Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dail's hits record about to be toppled

An item of interest comes our way from Charles Alston in Rocky Mount regarding the imminent dethroning of Wilson's Rusty Dail as the N.C. Wesleyan College baseball program's all-time hits king.

Dail, a member of the NCWC and Fike High School athletic halls of fame, collected 251 hits in his time in a Battling Bishops uniform. But that number was matched by center fielder Matt Smith in the Bishops' doubleheader sweep of Shenandoah University on Sunday.

Smith has a chance to pass Dail on Friday when Wesleyan travels to Lynchburg (Va.) College for a doubleheader.

But all is not lost for Dail, who was a guiding force on Wesleyan's 1989 NCAA Division III World Series champion. The 1985 Fike High graduate and current Wilson American Legion Post 13 baseball head coach is still tied for first in career triples with 15. Dail's 220 at-bats in 1987 is still a Bishops season standard and he is second all-time in runs scored with 206.

Another Wilson native, Charles Simpson, is Wesleyan's all-time home run king with 47 from 1982-85. Simpson was a standout third baseman at Hunt High School from 1979-81.

So while Smith should pass Dail very soon, the left-hander's record stood for nearly two decades and that's not too shabby.

By the way, the Bishops are doing pretty well this year with a 23-9-1 mark and are in second place in the USA South Conference standings with a 9-3 ledger. Wesleyan has three games remaining before the USA South tournament in Burlington from April 17-20. Then Bishops return to Rocky Mount for their final home date, a doubleheader against University of Mary Washington on Sunday, May 4, beginning at 1 p.m.

As has been the case throughout much of the Wesleyan history, there is a distinct Wilson influence. Junior catcher Justin Batts. a Wilson Christian Academy graduate, leads the club in RBIs with 39 and is third with a robust .376 batting average.

Also seeing action for the Bishops has been Greenfield School product Tony Whitehead and Bradley Taylor, a member of Charles B. Aycock High School's 2007 3-A state champion as well as a two-year performer for Post 13.

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