Weaverville – Punctuality may have been superseded with an earlier-than-usual signing ceremony that was scheduled to take place mid-afternoon. The setting at North Buncombe High School’s baseball field consisted of existing supporters and a local news van that was busily wrapping up their wires and heading out from a finished assignment. In the nick of time and as luck barely had it, this reporter arrived at the clean up portion of the ceremony with everyone busily looking to assist. Standing ominously in a smart suit and a pristine ball cap from the University of Virginia was North Buncombe High’s Cody Kirkpatrick.
As he was soaking up the closing moments, I asked about how it all turned out for him.
“It was a couple of months ago,” recalled Cody. “We were in Bristol playing during a tournament [when] Coach Costa at UVA at Wise was there watching the kids, and our coach was over there talking to him. Costa said ‘hey, need a catcher’ and my coach was like ‘here he is.’ A week later I was on campus. He offered me on the campus, and then a week later I went to a practice and signed right after that.”
Responding to a question about how he was feeling, he said, “It’s surreal. As a kid playing youth league ball, it’s a dream.”
North Buncombe Baseball Coach Charlie Harrison further attested to how Cody’s leadership and commitment is setting the bar high for the next BlackHawks baseball catcher. “Our next guy is going to have to fill some very big shoes.”
Cody’s mother Terry was all smiles and added, “Honestly, I want to cry. I am so happy for him that this finally happened, because he worked so hard for it, and he’s been a great kid.” When the discussion of her son leaving next August to begin his college program arose she said, “It’s pretty soon, and I am not ready for that. I don’t think any parent can really be ready for that. It helps that we still have our youngest one, too, and that could help out a little bit. He’s only two hours away. He can come home once a month.”
It was what one could expect from such a scene: proud parents, teachers, and coaches cleaning up a field for their stand-out player. The family was kind enough to take a socially-distanced group shot behind a beautiful setting sun. The signing marked the end of one era for Cody Kirkpatrick as a formidable BlackHawk and the beginning of the next phase, perhaps towards his professional career. In Virginia, Kirkpatrick hopes to assist the Cavaliers in improving upon their 11-10 season in 2020.