By Marty Simpkins
WAKE FOREST — It was a great home opener for the North Wake Fungo collegiate summer baseball team as they beat the Deep River Mud Dogs 8-7 off a walk-off hit at Heritage High School Tuesday.
Head coach Robert Dudley said he was happy to see his team come back to win after trailing the entire game.
“We were giving ourselves opportunities at the plate,” Dudley said. “We saw some good pitching tonight and it took our guys a while to get used to it. Our guys are aggressive, so that was good for tonight.”
Trevor Edge had the game-winning hit for the Fungo. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the freshman from N.C. State drove the ball deep to left field and teammate Gabe Tippett ran home for the score to end the game in a victory for North Wake.
“I didn’t even make the college roster last year,” Edge said. “To be able to come out and get the walk-off hit for this team feels pretty good.”
North Wake split their first two games on the road, but after the win Tuesday, the Fungo improve their record to 2-1 for the season.
“I told the guys that they’re going to get their time,” Dudley said. “Everybody gets time to play, so they have no worries when they come out.”
The North Wake Fungo is part of the North Wake County Baseball Association under the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League.
The team features local players who went to high school in Wake County and have gone off to college in North Carolina.
Some of the players on the roster include Heritage High School graduates Brad Mize, Caleb Coyle and Ryan Pifer.
There’s also Wakefield High School graduate Jordan Ramos and Franklin Academy graduate Jordan Maye.
Edge graduated from North Raleigh Christian Academy in 2015 and wanted to continue playing baseball in college.
Through his connection with Joe John, the general manager of the Fungo, Edge found a team to play on.
“I used to play for Joe John at The Factory,” Edge said. “I wanted to play for a summer team in college, so it just happened to fit perfectly. We’re having fun so far.”
Dudley graduated from N.C. State in 2010 and coached the club baseball team. Then later on, he coached at the Factory Baseball Institute (FBI) with John.
For the name Fungo, the FBI adopted the name for their baseball club and then John gave the same name to the North Wake collegiate summer team.
A Fungo is a type of bat that coaches use during practice. According to Dudley and John, there used to be a North Wake little league travel baseball team that used the name Fungo as their team nickname.
Dudley and John wanted to recognize the old tradition of North Wake baseball by using a name that has been used in the same community in the past.
“We wanted to connect with the North Wake baseball community,” Dudley said. “It’s a recognizable name to those who have been a part of this community for a while, so we wanted to run with that to make it a family-fun atmosphere.”
To enhance that family atmosphere, North Wake invited the 9U North Wake Shockwave little league travel team to the home opener.
The young players took the field with the Fungo players and participated in the ceremonial first pitch.
All of North Wake’s home games will be played at Heritage High School. Their next home game is Sunday June 5 when they take on the Mooresville Spinners at 1 p.m.