Alumni to return for baseball kick-off

The Southeastern baseball team will be facing off against former players in the annual Alumni Game. The game will be Saturday, Feb. 7, on the Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field, with batting practice starting at 10:30 a.m. and first pitch at 12:00 p.m. Admission will be free.

The Alumni Game allows the current players to hear words of wisdom from previous players who have been through the fire, who have played games and who know what it is like to win championships, through hard work.

The game allows [the alumni] to share their stories with the boys and encourage them for their upcoming season.

The Alumni Game has been a tradition at Southeastern for many years, despite being temporarily banned by the NCAA, only to resume again four years ago.

“We are very thankful to the NCAA for allowing us to continue the Alumni Game,” said head coach Matt Riser.

Southeastern’s baseball team currently holds the title of Southland Conference Champions, and the players plan to repeat that accomplishment again this season.

“Our hopes are the skies; we are shooting for the stars. Last year we won the championship and that was our goal that we set forth to accomplish every day. We want to repeat that but our hopes are beyond the ring [this season],” said senior Kevin Carr.

The first game of their official season will be Feb. 13. The Lions will unite against Louisiana Tech on the Pat Kenelly Diamond.

“It’s our last season, my last chance to do something special at Southeastern, and I’m looking forward to going out with all my brothers and doing it again,” said senior Kyle Keller.

For the Alumni Game, any competition is fun, and the players look forward to seeing the previous players come back. They can still throw, they can still play, and they offer a great challenge for the current team to play someone other than themselves. 

“[The alumni] have always been a big part of our identity and the boys want to make them proud.” said Riser.

The alumni game also gives players the chance to see friends who have graduated; among the alumni attending this game will be Brock Hebert, Stefan Lopez and Wade Miley who will be an honorary coach for the team.

“Some of those guys want one last hoorah at it and their girlfriends or their parents will come and want to poke fun, let them know they’re watching them for any mistakes,” said Riser.

Unlike the Alumni Game, tickets for the First Pitch banquet costs $50 and begins at 7 p.m. The banquet following the game will be held in the third floor ballroom at War Memorial Student Union. 

The First Pitch banquet has been running for over eight years. Throughout the night head coach Riser will present the Lion for Life Award, given to an alumnus who has been recognized for their continued involvement with the baseball program.

Seniors Carr and Keller will also be speaking. Riser selected both for the occasion.

Riser saw great development in Keller over the last few years.

“Kyle has been here for four years and has really matured from his freshman to senior year,” said Riser. “I thought it was really important for Kyle to get to speak; it would be special for him to have his family from New Orleans come and hear him speak about his time here and the program.”

When speaking of Carr, Riser praised his maturity on and off the baseball diamond.

“Kevin is very mature,” said Riser. “He is one of our team captains on the field and off the field. I think a lot of people respect him; he’s a guy from far off and I think it shows that guys nearby can play here and guys far off can play here; it kind of becomes a second home for them.”

Both players would like to continue playing baseball as long as the opportunity grants them to as well as continue their education. Kevin plans to get his masters degree in communication after graduation and Kyle will pursue a degree in law school.

Alumni and their families will attend the banquet as well. It allows them the opportunity to hear the seniors speak about their time here and reminisce on their own.

“This is one date I will definitely put down to make a trip back down here, suit up, play my boys again and bring back some of the good memories,” said Carr.