The Diamond Sports Foundation inducted 21 players, coaches and umpires into its inaugural Hall of Fame class on Monday, April 24.
The foundation, an area nonprofit organization that promotes baseball and softball, also awarded five Lifetime Service Awards.
Following are capules of the Hall of Fame inductees:
Chris Baird: Cary High Class of 1979. Played at N.C. State and three seasons in the Atlanta Braves minor league organization. Made the Carolina League All-Star team in 1984.
Jeff Bock: Cary High Class of 1991. Played at Barton College and four seasons in the Atlanta Braves minor league system. Also served as an assistant coach at Campbell University for four seasons.
Thad Chrismon: Apex High Class of 1991. Earned All-American honors at North Carolina and holds the career record for saves with 41.
Nelvin Cooper: After many years of playing and coaching college and pro baseball, he served as head coach for Cary American Legion's Post 67 team from 1974 to 1978 where he mentored future coaches Ron Powell, Mark Scalf, Jere Morton and Neil Woodall.
Clay Council: Apex High Class of 1955. After spending three years in the minor leagues, he has spent the last 40 years coaching recreation, high school and American Legion baseball.
Melinda Cowley: Cary High Class of 1981. Played on two national championship teams and named All-American in 2001. Has spent the last 15 years working with children in the Apex and Cary parks and recreation departments.
Charles Early: Coached girls softball in the Cary Parks and Recreation Department from the early 1980s until 1986 when he founded the Carolina Girls travel team that won seven state championships and one national title.
Josh Hamilton: Athens High Class of 1999. Named All-American in 1998 and '99, and was the state and national player of the year. Was the first player picked in the Major League Baseball Draft in 1999.
Bonnie Hodge: Apex High Class of 1981. Compiled 148 wins and 54 losses in 17 seasons as the Apex Middle coach. Currently in her third year as Apex High coach.
Steve McLaurin: Cary High Class of 1971. Has coached the same team (SNB) in the Cary Parks and Recreation Department for the last 30 seasons. Has won 390 games, 24 regular season titles and 20 tournament titles.
Jim Mills: Apex High Class of 1937. Played football, basketball and baseball at N.C. State. Spent more than 40 years working in pro baseball. The Carolina League Trophy is named the Mills Cup in his honor.
Joe Mills: Apex High Class of 1937. Like his twin brother Jim, Joe played football, basketball and baseball at N.C. State. After six years as a pro player, he spent the next 35 years umpiring high school and college games. Mills passed away in 2003.
Jere Morton III: Broughton High Class of 1977. One of only two players ever to play on the Cary American Legion Team for four years. Has spent 20 seasons coaching at all levels, including four as the head coach of Cary Post 67.
Landon Powell: Apex High Class of 2001. Named All-American and All-College World Series, as well as All-SEC twice at South Carolina. Played two summers for Team USA and was a first-round pick by Oakland in 2004. Currently playing in the minor leagues.
Ron Powell: Cary High Class of 1971. A longtime local coach and umpire, he has coached the Cary Bulls, Cary's Junior American Legion team, to 272 wins and four state championships in the last nine seasons.
Mark Scalf: Cary High Class of 1976. Played four years and has spent 23 of his 25 years in coaching at UNC-Wilmington. In 15 years, has compiled 441 wins and 370 losses.
Bryan Smith: Cary High Class of 1977. Played two years collegiately at Campbell and two at Clemson. Was named All-South in 1979. He continues to provide significant financial support to the Cary American Legion programs.
Harold Smith: Cary High Class of 1955. Played two years of football and baseball at Chowan College. Coached recreation and American Legion teams for more than 15 seasons, and spent more than 15 years umpiring at the recreational, high school, legion and collegiate levels.
Paul Wilder Jr.: Cary High Class of 1996. First-ever draft pick of Tampa Bay in the 1996 Major League Draft. Played three seasons in the minor leagues.
Bryant Woodall: Cary High Class of 1973. Has been umpiring high school, legion and college baseball for the past 20 years. Has been an ACC ump for 12 years and has umpired several NCAA tournaments, including the Division III College World Series.
Neil Woodall: Cary High Class of 1977. Threw two no-hit games in 1976. Has spent more than 15 years coaching local teams, including his current position as head coach of the Cary American Legion team.
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