In the alumni baseball game on February 8, the alumni team took the victory over the varsity team with a score of 12-7.
Over 40 alumni made an appearance. There were a few special guests like Chris Murphy who was named the 2016 all league, all city, and all state player when he played for the school. He had a record of 118 strikeouts in 67 innings.
Also there was Gary Matthews Jr., an outfielder for the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets. Matthews is known for his jumping skills, and was titled the 2006 All-Star.
Darryl Stroh, who the field is named after, was the coach who won the 1987 Championship with five city titles in baseball. Before the game started, Stroh was gifted a framed baseball jersey with the number 20 on the back to represent the Alumni Baseball Game of 2020.
The game started slow with a score of 0-0 in the first four innings as both the varsity and alumni teams burned through their lineups. What the audience loved most about the game was the nostalgia. Ben Garfinkel, from Class of ‘19 and older brother of current player senior Brandon Garfinkel, participated to play against his former teammates. It also inspired a rivalry that was intense but still wrapped with playful emotion.
The aroma of tasty burgers floated towards the bleachers, hanging over the heads of parents watching the game and parents writing numbers down at the silent auction table where participants bid on gloves, baseballs, and jerseys.
Eventually the tempo sped up when both alumni and varsity had runs to tally, but everyone forgot about the score when Greg Garfinkel, alum and father of both Ben and Brandon Garfinkel, pitched to his son Brandon Garfinkel at the bottom of the sixth inning. Brandon Garfinkel swung to hit a pop-fly and made it to first base.
The number of innings left ran low and varsity’s dugout roared to life with the chant, “We want Weinberg!” Drew Weinberg, also Class of ‘19 and former pitcher for the Highlanders, ran towards the mound with his glove in hand to growing cheers from the stands.
At the bottom of the eighth inning, the score read 7-7, and senior Jake Gustafson stepped up to the plate with two runners on base. He swung and sent the ball flying off the field, bringing himself and two runners home.
The varsity team put up a good fight, but lost to the alumni. But there was no sadness or disappointment. Highlanders and former Highlanders slapped each other on their backs and went in for hugs.