Years later after a professional career in the minors with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the only thing Bullard now swings is a golf club with many trips to the World Drive championships under his belt. Yet his love of baseball still lives on with his son, Rome High catcher Connor Bullard.

And though his son isn’t wearing the Red and Black of Cedartown like his father, he still sports No. 23 and plays the same position, continuing the family tradition.

It was a rare opportunity for Kevin Bullard to come back to his hometown last week and watch his son play his alma mater in a preseason scrimmage between the Wolves and Bulldogs.

“So 23 years ago I was the catcher here, and 23 years later he wears the No. 23 and playing the same position,” the elder Bullard said. “We’ve gotten a lot of the same honors — all-region, all-area and all-state honors — and 23 years later my oldest son is doing the exact same thing. He’s not in the same uniform, but for his senior year starting in the exact same spot, it feels cool.”

The father and son also have another thread in common — they both have had the same hitting instructor, Rome’s Charles Culberson.

Kevin Bullard said he worked in Culberson’s first hitting facility in West Rome growing up to earn enough to take lessons with the former Giants minor leaguer. Fast forward 23 years and Culberson is Connor Bullard’s hitting coach as well.

Though Cedartown took an early lead, Rome got the best of their neighbors in the 11-6 win that won’t count on the books, but definitely counts for the proud dad.

Connor Bullard finished his day with his dad and grandfather Rich Bullard — a former Bulldog pitcher — watching as he went 1-for-2 at his appearances at the plate with a stand-up double in the first inning and threw out two runners stealing.

His dad hopes he follows in the family footsteps of getting to play professional baseball too. Bullard is already on his way after he accepted an offer last week to play for the University of West Georgia after graduation.

“He’s excited that he gets to go off and play college ball,” he said. “He’s just a blessing of a kid to have.”

Rome opened the regular season on Thursday, losing 6-1 on the road at South Paulding. They are scheduled to play their home opener next Friday, Feb. 22, at Legion Field against Marietta.

Rome Sports Editor Jeremy Stewart contributed to this report.

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