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Baseball program hosts alumni game

Teammates congratulate Chad Owen '05 after his homerun.

The Princeton High School baseball program hosted its first-ever alumni game and home run derby. Nearly 20 grads showed up Saturday to face off against the varsity squad.

“Alumni games are very common in the baseball world,” said PHS head baseball coach Leroy Mansanales. “I have been part of my old high school's game back in Odessa and have always wanted to host one. I figured Princeton would have enough recently graduated alumni that would be interested.”

The alumni players ranged anywhere between the Class of 2020 to the Class of 2004, including 2013 grad Layne Tarby.

Colt Collins '16 and Ashton Gatica

“Baseball was always my favorite sport to play growing up and you don’t get many opportunities, if any, to do something like this post high school,” Tarby said. “It was great seeing all the alumni, especially, my old coach, (Rich) Boring. It was also cool meeting the guys who went to Princeton way before I did.”

The alumni enjoyed the game, despite a few challenges.

“It was such a great time,” said ’07 graduate Donald Humenik. “Minus my whole body hurting the next day.”

Watching the alumni was a highlight for the varsity players.

Chris Emerson '05 pitches.

“The players had a blast watching the older men during the homerun derby and taking fungo before the game,” Coach Mansanales said. “It helped the level of excitement to have one of the alumni hit a homerun during the game.”

The alumni players all cleared the dugout to greet their teammate after he went yard.

“The highlight had to be Chad (Owen) hitting one over the fence off one of the varsity pitchers,” said ’07 alumni Brian Beauchamp. “I thought the game was a pretty neat idea, and I had fun playing with a lot of the guys I played with in high school.”

Luke and Layne Tarby exchange the glove between innings.

Tarby enjoyed the alumni homerun, but that was not his favorite moment.

“The highlight of the day for me was being able to share the field with my brother,” said Layne, whose brother is part of this year’s varsity squad. “I got to see him hit a home run, we got to field ground balls together before the game started, and he got to pitch against me. He struck me out ... that was definitely the highlight of his day.”

The alumni joke with baseball volunteer Ron Somers.

The siblings had to exchange the baseball glove between innings, since they had to share it as Layne has long since ended his playing days.

“The highlight was pitching to Layne, and, striking him out,” said junior pitcher and second baseman, Luke Tarby. “But hitting two homeruns in the derby was pretty fun, too.”

Layne Tarby watches 3rd strike cross the plate as Luke strikes him out.

Coach Mansanales wants to use the event as PR.

“I feel that the alumni help to promote the baseball program, as well as connect us to the community,” he said.

There are definite plans to make this an annual event.

Former coach Rich Boring showed up to coach alumni and ended up playing first base and pitching.

“I am planning to make this a bigger event and involve more of the community,” Coach Mansanales said.

And it looks like there won’t be any trouble finding alumni to return to the field again.

“I definitely look forward to playing again next year,” Beauchamp said. “But I'm going to have to be in better shape, because I think a lot of us were all pretty sore afterward. Next year we should get a 10-point head start and Icy Hot stacked in the dugout.”

Alumni and varsity after the game.