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Hot Stove holding 29th banquet

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Oakland Athletics pitcher Chris Hatcher is the featured speaker for this year's Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove Baseball Banquet. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

About 300 people are expected to fill the Murphy Center at East Carolina tonight for an annual event that helps to signal that baseball season is almost here.

This year’s Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove Baseball League banquet is the 29th annual edition.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Chris Hatcher, who is a Kinston native, will be the featured speaker.

Tickets can be purchased for $15 at the door. A social is scheduled to start at 6:30, followed by a meal at 7 and then the start of the program.

“All hot stove banquets are different, but we try to be more youth oriented and that is obvious by all the door prizes and stuff that we give out,” Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove Baseball League President Chuck Humphrey said Monday morning. “We’re anticipating another good crowd and we try to give at least a T-shirt to all of the kids. ... Maybe in Raleigh or Wilson or some of those others they will go more into the professional (ranks) and recognizing those things, but we try to stay local and youth oriented I would say.”

The usual awards will be handed out, including amateur player of the year and to special contributors and coaches.

Hatcher will provide the main professional feel to the event. He starred at Kinston High School and UNC Wilmington before being drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft to kickstart a unique pro career that also has taken him to the Los Angeles Dodgers and now Oakland.

“We have historically either had a major league coach or college coach or major league player, and Chris Hatcher is unique because he’s one of the few people who has both caught and pitched in the major leagues,” Humphrey said. 

Hatcher made his MLB debut as a catcher in September of 2010. He later switched positions and debuted as a pitcher at Wrigley Field in Chicago on July 16, 2011.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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