Ballantyne Magazine


Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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A hatless Wood and his Ardrey Kell teammates were jubilant when the baseball team won the 4A state title in 2009. Thirty years earlier, Alex's parents, Richard and Carol, had become engaged on that date, Oct. 28. It was also the birthday of Wood's fiancée (now wife), Suzanna, who turned 29. It was also the eighth anniversary of a scooter accident that paralyzed Wood's close friend and former University of Georgia teammate, Chance Veazey. Wood and Dodger teammate Kyle Farmer, also a former Georgia player, both have "Second Chance" tattoos in honor of Veazey. "It had God's hand all over it … and we were all there," Richard says of Game 4 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Setting a Dodger Record Wood, an imposing left-hander at 6 feet 4 inches tall, didn't relinquish a hit to the Astros for 5 1/3 innings — the longest hitless streak ever pitched by a Dodger in postseason play. That says a lot given the Dodgers' storied history and franchise longevity (134 years in 2018). In Game 7, to decide the champion, Wood came in as a reliever and largely shut down the Astros in the last two innings as the Dodgers tried to rally for the win. Though they fell short in a 5-1 loss, Wood did his part — giving up no hits, no walks and striking out three. "It stunk how it ended; you work your whole life for this and we couldn't finish it, but it was really incredible, so surreal," says Wood, 27. "We had the best two teams in baseball and played some of the best games ever in the World Series. To be a part of that is truly a lot of fun." Ardrey Kell baseball coach Hal Bagwell told Wood before the series about retiring his No. 24 high-school number (he's No. 57 with the Dodgers). The school plans to honor him at a basketball game in December. "He was speechless," Bagwell recalls. That's because Wood gained so much as a player from his time at Ardrey Kell. In the first class to graduate from the Ballantyne school, he arrived there as a junior after spending his first two years at Providence High. "To this day, I can't put into words how thankful I am to Coach (Danny) Hignite at Providence and Coach Bagwell at Ardrey Kell," Wood says. "They are two of the best coaches I've ever had. They run their practices like a college program … It helps your baseball IQ." Both Ardrey Kell and Providence are known for their baseball teams, and Wood helped put Ardrey Kell's on the map. The Knights reached the 4 A state championship series both his years at the school, winning the title in 2009, his senior season. Key Hits in State Final Surprisingly, Wood didn't even throw a pitch when the Knights beat Raleigh's Sanderson High 2-0 for the state title in the best-of-three series. After tearing an elbow ligament in the regional final, Wood excelled in a role unusual for a pitcher — designated hitter. A strong batter for the Knights all season, Wood had "several key hits" in the state series, Bagwell says. That, coupled with his 10-2 pitching record BALLANTYNE SPRING 2018 40 Feature Photo by Carol Wood

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