Baseball First Pitch Dinner set for Jan. 10

Carl Willis
Carl Willis

@GoCamelsBSB |

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell Baseball's sixth annual First Pitch Dinner is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. on Fred McCall Court inside the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.

The event will kick off the 2014 season for the Camels and will feature Major League Baseball veteran pitching coach and World Series Champion Carl Willis, most recently with the Seattle Mariners.

Campbell will also honor its 2014 Alumnus of the Year, Kenny Milton, and the 2014 Camel baseball team and staff will be introduced at the event.

Willis, a Danville, Va. native, worked with the Mariners' organization since 2010, and served as the Cleveland Indians pitching coach from 2003-09. Willis has guided three pitchers to Cy Young awards, including CC Sabathia in 2007, Cliff Lee in 2008 and Felix Hernandez in 2010.

During his 11 year MLB career, Willis was a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. Willis was a member of two World Series champion teams, the Tigers in 1984 and the Twins in the 1991.

At last year's CU Baseball First Pitch Dinner, 1970 Cy Young Award winner Jim Perry was honored as Alumnus of the Year and legendary college baseball coach Ron Polk, long-time head baseball coach at Mississippi State and considered the "Father of SEC Baseball", was the featured speaker.

The sixth annual Campbell Baseball First Pitch Dinner is open to the public. Tickets are just $25 and can be purchased through the CU Baseball office. For tickets or more information, please call the Campbell Baseball Office at (910) 893-1354.

The Camels open the 2014 season on Friday, Feb. 14, hosting La Salle at Jim Perry Stadium.

Campbell has won 90 games over the last two seasons, including a school record 49 in 2013.

The Camels finished 2013 with a school record 49 wins, claiming the Big South's Regular Season Championship and ending the year runner-up in the league tournament. The team was ranked No. 28 by Collegiate Baseball in the publication's final poll.

The Camels, led by 2013 Big South Coach of the Year Greg Goff, return 16 letterwinners from last season's record-setting team, including All-Big South performers Ryan Thompson (Big South Pitcher of the Year), Elijah Trail, Heath Bowers and Clayton Brown. CU also welcomes 17 newcomers to the fold.

Thompson, an All-America selection last season, was named Preseason All-America by the NCBWA last week.