Baseball families "turn two" for Newsom

As the Red Devils warm up for their game against Central, it's a beautiful day for baseball in Halls. The sun is shining, the grill is sizzling, and you can smell the oiled leather in the air.But just before first pitch, someone tosses a box of tissues on the counter of the concession stand. Before the umpire can yell "play ball", the Red Devils have three players they'd like to remember."It makes you feel good, and I wear dark glasses a lot," Hugh Newsom, Chris Newsom's father said. "I can cheat with that."Chris Newsom grew up on the diamonds of Halls. Eventually, he was an outfielder and pitcher for the Red Devils in high school. Monday, along with Hugh's son, the team honors two other former Red Devils. Josh Ellis and Teddy Williams both died young in car crashes."It makes you think about living today. What's going to happen tomorrow? It's just a tragedy it happened to such good young men," Coach Doug Polston said.Almost immediately following the first pitch of the Halls-Central game, just across town, a younger batch of ballplayers watched Hugh Newsom toss out the first pitch in a tournament dedicated to his son's memory."That's the first time I've thrown a baseball in years. I should have practiced a little more this afternoon," he said. "It brought back a tremendous amount of memories and they were good memories."Nearly 50 teams are registered to play in the youth tournament. All money is slated to go to the Newsom family, but they plan to give it right back to the organizers to invest in the youth baseball program however they see fit."He lived every minute," Newsom said. "He lived sometimes 23 hours out of 24."Hugh Newsom carries an envelope with pictures of Chris as a youngster. In his little league uniform, glove in hand, smile on his face: these are the images they associate with their son.It's almost as if the Mary and Hugh Newsom can see a little bit of their son in the faces of the children running the bases in the tournament.It's that smile that links baseball present to past in Halls, and how the Newsoms would like East Tennesseans to remember their son, #14."He gave us a lot of good memories. We'll never forget him. If I could go back for one week, I'd give everything I have," Newsom said.


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