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Cla Meredith To Be Keynote Speaker as Four Named to Local Baseball Hall of Fame

 Joe Raccuia, head coach at Radford University since 2007 with over 300 wins, joins the HOF Class of 2019.

Cla Meredith, a former Major League Baseball pitcher from Richmond, is set as the keynote speaker at the 28th annual Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame banquet scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2019 at the Salem Civic Center.

Meredith pitched collegiately at Virginia Commonwealth University as a relief pitcher. In 2003 he went 6-0 with 8 saves, along with a school record earned run average of 1.19, second best in all of NCAA Division 1 that season.
A side arming right hander, nicknamed “The Claw”, he was drafted in the 6th round of the 2004 Major League draft by the Boston Red Sox, leading to a six year career that included stops in Boston, San Diego and Baltimore before being released by the Washington Nationals during the 2011 spring training.
Meredith now resides in Richmond with his wife Natalie and three children where he is a professional firefighter for Henrico County.
Comprising the Class of 2019, four area baseball players and contributors have been selected for induction into the Hall of Fame during the hot stove banquet. They include Ernie Bradd, Jay Phillips, Joe Raccuia and Barry Shelton. Likewise, Michael Deneka has been selected to received the prestigious Wayne LaPierre, Sr. Community Service Award for contributions to the game.
Ernie Bradd is a Roanoke institution, growing up in the Midwest where he was involved with baseball while working for the Nickel Plate Railroad. The Nickel Plate Road would merge with Norfolk & Western a few years later, and Bradd was transferred to Roanoke.
Bradd began umpiring baseball by the late 60s, as well as officiating everything from softball to basketball, football and volleyball. He eventually moved to the college level in baseball, calling games at Virginia Tech, Liberty University and throughout the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
By the mid-1980s, Bradd had become a VHSL commissioner in the Roanoke are for 5 sports. After 30 years of service he retired from Norfolk Southern and devoted full time to sports officiating.
Jay Phillips played his high school baseball at Oakton High in Northern Virginia where he named Group AAA All-State in the late 1970s. He went on to become an all-Metro Conference infielder at Virginia Tech while playing for legendary coach and fellow Hall of Fame member, Chuck Hartman. A four-year letterman, Philips had a career batting average at Tech of .338 and was a speedster on the bases, swiping 82, a record that still ranks fifth on Virginia Tech’s all-time list.
Phillips was a 10th round draft pick in 1982 before spending time in the minor leagues with both the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. He began coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tech and then became an assistant at his former high school. Phillips returned to the Hokies as a paid assistant in 1991. During his 15-year tenure as an assistant at Tech the team won titles in three different conferences.
Cla Meredith, a fireballing side-armer that made stops in San Diego, Boston and Baltimore during his 6-year Major League career will be the guest speaker for the 2019 hot love banquet January 31st.

Joe Raccuia, a 1995 graduate of Radford University, returned to the Highlander program in 2007 when he was named the fifth head baseball coach in Radford history. He has been part of 398 wins at Radford as a player, assistant coach and head coach, a number that represents more than 53% of the Radford program’s all-time victories. 322 of those wins have come as head coach, and he is now just seven wins shy of moving into third place on the all-time Big South baseball wins list.

Raccuia’s most successful season at Radford came during the 2015 campaign, as the Highlanders finished 45-16 (a new school record for wins in a season) and won the program’s first-ever Big South regular season title and conference championship leading to a trip to the NCAA Nashville Regional. Raccuia was subsequently named the 2015 Big South Coach of the Year.
Before he returned to Radford, Raccuia spent two seasons as the University of Alabama’s recruiting coach and hitting instructor. The 2006 Alabama team won the Southeastern Conference championship and sent four players to the majors. His stint with the Crimson Tide came on the heels of two successful seasons as head coach at Marist College, where he was named the 2005 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year as the Red Foxes received a berth in the 2005 Baton Rouge Regional.
Barry Shelton, who attended Patrick Henry HS in Roanoke, joins the 2019 HOF Class after being drafted by the Chicago White Sox. He has been the head coach at Franklin County HS since 2011.

Roanoke native Barry Shelton played baseball at Patrick Henry High School before entering West Virginia State University where he played for legendary coach Cal Bailey.

AT WVSU Shelton earned All-American and Regional Player of the Year honors as a junior third baseman. After his junior season he was selected in the 21st round of the 1995 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox, playing professionally in the White Sox minor league organization.
Shelton began his coaching career at WVSU serving as an assistant coach for three seasons, where the Yellow Jackets won three West Virginia IAC Championships and the 1999 team placed third at the NCAA Division II World Series. He then moved to Hardwick (NY) College, directing the school’s baseball program for three years as head coach.
In 2003, Shelton joined the staff at Ferrum College where the Panthers would win the USA South Conference regular season title in 2004 and a tournament championship in 2005. Shelton moved to Virginia Military Institute in Lexington where he served as an assistant coach for three seasons. He now teaches science at Franklin County High School where he has been the Eagles’ head baseball coach since 2011.
Deneka receives the LaPierre Community Service Award for his involvement with the Cave Spring National Little League in Southwest Roanoke County, and for his tireless work with the organization since 1989. Not only has Deneka coached teams at the younger levels, but he has also provided administrative and Board of Directors leadership for 25 years.
He spearheaded programs of the 5 year old Instructional T-Ball, giving opportunities for younger children to participate in youth sports. He also helped develop the Machine Pitch Division to give 8 year olds the chance to develop at a higher level. Deneka was instrumental in selecting and training coaches for the younger children, and helped lead the acquisition and development of the Starkey Park Baseball Complex.
Deneka is known for his focus in instilling in both coaches and the young players not only the skills needed to enjoy and succeed in the sport, but also the attitudes appropriate for youth sports—character, leadership, sportsmanship and team sports.
Tickets for the always-entertaining banquet are now available at the Salem Civic Center box office, through members of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors or by calling President Charlie Hammersley at 540-556-0377 or Vice President Gary Walthall at 540-427-1977.
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 and honors players and contributors from the counties of Alleghany, Roanoke, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery, and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties. The Hall of Fame building is located on the grounds of the James E. Taliaferro Complex, next to the Salem Red Sox administrative office behind the third base seating area of Salem Memorial Ballpark. The building is open to the public prior to Red Sox games and upon request.
Bill Turner

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