From being a three-year player for Hickory Post 48 to serving as a first-year assistant coach, the American Legion baseball journey has come full circle for Cam Beard.
The former Bunker Hill High and current Catawba College standout hopes to give back to his American Legion program and build experience toward a future in coaching and teaching.
Beard played American Legion baseball for Lake Norman Post 509 in 2008 and for Hickory Post 48 from 2009-11.
Playing shortstop, Beard is thankful for three years as a player for Hickory.
“It just gave everyone in the county a place to come and play for a championship,” he said. “That was the main thing. Once we got everyone in the county here together 4-5 years ago, we went from just playing in the summer to playing for something. (Post 48) coach (Fore) Rembert really got that started.”
Initially wanting to play in a wood bat league in Morganton this summer, Beard changed plans when he had to take an online class at Catawba College.
He and Rembert both discussed the idea of Beard joining Hickory’s coaching staff this summer — an idea Rembert threw out last season.
“(Rembert) had texted me back last summer asking me when I was going to help him coach and that he had a uniform for me,” Beard said. “I just texted him one night and asked him if he still had a uniform for me. He said 'Absolutely' and that practice started May 13. It was a pretty short conversation.”
Beard is majoring in mathematics at Catawba College with a minor in secondary education, hoping one day to become a high school baseball coach.
“Something I’ve always wanted to do is get into teaching and coaching.,” Beard said. “Coaching this summer just really provided a lot of opportunity to get my feet wet, get started and see how things go. Everything from mowing and taking care of the field to writing out the line up to the coaches meeting before the game at home plate. I've been able to do all of that as a guy going into my senior year of college. It's an opportunity I'm thankful for, and it is all because of coach Rembert.”
Rembert is appreciative of what Beard has done as a coach in his program.
“He has been a Godsend to us,” Rembert said. “Not only does he do a lot of work behind the scenes, but he is also that stable force. He's been coaching third base for us for three weeks now. He does a good job with that. That allows me and (assistant coach) Robbie (Abernethy) to stay and talk with the kids before they hit. Knowing that Cam and (assistant coach) Caleb (Carpenter) can take care of the bases takes a tremendous amount of heat off of us.”
Beard was a member of the Hickory Post 48 squad that went to the North Carolina American Legion State Tournament in Morehead City in 2011.
Beard sees similarities between his team two years ago and this year’s Post 48 playoff squad.
“We both hit the ball really well,” Beard said. “Both have really good pitching. Consistency is one of the main things, especially in baseball. It's a long season in Legion. I think both of those teams have stayed consistent throughout.”
Every member of Post 48’s coaching staff had involvement in the program’s state appearance two years ago.
All four, including Beard, could participate again if the team continues its run in the Area IV playoffs.
“Caleb was a first year coach when we went back in 2011,” Rembert said. “Cam was player on that team. So three of the four coaches will have been to the state championship here in the past two years. Robbie was down there. He just wasn't full time like he is now. We've all be there. Robbie and I were together at Maiden in 1999 when we won a state championship. The experience as far as championships goes, all of our assistant coaches have been in a championship-type setting either as a player or coach. As a player and a coach, Cam might have the chance to do them both.”