Little League fields renamed in honor of trio

SUMMIT POINT – The opening day of this year’s Summit Point youth baseball season was marked by a poignant remembrance.

“I would like to start today’s event by recognizing members of our Summit Point family no longer with us,” said League President Jeff Bayliss.

Officials from the Summit Point Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth youth baseball and softball leagues offer prayers for the families of Chris Saunders, Phil Turner and Ernest Rudolph.

Three baseball diamonds used by Summit Point baseball teams were dedicated to a former player and two volunteers who died in the past year. All three had dedicated much of their lives to the advancement of baseball here.

One field was dedicated to Chris Sanders, killed at 19 in a June automobile accident. Sanders had played Little League in Summit Point before going on to compete for both Jefferson and Washington high schools.

Bayliss described him as “just a young man with all his life in front of him and all of his hopes and dreams. He stood out in front of everybody on opening days like today.”

A second field was dedicated to Phil Turner, who passed away in July at 52. Turner had volunteered as an umpire for many years in Summit Point as well as in surrounding communities.

“(He) was a coach. He was an umpire, an instrumental part of the officiating of games at all levels here at Summit Point,” Bayliss said.

The third field was dedicated to Ernest Rudolph, who died last month at 73. Rudolph was the founder of youth baseball in Summit Point.

“He was the foundation of our league. If it wasn’t for his love of the game and taking on the request in 1963, ‘Can you teach us the game of baseball?’ we would be in a park somewhere else instead of carrying on this great league that he started,” Bayliss said.

“While all three were from different eras within life, they all shared one common love: baseball: Summit Point baseball.”

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