The University of Arizona hosted the 2015 Arizona Baseball Alumni Reunion on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Hi Corbett. Approximately 180 alumni and former coaches showed up.
The morning started off around 9 a.m. as everyone gathered for batting practice. Everyone that showed up to play got in their warmup swings for about hour or so. Starting around 10:15, Athletics Director Greg Byrne addressed every alum and thanked them for making it out to Tucson for the event.
Right before first pitch, Byrne and former head coach Andy Lopez came together at home plate as Lopez was awarded with the Bear Down Award. As soon as Lopez and Byrne cleared the field, the two alumni teams took the field.
The red team was managed by Chip Hale, who was on the 1986 National Championship team and is the current Arizona Diamondbacks manager. The blue team was managed by Alan Zinter, who played alongside Chip Hale and is the current hitting coach for the San Diego Padres.
Kurt Heyer took the mound for the red team and picked up right where he left off in 2012. The blue team was able to scatter a few hits across the diamond, but Heyer was able to keep the likes of Kevin Newman and Joe Estes in check.
The red team was led offensively by Scott Kingery, Xavier Borde, James Farris and Eddie Vosberg. Heyer, Konner Wade and Vincent Littleman were also able to get in the action as well and led the red team to a victory.
In between innings, all four national championship teams (1976, 1980, 1986 and 2012) were honored by the voice of the Wildcats, Brian Jeffries. They were all presented with honorary baseballs as they walked onto the field.
At the conclusion of the game, some alum presented their gift to head baseball coach Jay Johnson. The gift was a $10,393 check to the Arizona Baseball program. Following the presentation of the alumni gift, the entire 2016 team and a select group of alumni and former coaches ventured to the concourse underneath the third base bleachers for an hour long autograph session.
While the select group of alumni were signing autographs, the rest of the group made their way towards the coaches offices for the barbecue, where they all got to catch up and remember their times as Wildcats while enjoying some good food.
At about 2:30, the 2016 team took the field for a nine-inning intrasquad game, which was open to the public as well. A few hundred fans stuck around to get a look at this year’s team.
Practice will continue tomorrow in preparation for opening day, which is scheduled for Feb. 19 against Rice in Houston, Texas.
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