Ashworth, Hall earn scholarship
Only four Dixie Youth Baseball players in Lunenburg County have ever received the Dixie Youth Baseball Scholarship in the more than 40 years it has been possible to earn it.
Two of those four Lunenburg players received the scholarship this year — Dalton Ashworth and Justin Hall.
Lunenburg County Youth Baseball League (LCYBL) President David Clark expressed excitement on behalf of the league’s leadership for Ashworth’s and Hall’s achievements.
“(The) LCYBL Board is extremely proud of both young men,” he said.
Prior to Ashworth and Hall, the only other Lunenburg players to receive the scholarship were Brian Nowlin and Colin Dalton.
“(I’m), obviously, really proud,” Ashworth said, “because with anything small and exclusive like that, it’s always good to get awards like that. But then, too, the great part of it is you get some money to go towards college, obviously, and anything’s always a big help, so I was glad I got it.”
The Dixie Youth Baseball Scholarship is worth $2,000.
To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must have played Dixie Youth Baseball when they were younger. Ashworth’s mother, Rachael Ashworth, noted how he easily qualified in that regard.
“He’s played from the time he was 4 until he aged out of the league there,” she said, which would have been around age 12.
Dalton Ashworth has continued to play baseball at Central High School, where he is a senior.
“He’s actually going to graduate from Central as well as Governor’s School of Southside Virginia,” Rachael Ashworth said.
He also had to write an essay to be eligible for the scholarship. He noted having to fill out a form explaining what his plans are for the future. He also obtained a letter of recommendation from Clark and a letter of reference from a family friend, Cookie Currin.
Ashworth is going to Hampden-Sydney College. He is still making up his mind on his major.
“I’m leaning towards business right now, but we’ll see how it goes when I start taking some classes in the fall,” he said.
He also hopes to continue his baseball career as a member of the Tigers.
Rachael Ashworth said she and her husband, Carl Ashworth, are very proud of Dalton.
“He’s worked hard in school,” she said. “He has absolutely loved baseball since he was a little tiny boy and played Dixie Youth as well as Babe Ruth (League), and he’s played for the school. So to get the Dixie Youth scholarship and it (being) affiliated with baseball, it was exciting.”
Justin Hall said being on the short list of Lunenburg youth baseball players to receive the scholarship means a lot.
“I’m glad that they decided to give me the money so I can help pay for college since we all know that’s expensive,” he said. “So yeah, it’s like a good feeling that other people see that you’re working hard and want to give you money and help out.”
He said he played Dixie Youth Baseball with LCYBL from T-ball through Minors before taking a year off and then playing his last year of Majors.
“I played a pretty good amount since my dad coached up there, and I spent a lot of my childhood up there,” he said of the LCYBL complex on Neblett Field Road in Victoria.
A letter of recommendation for the scholarship came from one of his teachers at governor’s school, he said.
“And I got a letter from my uncle as well, Derrick Hall, since he is the commissioner of Lunenburg Lightning youth football,” Hall said. “And for the last two years, I ran the clock for him and video recorded his games.”
He noted he also helped his uncle coach a LCYBL T-ball team one year.
Hall has not pursued baseball much as a player since his Dixie Youth days, aside from playing a bit in the Babe Ruth League, but he does aim to be involved in sports in the future. He said he wants to major in sports management in college, and will be attending North Carolina State University.
Justin’s father, Shannon Hall, said he and his wife, Tammy Hall, were shocked and excited for Justin to get something that so few people from Lunenburg have gotten.
“He worked pretty hard to get it and (to) academically get where he was,” Shannon Hall said. “He didn’t have a long career in Dixie Youth Baseball because he pursued other sports interests, but he always went back every year to help and volunteer with their tournaments and put time in, so it means a lot to us that he did all of that and was able to receive this recognition for it.”
Clark said LCYBL leaders ask every up-and-coming senior to apply for the Dixie Youth Scholarship.
“If they have any questions, they can contact their high school guidance counselor,” he said.