” he said. “I try to do fundraisers and get the parents involved, as far as coaches, parents and stuff. In this day and time, it’s tough. These parents, these kids want to play and some of them can’t afford it, so we try to do things like this to accommodate the ones ... their parents don’t have $350, $400 just to throw out for a team fee.”

Several members of the team were present to help deliver drinks, carry bags or load golf carts, including sophomore Drake Randolph. He has seen firsthand how beneficial fundraisers can be.

“I think it’s very good because we need some money to work on our field and everything,” Randolph said. “Just to help with our concessions stand and everywhere else. Whenever we got here, we helped the elders put their golf clubs in the golf cart, and then we put the tents up and filled up water bottles. Whenever they got back, we just served them.”

Chris Hughes, Lenoir City Farm Bureau agency manager, participated in the tournament and enjoyed playing for a worthy cause.

“It was a good time with a lot of camaraderie,” he said. “It’s always good to participate in something that helps out younger athletes. It’s very important to support them because with baseball, between football and basketball, it kind of gets left out a lot of the time. It’s good to help local kids and to help them field a baseball team. Being here in Lenoir City, it’s great to see the help you put in benefit the kids.”

Langley would like to continue hosting team fundraisers that involve the community and plans on returning next year with a larger turnout.

“We held one the year before last,” he said. “You know, after we had paid the course and all the fees, we still raised $10,000. The good thing is, we’re fortunate the school board approved it. I’d like to do it again.”