Wednesday night was “Lonnie Loveday Night” in Smithfield. The former Smithfield mayor and retired school teacher was honored by the Smithfield City Council for his long time work as Summer Recreation Director.The council plans to name the baseball field behind the city office building after Loveday who started the innovative “Grasshopper” baseball league for girls and boys, ages six to nine, in 1967. Loveday says so many kids signed up it was like an ant hill out there on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.”When they first started they had a rough time running the bases,” Loveday recalls. “They’d run to third base when they get a hit or run to me or run away to the fence and keep runnin’ when they got a hit. Then when they got three or four games into the league they really become good little ball players.”An overflow crowd turned out to hear a proclamation honoring Loveday read by Mayor Chad Downs. Loveday celebrated his 84th birthday on Sunday. His wife Vernetta, a strong supporter of the recreation program, passed away 19 years ago.
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