Every summer college players from around the country pack up their bags and head to the cities across the southeast to play summer ball in the Coastal Plain League. Heading to a city unknown to play with strangers can be a frightening task, but with the love and support of local host families, these strangers will leave with a lifelong bond. Similar to other teams in the CPL, the Wilmington Sharks encourage local families to take in a player for the summer. The families welcome their player in with open arms and provide not only a roof over their heads, but also a family-feel away from home in Wilmington. Before a player arrives, the prespective host families fill out a questionnaire and prepare the room the player will stay in.
Hosting a player greatly impacts the family as the families are able to connect and look up to the players. Families bond with their "Summer kids" and forge a bond that will last a lifetime.
The Pruitt family, host family to Austin Parsley, said that their favorite part about being a host family is "the special bond that is formed, by the time the season ends, they are part of our family. We have kept in touch with all of our players and even go watch them play at school in the spring". To make Austin feel at home, the Pruitt family makes sure to have his favorite foods at the house and cook for him on his off days.
"I have a 15 year old left handed pitcher so he loves to have a player around. These guys are role models for him," Kandrea Collins, host mom to Henry Cartrett, said. The Collins family are in their second year as a host family. They enjoy spending time with their player on his off days and watching him play.
"My son is a rising senior and has learned so much from him about what college is like and what it's like to play baseball in college", Georgiana Pinckney, host mom to Cameron Reeves, said. This is the first year the Pinckney family is hosting a player, and they are planning on hosting again.
Similarly, the families and the host family experience leave an impact on the players' lives.
"I like living with a host family because I get to experience nice people in the world who are willing to open up their home to me. Having a family away from home in a new place eases the transition and makes the summer better. I feel like I am a part of their family and that my host brother is my real brother," Hunter Barbee, a pitcher from the Citadel, said.
Without host families, the Wilmington Sharks would not function. Asking a family to take in and host a college player for a summer is a deed that the Sharks are forever grateful for. Host families not only receive free season tickets to watch their host kids play, but also much more. Host families are invited to all off-season events hosted by the Sharks, guaranteed promotional items on giveaway nights, invitations to special host family events, and much more. At the game on Friday July 26, 2019, the Sharks recognized our host families for going above and beyond for everything they do for the organization. The Wilmington Sharks would like to thank all the host families for everything they have done this season. We hope to see everyone back next season, and we are ready to welcome new people into our Sharks family.
About The Wilmington Sharks
Set in the picturesque Cape Fear region of North Carolina, the Wilmington Sharks are one of thecharter members of the Coastal Plain League. Providing affordable family entertainment in a mino league atmosphere, the Sharks have been consistently in the top 25 in attendance in all of summer-collegiate baseball.
About The Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 23nd season in 2019, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 109 of those - including 2017 ALCS MVP, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander as well as 2017 NLCS MVP Chris Taylor – make their Major League debut. While another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball.