The baseball cap was on the folding chair, on a sidewalk looking down on left field at the Myers Park High School baseball field.
The man who usually occupied that chair – and for whom the baseball field and the tournament being played there was named – was missing.
But the memory of Jack Sink was everywhere Monday on the opening day of the 31st annual Jack Sink Easter Invitational.
“We thought it was fitting to bring dad’s chair and his hat here, to where he always sat,” said Brenda Smith, one of four children of Sink, who guided Myers Park High to more than 300 victories in 32 seasons as baseball coach.
Sink, 87, died Saturday.
Officials of the tournament, which will be played through Wednesday at Myers Park and East Mecklenburg high schools, dedicated a moment of silence to Sink before Monday night’s final game, between Myers Park and Charlotte Christian. A bouquet of flowers was placed behind home plate in Sink’s memory.
Sink retired as coach in 1986, but he remained close to the school and the baseball program. First-year Mustangs’ coach Trey Ramsey said he found several letters from Sink to former coaches in the desk in his office.
“Dad would send a letter every June to each graduating senior baseball player,” said Jack Sink, the coach’s son and a former Myers Park High player (Class of ’77).
Carol Tucker, another of Sink’s daughters, said the family had planned for their father to return to the tournament again this year. “But his health really faded in the last week,” she said. “He wanted to be here. Until last year, he never missed a home game.”
At Myers Park, Sink coached the Mustangs to the 4A state title in 1970 and to three conference championships and four co-championships. He also coached American Legion baseball, with his teams winning two state titles. Sink helped organize the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association and was its first president.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Lenoir-Rhyne, his college alma mater, in 2006 and into the N.C. Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame four years later.
Sink’s children – daughters Brenda, Cathy and Carol and son Jack – said they plan to attend the tournament all week. Sink’s son-in-law Brick Smith (Providence Day) and grandson Logan Smith (Country Day) are assistant coaches of teams in the tournament.
Sink’s funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Christ Lutheran Church, 4519 Providence Road, Charlotte.
Jack Sink Invitational
Hickory Ridge 7, Covenant Day 3: In the opener at Myers Park, sophomore Jeremiah Boyd had three singles and drove in two runs for the Ragin’ Bulls.
Lake Norman Charter 12, Charlotte Latin 6: Mark Murphy staked Latin to an early 4-1 lead with a three-run homer in the third, but the Knights rallied with 11 runs in the top of the seventh. Daniel Alperi hit a two-run double in the big inning, and Jake Bennett and Josh Queen added RBI singles.
Charlotte Catholic 16, North Mecklenburg 0: In the opener at East Mecklenburg, the Cougars scored 13 runs in the third inning, and pitcher Aaron Mitchell tossed a one-hitter.
Hopewell 14, East Mecklenburg 4: The Titans ran their record to 7-4 with a victory over the Eagles in the second game at East Mecklenburg.
Providence Day 2, Mallard Creek 0: George Carroll pitched a three-hitter for the Chargers and Ryan Burgoyne had an RBI single. Tyler Delos allowed only four hits for Mallard Creek.
Smoothie King Classic
Ardrey Kell 8, Butler 1: Alex Featherstone, A.J. Ray and McKinnon Garner had RBI hits in a four-run fourth inning as the Knights (8-4) downed the Bulldogs (10-2).
Marvin Ridge 1, Providence 0: Jack Kuchmaner bested Zack Brown in a pitching duel. Stephen Polacek’s RBI seventh-inning single lifted the Mavericks (9-2) in a game between two of the state’s powers. It was Providence’s first loss in 12 games this season.
Hough 7, South Mecklenburg 1: Bailey Dees hit a three-run homer for the victors.
Watauga 3, Weddington 2: The Pioneers erased a 2-1 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning, then held off a Weddington threat in the seventh.