The area’s newest collection of the boys of summer has a definite Polk County feel.
The Hendersonville Honeycrisps are set for their first season in The Old North State League, the largest summer collegiate baseball league in North Carolina. The team makes its debut on Friday, hosting the Lenoir Legends in a 7 p.m. game at historic Berkeley Mills Ballpark in Hendersonville.
Four players with Polk County ties – Bryson Edwards, Micah Hill, Grayson Jones and Jordan Searcy – are part of the inaugural Honeycrisps roster, with Tryon High graduate Mark Emery serving as the team’s general manager.
“I am happy with the Polk County guys we have,” Emery said. “Not only for the Honeycrisps, but it shows their hard work and dedication to get to continue playing the game we love. And the Honeycrisps’ doors are always open to our Polk County talent.
“Jordan Searcy actually got a taste of the league last year playing in Lenoir, so we are looking for big things out of him. And Grayson Jones is looking for at-bats to be ready to make an impact at (Spartanburg Methodist College) next season. Bryson Edwards redshirted at Coker, so he’s anxious to get on the field and contribute. And Micah Hill will be heading to Virginia-Wise in the fall, and facing college arms will prepare him and put him ahead of the curve.”
Launched in 2018, The Old North State League consists this season of 13 teams located from Hendersonville to the Carolina coast. The season lasts through late July, with the Honeycrisps’ schedule including 31 games.
The first five of those games are at home, and Emery said fans who visit Berkeley Mills can expect a fun atmosphere similar to a minor league game.
“The Old North State League is geared around fans and the experience of collegiate summer baseball,” he said. “Besides good quality baseball, there will be games for kids, music, dancing and a great family atmosphere. We will also periodically through the season have food trucks such as Mountain View BBQ. 828 Dough Bros Pizza and Allie’s Sno Cones.”
Emery’s connection to the North State league begins with co-founders Reggie and Alec Allred, who were involved several years ago in youth baseball tournaments that Emery directed. His son, Brendan, played in 2019 for the Lexington Flying Pigs, then coached the Lenoir Legends last season. That heightened Emery’s interest.
“Alec, knowing I had moved back home, approached me about getting Hendersonville excited about college baseball,” Emery said. “I sort of agreed so we could put a team on the field to beat my son’s team. But life’s courses change and he went a different direction with his career.
“But seeing how the league is growing was intriguing to me, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
The Honeycrisps’ coaching staff also has local ties, with former West Henderson standout Will Lindsey serving as head coach. Pitching coach Taylor Noble (East Henderson) and assistants Bradley Pace (Pisgah) and Zack Wolfe (Hendersonville) round out the staff.
The league plans to serve meals at each game to both home and away teams, and the Honeycrisps are looking for sponsors for those means. Anyone interested in donating to help feed the players can email Emery at email@example.com.
Learn more about The Old North State League and the Hendersonville Honeycrisps at the league website.