CUMBERLAND — Summoned by the Dapper Dans to offer a taste of much-needed promise that spring and summer really will return, four area athletic greats will be on hand Saturday to discuss the splendor of their spring and summer sports of baseball and track and field during the 66th Dapper Dan Awards Banquet at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club.
Aaron Laffey, who has come to an agreement with the Baltimore Orioles (see separate story), Chicago White Sox pitching coach J.R. Perdew, Houston Astros outfield prospect Jon Kemmer and five-time track and field All-American Jennifer Yarnall Hamilton are this year’s Dapper Dan speakers in returning to the scene of some of their finest moments and greatest triumphs of their athletic careers.
Georgetown University football player Dustin Wharton, 2010 graduate of Allegany High School and the 2009 Area High School Football Player of the Year, will be the recipient of the George W. Stevenson/Nicholas A. Perlozzo Memorial Award for bringing the most national recognition to the Cumberland area through athletics.
The Shrine Club doors will open Saturday at 3 p.m., dinner will be served at 4 p.m., while the awards program will get under way at 5 p.m.
• Perdew is a former pitcher at Fort Hill, Allegany College and George Mason University, as well as the pitching coach for Allegany College and a member of the Chicago White Sox organization now for 17 years. The pitching coach for the White Sox’s Class A Carolina League Winston-Salem Dash the past two seasons, Perdew has worked from the Advanced Rookie to Double-A levels through his 17 seasons and is considered to be an exceptional teacher. At the conclusion of the Winston-Salem season last September, Perdew was in uniform with the big league White Sox at the conclusion of their season.
Perdew has coached over 120 White Sox pitchers, including All-Star Mark Buehrle, who has pitched two no-hitters, including the 18th perfect game in MLB history in 2009, and 14 catchers who have played in the major leagues.
• Kemmer just completed his first season in professional baseball for the Houston Astros’ Tri-City ValleyCats of the Class A short-season New York-Penn League. He was selected by the Houston Astros with the first pick of the 21st round of the annual Major League Baseball amateur draft on June 8.
While at Allegany in 2010-11, Kemmer, 6-2, 215-pound left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder from Shippenville, Pa., batted .448 as a sophomore with 12 home runs and 67 RBIs, earning NJCAA Division II first-team All-America honors after hitting .445 with seven homers and 74 RBIs as a freshman. He set three career Allegany records, with 44 doubles, 141 runs batted in, and was hit by 30 pitches — 17 his sophomore season.
Kemmer then went to Clarion University and was a first-team American Baseball Coaches Association NCAA Division II All-Atlantic Region selection. Then at NAIA Brewton-Parker College in Mountain Vernon, Ga.,he hit a team-leading .366 in 45 games with 12 home runs, 13 doubles and one triple while driving in 41. He slugged .717 and was named first-team NAIA All-American, the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a first-team All-Conference performer.
• Yarnall Hamilton, who graduated from Allegany High and Frostburg State University, and who obtained her master of science degree in biology from Duquesne University, was a five-time-All-American hurdler at Frostburg State, earning All-American honors in each of her four years.
As a senior in 1998, Hamilton earned indoor and outdoor All-American honors after finishing fifth in the 55-meter hurdles (indoor) and third in the 100-meter hurdles (outdoor) at the NCAA National Championships. She earned her highest finish at the NCAA Championships as a junior in 1997 after finishing runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles, during which she broke the long-held Frostburg State 100-meter hurdle record, which she again broke with a personal best time during her NCAA Championship run in 1998.
Yarnall Hamilton has been inducted into the Allegany High and Frostburg State athletic halls of fame.
For Dapper Dan Banquet ticket information, call The Original Sports Shoppe at 301-722-5490.
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org