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The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

    Alumni game opens baseball season

    The 2014 Lions baseball team kicked off the season with the annual Alumni Game at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field and the First Pitch Banquet. The game took place alternating between players for the current season and returning alumni.
    The friendly competition and banquet were both held on Saturday, Feb. 8. Batting practice began at 10:30 a.m. with the first pitch of the game at noon.
    “It’s fantastic. I think the guys are just excited to play someone besides themselves,” said Head Coach Matt Riser. “We’ve been doing it all fall. It’s been six months of just playing each other. There’s some things we need to work on, but it’s good, a good first time out without the training wheels on.”
    Neither the Lions nor the alumni had a run in the first three innings. In the fourth, the Lions scored two runs, whereas the alumni did not score until their sixth inning at bat.
    “No question Jacob Williams played a phenomenal short stop, defensively, made a really nice play in the first inning, made a nice play late and came in with a big hit late,” said Riser. “He had a 2 RBI to right field to be the decisive run to win the ball game for us. Had some other guys who pitched real well for us. Kyle Keller going on the mound and giving us five innings like he did, shut-out baseball, just keeps the game going with the bat a bit. For him to keep us in the game and not give up any runs was a big part of it for us.”
    At the end of the sixth inning, the two teams’ friendly contest was tied 3-3. At the end of the eighth inning, the Lions’ win was sealed, defeating the alumni players by a score of 5-4. Win or lose, both teams enjoyed their time on the Pat.
    “It’s always a pleasure to come back,” said Trey Martin, who has returned for the alumni game every year since he graduated three years ago. “I call Hammond home away from home. It’s a pleasure, and it’s always good to see the young guys and to come out here and compete against them.”
    “It’s good to play some different people, especially your big brothers from the years past,” said senior third baseman Jesse Buratt. “We’re going to get off to a hot start. It starts with game No. 1. We got to win the first game and then one game at a time after that.”  
    Recently the Lions were picked to finish the season second behind the defending Southland Conference champions, Sam Houston State Bearkats, in a pre-season poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Buratt, sophomore catcher/infielder Jameson Fisher and sophomore pitcher Tate Scioneaux were all awarded pre-season All-Conference honors.  
    “All the glory to God,” said Fisher. “It’s a great feeling just to be a part of this team. I feel like all these guys helped me to get there. I’m looking forward to the next season to try to do it again.”
    On the other hand, Buratt looks forward to challenging the conference poll rankings.  
    “It’s nice to get recognized, but the same people say we’re going to finish second and I plan on finishing first,” said Buratt.
    Riser is prepared to continue practices and hopefully start the season off with some road wins at Louisiana Tech on Feb. 14-16.
    “We’re in game mode now,” said Riser. “Next week we’ll have regular practice all the way up until Thursday when we get on the bus and head up to Ruston. Preparing for LA Tech. It’s the same deal. Hopefully in the next two weeks we’ll get our feet under us a little bit. I think today’s going to be a big part of that, get all that nervous anxiety first-pitch jitters out and allow us to be more successful in the next few weeks.”
    A few hours after the game, Lion fans and family had the opportunity to socialize with the baseball team and alumni for the First Pitch Banquet, where Gary Sandifer was honored by Riser with the Lion for Life Award.  
     

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