The grey, overcast day did not make it the best day for a baseball game, but it did not stop 33 alumni, including all-time winningest coach Lance Brown from coming back to play the 2013 squad in the annual alumni game.
The game gives fans a preview of the current team in a game-like atmosphere while allowing them to also see former Frogs in action again. The alumni included new additions such as right-handed pitcher Kaleb Merck, catcher Josh Elander and outfielders Kyle Von Tungeln and Jason Coats.
Coats said even though it is a fun game for the returning players, they still want to be competitive. He said while it is strange being on the alumni side after spending four years in the current team’s dugout, it is a good time on the alumni side.
“All of us have kind of gone our separate ways, but when we get back here, it’s good to see everybody. And it’s just like we’ve been playing with each other for the longest time,” he said. “It just feels good to get back with everybody.”
Junior Trevor Seidenberger took the mound for the current Frogs and had a three-up-three-down inning. Seidenberger went three innings, allowing five hits and three runs. He struck out three.
Greg Holle started for the alumni, pitching two innings and facing six batters while giving up one hit and hitting two. Kyle Winkler and Erik Miller saw pitching time for the alumni as well.
The alumni got out to a three-run lead after the third inning. Jerome Pena started the offensive inning with a single, which Hunt Woodruff followed with a single of his own. Pena then stole third and scored when Von Tungeln hit a single. Taylor Featherston recorded a double and Von Tungeln scored on the error to make it 3-0.
The Frogs were able to tie up the game in the fourth inning. Junior Brett Johnson started the rally with a single up the middle, then he stole second before reaching third on a walk to sophomore Jerrick Suiter. A wild pitch from Miller allowed Johnson to come home to make it a 3-1 game. Two more walks loaded the bases before junior Kevin Daniels stepped up to get another walk and make the score 3-2. Sophomore Derek Odell then came up to hit a fielder’s choice, bringing the game to a 3-3 tie.
The alumni took back the lead in the seventh inning after a pair of doubles to left from Aaron Schultz and Matt Vern, making it 4-3.
The current team answered in the eighth with four runs. Johnson drew a walk to start the bottom of the eighth and reached second on an overthrown pick-off attempt. Two more walks loaded the bases, bringing up freshman Boomer White who hit a fielder’s choice and Johnson beat out the throw home to tie the game. A wild pitch and a balk brought in two more runs to give the Frogs a two-run lead.
The final score of the game was 7-4 with the current Frogs taking the win.
Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said one of the best parts of his job is building relationships with his players over the years. He added that having the alumni back is beneficial for the current players because they get to see the legacy of the program through the alumni.
“I love to watch the faces of our players when those kind of guys are taking batting practice,” he said. “They’re wide-eyed almost like they’re watching a major league player.”
He said it can be tough to remain focused on the game when some of his current players have played with the alumni.
“You try and get locked in and be competitive and really zone-in like you would in a real game, but the catcher’s talking trash to the hitter while he’s trying to hit,” he said. “[And] the pitcher’s laughing.”
It is as close to a real game experience as the team will have before starting the season.
“It’s a good dress rehearsal,” he said.