Alec Allred oversees the Old North State League.
RAMSEUR – Alec Allred is making a career out of baseball and it’s not on the field.
He’s the president of the Old North State League, a summer college circuit that wrapped up what he called a successful season earlier this summer.
“This is my full-time job now, trying to coordinate everything,” Allred said. “It’s a lot that goes into it, but it’s a ton of fun.”
Allred, 27, is from Ramseur and a 2014 graduate of Faith Christian. His family has largely overseen Eastern Randolph Post 81’s program on the American Legion level in recent years.
So finding a role in baseball seemed like a natural pursuit, Allred said. After high school, he had a redshirt year at North Carolina A&T followed by a season at Rockingham Community College and then a couple of seasons with Division III Peace College. Then came time in some independent leagues.
“I’m done playing,” he said. “I held on as long as I could.”
He saw other opportunities, particularly when it came to filling a niche for college-aged players in a wooden bat league. The ONSL began with eight teams and 125 players in 2019, using two fields. One of those was Craven Stadium in Ramseur.
Then during the 2020 pandemic-ravaged season, the ONSL fielded eight teams with bigger rosters and spread out.
“Those other leagues shut down and we were getting guys who had a higher calibre (of experience),” Allred said.
The Ramseur site is no longer used in the ONSL, but the 2022 version of the league had 13 teams with about 400 players. Last Monday, another team was added with a club in Clayton.
Allred, who now lives in Whispering Pines and conducts baseball lessons in the offseason, said he could envision the league growing to 18 teams.
It takes about $40,000 annually to run each team. Players are required to pay to play, but that might tend to create a commitment to stick without throughout the two-month season. Host families help with out-of-area players.
“We’re climbing and slowly getting better players,” Allred said. “My goal is to make it free for players. … You’re always trying to be better and get the league to new heights,”
The venues used by the league are vastly different from city to city. The High Point Hushpuppies play at Truist Point, which is the permanent home of the Atlantic League’s High Point Rockers. High school fields are used in Sanford and Shallotte, while facilities are well past their primes in places such as Reidsville and Swepsonville.
“There’s definitely a big variety of stadiums,” Allred said. “You have some old mill-league fields.”
Rosters generally hold about 30-some players.
Most of the ONSL players come from Division II, Division III or junior colleges – or are about to join teams on those levels. Allred said he has embraced an underdog mentality.
“I do get a little partial to the smaller-school guys,” he said.
Largely, players compete for teams that are local to where they live. About 25 percent of players come from out of the area, Allred said.
The Sandhills Bogeys, who are based in Pinehurst, won the 2022 championship, beating the Hendersonville Honeycrisps in the final.