ALBEMARLE — The Uwharrie Wampus Cats — Stanly County’s new wood-bat collegiate baseball team — wrapped up its inaugural season with a late surge of victories and an 18-17 winning record.
“Thank you Albemarle for a great summer,” Uwharrie manager Houston Wright said in a statement. “Blessed to be able to be a head coach for a brand new team in a town that breathes baseball. From me and all of my players, thank you for an unforgettable summer.”
The Cats finished their summer schedule with a 10-3 home win over the Carolina Disco Turkeys on July 27, a 7-2 home win over the Race City Bootleggers on July 28, and a 5-2 road win over the Disco Turkeys on July 30.
Despite weather and scheduling limitations, Uwharrie was able to play 35 games independently of a league during the past few months, including home matchups at the newly upgraded Don Montgomery Park where new picnic seating additions, sound system updates and improvements to the bathroom and concession areas were made with the help of Albemarle Parks and Recreation funding.
In addition to the on-field success that Uwharrie had as the season progressed, the team also had special experiences for fans at home games in Albemarle, including an interactive dinosaur exhibit, a “Hometown Heroes” night honoring local law enforcement and health care workers, a home run derby, and live music performances.
USC Sumter infielder B.J. Williams emerged as a star player for the Cats this summer with a .347 batting average.
After launching the first home run in team history back in June, Williams’ season remained a consistent offensive threat for Uwharrie. Wake Tech infielder Ick Cirino and Caldwell CC outfielder Breon Ishmael were also key to the Wampus Cats’ attack.
On the mound, a group of Stanly County natives — former West Stanly Colt Charlie Carpenter and former South Stanly Bulls Sawyer Smith and Garrett Swink — brought local pitching talent to the field.
The Cats also established a rivalry in their first season with the Winston-Salem-based Carolina Disco Turkeys, a team also led by Uwharrie team owner Greg Sullivan (of Sullimak Entertainment). The newly formed Cats won six of 11 matchups against the already-established Turkeys.
“What a way to end our home season,” the Cats’ social media account posted after the final games of the season. “Thank you to all who attended, not just last night but the entire season. Watch out for wampus cats lurking in the woods. We will see you next summer. It can’t come quick enough.”