Award winning coach says goodbye to chemistry maker
Family members and friends wished Steve Swope well as he bid farewell to the career field of education and also to coaching high school sports.
This past week in Colonial Beach was no different as the Northern Neck District Wall of Fame member held his final 19th annual baseball camp at Monroe Park. Like many friends, family members and co-workers, Amanda Preston was happy for Swope, but knows it’s a difficult time for others.
“It’s an ending of era and legacy hard to duplicate because he teaches values, morals and more than what sports appear to be about when he’s out on the field with the kids,” Preston said.
One aspect that Preston found fascinating about Swope’s camps is the number of children that raid his golf cart for a ride at the end of each day.
Jason Vickery, who graduated this past school year, said he was younger he was able to catch a ride on Swope’s cart twice. It’s a rare case for campers because it would fill up instantly following Swope’s whistle. Vickery said he’s enjoyed attending the camp over the years and helping as a coach.
“It feels good to coach the last one and see the kids go through, but it’s bittersweet to see it one last time,” Vickery said.
The graduate has been under the direction of Swope on the baseball team for three seasons. Vickery said he’s going to miss him.
Coach Swope complimented all personnel who assisted in the camp.
“Our staff did a fantastic job all week, coaching, mingling and having fun with this great bunch of campers. Current and past players continue to give back to the program by sharing their talent, time and love of the game,” Swope said.
The future retiree was assisted by coaches Jonathan Parker, Earl Payton, Randy Jones, Chase Davidson and Tyler Swope as well as long time Little League coach Jimmy Moran. Alumnus Brent Steffey, a past standout for University of Mary Washington’s baseball program, along with 17 Drifter baseball and softball players, rounded out the staff.
Swope wished to thank Bill Parker and Joe Kelly for their longtime support of Drifter baseball as well as Drifter baseball alumnus Mitch Staples for the T-shirt design and creativity. Many thanks to Susie Foster, Judy Long, Barbara Moxley and Ronnie Peyton for clerical and registration support, plus field preparations. Thanks also go to Virginia Wardman and Jessie Coldwell for providing concessions.
T-Ball/Minors: Ground Ball-Randall Annino; Outfield Fly Ball-Randall Annino; Fielding & Throwing-Brayden Street; Pitching-Ashton “Curtis” Shannon; and Homerun Hitting-Terrance Davis.
Little/Senior League: Ground Ball-Tre Pietras; Outfield Fly Ball- David Wang; Fielding and Throwing-Tavares Lucas; Pitching-Trevor Smith; and Homerun Hitting-Brandon Franks.
Tournament Team Champions
T-Ball/Minor League: Red Sox- Randall Aninno, Thomas Preston, Marquis “MJ” Smith, Brenden LiCalzi, Curtis Shannon, Parker Schill, Kate Wimborough and Nicoli Lawhorn. Little League – Dodgers- Garrett Mothershead, Austin Norris, Jake Jack, Brandon Franks, Donovan Taylor, Alex Watson, Jordan Allison and Tommy Lawhorn. Senior League: Padres – Wyatt Feltner, Andrew Burrell, Bailey Smith, Stephen Bowen and Trey Bowler.
Individual Award Winners
T-Ball/Minor League: Sportsmanship-Dominique Scott; Most Improved-MJ Smith; Best Hustler-Evan Steffey; Best Base Runner-Parker Schill; Best Defensive Outfielder – Thomas Preston; Best Defensive Infielder -“Champ” Ambert; and Drifter Camp MVP-Randall Aninno.
Little/Senior League: Sportsmanship-Tyler Street; Most Improved- Matthew Reid; Best Hustler-Andrew Brown; Best Base Runner-Josh Tevault; Best Defensive Outfielder- Brianna Brewster; Best Defensive Infielder-Mathew Bowen; and Drifter Camp MVP- Trevor Smith.