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Bryant Packard has been piling up preseason honors left and right as the East Carolina outfielder/designated hitter prepares for his junior season. However, Packard, who was named to his third preseason first-team All-America team Monday and landed on a school-record seven All-America teams for the Pirates last spring, will have one more trophy for his shelf. Packard will receive the Trot Nixon “Gamer” Award from the Wilson Hot Stove League at its 44th annual banquet Tuesday night at Recreation Park Community Center.
Packard earned a preseason first-team All-America nod from D1Baseball on Monday to go with ones he received from Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game recently. The Greenville native and D.H. Conley High product was picked by American Athletic Conference coaches as the league’s preseason player of the year after winning the AAC Player of the Year honor in 2018 as he helped the Pirates win the AAC tournament and return to the NCAA Tournament.
Packard, the fourth recipient of the “Gamer” Award from East Carolina, will be accompanied by Pirates head coach Cliff Godwin, a former Greene Central High and ECU standout himself.
The featured guest at Tuesday’s banquet is Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, who spent the first eight seasons of his Major League Baseball career with the Cleveland Indians. The Newport native and Morehead City resident signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent in December.
Former major leaguers expected to attend are Jim Holt, Tim Talton, Mike Caldwell, Monty Montgomery, Floyd Wicker, Richard Such, Mike Wallace, Alvin Moorman, John Donaldson, Billy Harris and Butch Davis along with former Negro Leaguer Clifford Layton.
Additionally, former North Carolina State University football and baseball stars Freddie Combs and Francis Combs will be present along with Alex Cheek, a member of the 1968 Wolfpack baseball team with Caldwell and the Combs brothers.
In addition to Packard, other award recipients Tuesday will be Fike High junior Chad Bean (Clint Faris Award for top area amateur player), former Barton College pitcher Trent Fennell (Gaylord Perry Amateur Pitching Award), former C.B. Aycock High head coach Charles Davis (Clyde King Excellence in Coaching Award), Wilson Tobs (Willis Hackney Award for contributions to baseball in the community), Raleigh radio personality and Durham Bulls public-address announcer Tony Riggsbee (Charles H. “Red” Barrett Special Achievement) and Brian Allen (Eunice Sasser Memorial Award as the top umpire in the Eastern Plains Athletic Officials Association in 2018).
Wilson businessman and former Atlantic Christian (now Barton) player Chuck Finklea will be the sixth recipient of a Wilson Hot Stove Lifetime Achievement honor.
E.D. Hall will provide the dedication for seven departed friends of Wilson Hot Stove — former Duke football and Wilson high school football and baseball star Bill “Whitey” Davis, former UNC sports broadcaster Woody Durham, Coastal Plain League co-founder Pete Bock, Clyde King’s wife, Norma, and Wilson baseball luminaries Walker Mabry, Rainey Wilkerson and Gene Summerlin.