Alton High School Alumni Baseball Game To Be Played At Lloyd Hopkins Field For First Time Ever
ALTON - For the first time ever, the much-anticipated Alton High School Alumni Baseball game will be held at Lloyd Hopkins Field. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 18.
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The game's first three go-arounds were held at AHS. This will be the fourth game in five years since 2020's contest had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2003 alum Joe Roderick says that the guys are super excited to play under the lights on their former field. He mentioned that most of these players have only played at Hopkins since the baseball facility at the high school hasn't been around for a long time.
"Everybody wanted to have the game out at Hopkins," Roderick said. "It's going to be so much fun to be out there."
"Many of these older guys that have played, this wasn't here," current Alton High baseball coach Scott Harper said about the new AHS facility. "So, Hopkins Field was their place."
Joe would like to thank the Alton River Dragons for allowing them to use the newly turfed field. Roderick mentioned that the alumni never asked them, but it was the River Dragons who reached out and offered to host the game last year.
He said he would also like to thank Mungenast Alton Toyota for sponsoring the uniforms and MVP award for the game.
Roderick is the one who has put months into the preparation and organizing of this event and he mentioned that at one point he had 45 guys committed to playing in the game.
"He's continued to do a great job and oversee it," Harper said about Roderick.
Joe told a funny story about a certain un-named alum who's willing to leave his brother's wedding for a bit and come back if it meant he could play a few innings.
"It lets those guys come back, reminisce, and hang out with some of their former teammates," Harper said. "It's been a really nice event."
"It's really neat for me because a lot of the guys I've coached at some point in time and then there are even some older guys that were already gone before I even started coaching," Harper added.
Harper is one of the four coaches on the even-years team along with Brett Huff, Ben Dell, and Butch Chapman. They will be managed by Larry Nickel.
Chapman was a longtime Legion coach for Alton Post 126 and is currently an assistant coach for the River Dragons. He's also in the Alton High Hall of Fame. He coached many of these players in the summer while Harper had them in the spring.
Roderick played his Legion ball in Wood River, so he never got to play for Butch. He did get to play for a coach on the odd-years team.
Joe played for Mike Bellm who is now the AHS principal. The other coach for the odd-years team is John Ducey.
Joe is currently 0-3 in these alumni games and really wants to get that record turned around.
"The first year was two innings, so we never had the chance to get going and the second year just got away from us," he said.
in the 2019 game, Joe was unable to play as he was recovering from recent knee surgery. He's recovered now and is ready to get back at it.
"Last year was a fun competitive game. The game flew by," he added.
Finally, Joe mentioned that these games generally bring out a decent-sized crowd. He expects more people than ever since it'll be on a Saturday night under the lights at Hopkins.
"We get a lot of family and friends for the most part," Roderick said. "Just people that have friends out there. It's a big thing."
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