The baseball team faces its first opponent of the spring Saturday against more than 40 former Frogs in the annual alumni game.The game gives players a final chance to refine their skills and provides alumni the opportunity to see their old teammates, as well as build a connection with current players, head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
Junior catcher Andrew Walker said the game is competitive but has its lighter moments.
“Coach keeps us competitive, but we get excited for it,” Walker said. “There’s joking and messing around though. It’s real special.”
Flint Wallace, former standout pitcher for the Frogs and current director of baseball operations, said he will take the mound for the alumni despite feeling mixed allegiances.
There are high stakes riding on his performance, Wallace said.
“I probably can’t throw even 80 mph anymore,” Wallace said. “But it’s kind of for bragging rights with the players. If they get out, they’re going to hear about it, and, if they get a hit off me, I’m sure I’ll hear about it all season.”
Wallace’s professional career was spent in the minor leagues and was highlighted by a no-hitter he threw for the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska League in 1995.
Walker said he enjoys playing against some of the teammates he had during his freshman season who now play professionally, such as 2005 Major League Baseball draft picks Lance Broadway and Kyle Dahlberg. Broadway is playing AAA baseball for the Chicago White Sox farm system while Dahlberg is working his way through the Baltimore Orioles organization.
The existing setup does not take into account how long a former player has been away from the game, Schlossnagle said. It places the current Frogs on a team and all the alumni together on another, but Schlossnagle said he looks to change that soon.
“We would eventually like to get to the point of two games,” Schlossnagle said. “We (would) have kind of an old-timers game where it’s alumni versus alumni, and a game with our team versus the young-timers.”
Schlossnagle will coach the Frogs, and the alumni squad will be led by Frank Windegger, former athletic director who was also the head baseball coach and a player.
The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Lupton Stadium.