Playing on its home field for the first time in more than a year, the Laurens baseball team honored one of its greatest players Friday night.
The family of Charles Peterson, who died of complications from COVID-19 in September, at the age of 46, paid tribute to Peterson along with the Raiders and a smattering of fans before LDHS dispatched of visiting Emerald.
Peterson was a baseball star at LDHS who was drafted in the first round of Major League Baseball’s 1993 amateur draft by the Pittsburg Pirates. He played 14 seasons in the minor and independent leagues and worked as a regional scout for the St. Louis Cardinals following his retirement from professional baseball.
He was also a Raiders football legend as a NCAA Division I prospect and state championship game hero. His improbable diving touchdown catch in the 1991 title game lifted the Raiders to a 28-27 win over Lower Richland.
Around 20 members of Peterson’s family — some of them wearing black and gold Pittsburgh Pirates paraphernalia with Peterson’s No. 24 — attended the pregame ceremonies.
Peterson’s No. 23, which he wore at LDHS, was retired and hangs on the leftfield fence along with the No. 3 of Matthew Holcombe, a recent LDHS graduate whose jersey replica was placed there last season. The Raiders are also honoring both former players with the initials “CP” and “MH” embroidered on their caps this season.
After the pregame ceremonies, LDHS overcame a 3-0 deficit after the top of the first inning with nine-run second en route to a 16-4 victory. LDHS led 4-3 after plating four runs in the home first.
The Raiders (4-2) pounded out 16 hits, including seven doubles and a triple. Kalob Hamilton got the win in relief after pitching 2 1/3 innings after taking over for starter Preston Roberts, who left with a 4-3 lead.
Zac Rice, Mason Hamby and Austin McNuer had three hits apiece for the Raiders. Rice finished with two doubles and a triple and drove in four runs.
The game ended after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Earlier, the LDHS JV team remained perfect at 6-0 with a 7-1 win over Emerald.