Class of 2017 joins Northern Neck Wall of Fame

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi 

The first mother-daughter inductees were among four honored last Saturday during the 18th annual Northern Neck Sports Wall of Fame induction ceremony.

The 2017 class includes Northumberland’s Frederick Ray Rogers Jr., Donald Douglas, Bonnie Swann and her daughter Brooke Swann Spivey.

The only mother and daughter to be in the wall of fame, Swann’s and Spivey’s induction was especially noteworthy since it was occurring in the same year, said committee member and ceremony emcee Sonny Thomas.

Spivey is a 2005 graduate of Northumberland High School, where she lettered in three sports. She excelled in volleyball and softball, earning all-district, all-region and all-state honors in both. The school’s female athlete of the year in 2005, Spivey received a full scholarship to play softball at East Carolina University where she became the first pitcher in the university’s history to record a win in regional competition. Spivey remains in ECU’s softball record books among the top 10 players for appearances, innings pitched in a season, games started, saves, wins, strikeouts and shutouts.

Expecting the birth of her first child any day, Spivey was unable to attend last weekend’s induction but said she thanks her parents “for the constant taxiing to and from practices, games and lessons, the constant encouragement to make me a better person and player and traveling all over the United States to watch me play the game I love.” She added she couldn’t forget her brother Blaine, “who was dragged to tournaments and practices even when he didn’t want to be.”

Spivey’s mother, Bonnie Swann, is also a decorated Northumberland player and coach. A 1980 NHS graduate, she competed in basketball and softball, receiving all-district, all-region and all-state honors in both sports. She became the high school’s varsity volleyball coach in 2004 and coached for 12 years, taking her Lady Indians to the state tournaments every year with one semifinal appearance.

Another Northumberland inductee, Rogers played baseball with the Chesapeake League and led the Reedville team to the championship in 1949 with a .500 batting average.

Most notably, Rogers contributed countless volunteer hours as the co-founder of the Huff & Puff Little League girls softball team, which was arguably one of the most successful teams in the Northern Neck. Huff & Puff won three championships with several undefeated seasons.

At age 60, Rogers came out of retirement to softball again, winning two more titles.

Richmond County’s Douglas was honored as both a baseball and basketball player. He started his sports career in the eighth grade with the Farnham High School baseball team and went on to be a catcher for the high school for four years. He also played high school basketball for four years.

He took his skills to the next level, playing both baseball and basketball at the University of Virginia, where he was named the All-Southern Conference Catcher in 1964.

In addition to honoring the inductees last weekend, the wall of fame committee chose to acknowledge the support of Chesapeake Bank for sponsoring the ceremony and awards for some 17 years. Carroll Lee Ashburn and Thomas presented bank vice president Tom Richardson a plaque of appreciation.

The Northern Neck Sports Wall of Fame is in the Sports Centre, 60 South Main Street, Kilmarnock.