In front of a backdrop of bats, balls, and bases, hundreds of family, friends, and members of the community turned out for Limestone College’s official dedication of Shannon Hamrick Park on Thursday, April 18.
The afternoon event was originally scheduled for the following day, but the threat of heavy rains and thunderstorms on Friday moved it up 24 hours. With blue skies and warm temperatures, the ceremony officially celebrated the transformation of Limestone’s baseball stadium.
Shannon Hamrick Park was made possible by a gift from Barry and Judy Hamrick in memory of their late son who died in 2008 at the age of 36. He was a beloved member of the Gaffney community who was invested in local sports and outdoor activities. His passion for baseball was evident as he coached Little League in Gaffney and was an avid supporter of the Saints’ program.
The dedication was held just outside the main entrance into the new facility, and the gates were opened immediately after the ceremony where visitors were able to enter and enjoy all the amenities that have transformed the area into a true park setting.
“Mr. and Mrs. Hamrick, we thank you for this incredible gift that you and your family have made in the memory of Shannon, who is remembered by so many as a wonderful son, father, and friend,” said Dr. Darrell Parker, President of Limestone College. “While I did not have the opportunity to know Shannon personally, I know of his heart. I have heard the stories of the love he had for his family, for the youth of Cherokee County, and for the sport of baseball. Shannon Hamrick Park is a wonderful addition at Limestone that enhances not only our campus and the college experience for our students, but is now a true blessing for our community as well.
“Shannon made the lives of so many better,” he continued. “And now, our campus and our community are being made better by Shannon Hamrick Park.”
As a part of the project, the areas along the back and sides of the baseball grandstands have new brick facades and signage. A raised patio area that includes tables and umbrellas sits along the third base side of the field and offers a new seating area for baseball spectators. In addition, new restroom facilities have been constructed.
“As a Limestone family, the Hamricks are members of our family,” said Mike Cerino, Limestone’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “And Shannon Hamrick Park will now and forever be a part of the fabric of our campus and a part of the lives of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and other Saints. This is a perfect spot to preserve the memory of Shannon Hamrick, who was a beloved and respected coach, mentor, and friend. Shannon’s life’s work created a ripple effect that will be felt by everyone who passes through this park.”
The baseball complex is located off Hetty Hill Street in Gaffney, and in addition to being an asset to the Limestone campus, the new park is also open for residents and visitors to enjoy on a daily basis.
“For those who visit this place and who remember Shannon, we want you to know that he’s still here with us,” said Charles Wyatt, the College’s Vice President for Communications and Marketing who served as the emcee at the ceremony. “He’s at this park, in the flowers planted, on every bench, and with each home run. For that reason, this is a time of celebration.”
The children of Shannon and his wife, Chasity, were also a part of the ceremony on April 18. Daughter Brynn Hamrick provided the invocation and read the litany of dedication. Sons Bryce and Brock Hamrick also spoke. Debbie Dorman and Chazz Robertson performed the Irish Blessing. All three Hamrick children took part in the ceremonial first pitch before the baseball game, with Bryce also singing the National Anthem.
On a nearby artificial turf field, the Hamrick family and their guests enjoyed a catered meal following the ceremony. The dedication took place in the middle of a baseball double-header between Limestone and King University.