RWA Dedicates Field to Fallen Eagle

Richard Winn Academy officially dedicated its baseball field in honor of the late Billy Ladd, who passed away Feb. 26. Ladd was a fixture for many years of RWA athletics, particularly Eagles baseball. In a ceremony before last Friday’s game with Fairfield Central, members of the Ladd family gather around home plate for the dedication. From left are: James Sims, Callie Ladd Sims holding Anne Lightcap, Jamie Lightcap, Simon Lightcap, Frances Ladd Lightcap, Lucy Lightcap, Bella Lightcap, Martha Ladd, Meg Ladd holding Sophie Lightcap and William Ladd. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

Richard Winn Academy officially dedicated its baseball field in honor of the late Billy Ladd, who passed away Feb. 26. Ladd was a fixture for many years of RWA athletics, particularly Eagles baseball. In a ceremony before last Friday’s game with Fairfield Central, members of the Ladd family gather around home plate for the dedication. From left are: James Sims, Callie Ladd Sims holding Anne Lightcap, Jamie Lightcap, Simon Lightcap, Frances Ladd Lightcap, Lucy Lightcap, Bella Lightcap, Martha Ladd, Meg Ladd holding Sophie Lightcap and William Ladd. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

WINNSBORO (March 25, 2016) – Prior to the beginning of the Richard Winn versus Fairfield Central crosstown rivalry game Friday, both teams gathered on the diamond to celebrate the dedication of Richard Winn’s baseball field to Billy Ladd.

Ladd, who lost his battle with cancer in February, was a mainstay not only in the Richard Winn community, but in the Winnsboro baseball community as a whole. Griffins head coach Scotty Dean shared his own memories of Ladd.

“I sit and I type up my line-up card, about three or four, and I cut them out, and if anything is wrong with this or that, or the order that you bat in, Billy Ladd was on top of it.

“Great baseball guy,” Dean added. “I have a lot of respect for him, and what he meant to the kids over here is unbelievable. When we had our preseason tournament, and his funeral was on that Monday, I got all the teams up and prayed, and I’m just thankful that I had a chance to share this arena with them.”

Ladd’s ties with Richard Winn ran very deep. He began his own school baseball career in 1971 as a pitcher, catcher and shortstop in the Eagles’ inaugural baseball season.

He was the first captain in Richard Winn’s celebrated baseball history. Once high school was over, Ladd converted his love of baseball to the coaching side of things in what would become a 40-year passion.

“After high school, Billy continued to feed his passion for the sport of baseball. He volunteered on many youth teams including Drawdy Park, and the American Legion team,” Richard Winn Athletic Director Joe Pitt said during the dedication.

Ladd coached his son William Jr.’s 10 and under team to the very first Drawdy park State Championship. Ladd was a part of the Eagles’ coaching staff during the team’s 2007 SCISA state championship run, a team that his son also played for.

“How rewarding it must have been to have this championship experience with your son at two different levels,” Pitt said.

The Eagle family fought alongside Ladd throughout his entire battle with cancer. At the tail-end of the basketball season the ‘Ballin for Billy’ fundraising campaign was launched, and helped raise thousands of dollars to ease the family’s medical expenses.

Additionally, before Ladd passed away he was enshrined in the Richard Winn Hall of Fame. Following Friday’s ceremony, two large “Billy Ladd Field” plaques were placed on both the home and away dugouts.

To cap off the dedication, William Ladd Jr., who was by his dad’s side for two championships, threw out the first pitch.

“It was a special night,” Eagles head coach Al Berry said. “The important thing tonight was to honor coach Ladd, and his family, and to really use that for an inspiration as to how we play the game.”

 

*Editor’s Note: We would be remiss here as we honor the memory of Billy Ladd if we did not offer a special word of thanks for all he did to help The Voice newspaper in its coverage of RWA sports, particularly baseball. A small newspaper simply does not have the manpower to be everywhere at once, and because of the nature of the SCISA scheduling, the Eagles were often playing baseball on deadline nights in places very far from home. But no matter what the hour, Billy Ladd was only a phone call away, ready, willing and eager to go through the book, recounting every detail of a dramatic RWA win or a heartbreaking RWA loss. Without fail. There can be no doubt that without Billy Ladd, our coverage of RWA baseball on many nights would have been far less than it was.

Thank you, Billy. You were One of a Kind, and you shall be missed.