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‘First pitch’ dinner raises $66,000 for Catawba College baseball team

Staff report

SALISBURY — The fourth “First Pitch” dinner in support of Catawba College baseball raised close to $66,000.

Besides program supporters, the evening included current and former Catawba players. More than 220 people attended.

Former Catawba player Dennis Love was the keynote speaker. After leaving Catawba, Love went to Clemson University as an assistant strength coach for 11 years, then joined the Denver Broncos organization that won a Super Bowl championship.

Love is now associate strength and conditioning coach at Purdue University.

Also at First Pitch, held in the college’s Peeler Crystal Lounge, Catawba head baseball coach Jim Gantt recognized current Duke University associate baseball coach Josh Jordan, another alumnus of the Catawba program.

This past year, Jordan was selected as the National Assistant Baseball Coach of the Year by the National Baseball Coaches Association.

After his playing days at Catawba, Jordan was an assistant coach for the team before joining the staff of head baseball coach Chris Pollard at Appalachian State University, where Jordan coached for six years.

Jordan went on to Duke University in 2012 as the program’s recruiting coordinator and was promoted to associate head coach in July 2015. He also works with Duke’s catchers and outfielders and teaches hitting and base running.

Duke put together one of the most successful seasons in program history in 2018, recording its first 40-win season and also earning a school-record 18 Atlantic Coast Conference wins and advancing to the first NCAA Super Regional in its history.

Gantt presented Jordan with a framed Catawba College baseball jersey.

Former player Chris Anderson gave the alumni remarks. He is head baseball coach at Belmont Abbey College.

Doug Rice of Salisbury, president and general manager of Performance Racing Network, was the night’s emcee.

Shari Graham and Hen Henderlite helped in organizing and decorating.

The Catawba College baseball team, a consistently successful program in NCAA Division II,  stood at 12-2 overall heading into a Monday doubleheader with Wingate University.

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