STORY BY CORIE LYNN
As Homecoming week drew to a close, current and former Fort Hays State students gathered at Lewis Field for the Saturday night football game. However, football wasn’t the only team with a game on September 29: earlier that afternoon, the FHSU baseball team faced off against the Tiger alumni team at Larks Park.
For this Homecoming event, former members of FHSU baseball came together for the yearly reunion game. Many of the players came to Hays from other parts of Kansas in order to participate; several even brought their families.
That afternoon, alumni lined the dugout at Larks Park to enjoy the game and time with each other.
“[My favorite part of coming to the alumni game is] seeing all the guys, seeing all the returnees, seeing all the guys that played here, and meeting the guys I didn’t know before. It brings us all back together as a big Tiger family,” said alumni Dave Nehls.
Nehls was a shortstop for the Fort Hays baseball team during the 1985 and 1986 seasons and has attended alumni games in the past.
Brian Moore, a pitcher for Fort Hays during 1996 and 1997, also attended previous alumni games. Like Nehls, what he enjoyed most was spending time with the other players, new and old.
“[My favorite part is] just seeing guys you used to play with and playing against the new guys,” said Moore, “It’s a lot of fun.”
In fact, the community the players experienced during the reunion game is what many of the alumni look forward to most when it rolls around each year.
Many of the alumni don’t play baseball anymore, but participate in this yearly event. One such alumnus is Greg Bieker, who played right field at Fort Hays from 2005 to 2009.
When asked what his favorite memory from his time playing baseball for the Tigers, he reflected on the time he spent with his teammates.
“I think a lot of it is just spending time with the guys, and just enjoying the time on the field and really just the teammates,” he said, “Baseball comes second behind the memories you make with the guys.”
The reunion game concluded with the current Tiger baseball team beating the alumni 12-6. The day, however, wasn’t for wins or losses; for alumni like Nehls, Moore, and Bieker, it was for reconnecting with old teammates and getting to know new ones.