PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College baseball team welcomed back 22 former Hawks to campus on Sunday afternoon for an alumni baseball game.
The festivities kicked off at 11 AM as former players reunited with old teammates, warmed up, and took batting practice on the baseball field. Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events Fredia Martin was on hand to give the alumni t-shirts and Harper College alumni license plates.
Just before noon, Harper College President Dr. Kenneth Ender thanked the alumni for coming out and imparted his wisdom to the current team.
"This may be the best time of your life, but this is not life," Ender said.
Donning a Harper baseball jacket, Ender threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the game that pitted alumni teams captained by Paul Dineen and Bill Smith against each other. Both teams took a unique approach to the batting order, making the lineup oldest to youngest in descending order.
After Smith's squad took an early lead, Dineen's bunch came out swinging, hitting gaps left and right. George Heller, who played for the Hawks in 2009 and 2010, went 4-for-4 in the contest.
During the game, current players manned the grill, grilling up ribs, hot dogs, sausage and brats to complement the soda, chips and dessert.
Dineen's squad emerged with a 7-3 victory over Smith's team. After the game, Harper head coach Cliff Brown gathered the past and present players together at home plate, and former players gave advice and shared their experiences with the new team.
"Harper gave me the chance to further my baseball career and go on to play at a four-year university," said Tim Lazzarotto, who played for the Hawks in 1984 and 1985 and has coached baseball at the high school level for 25 years. "Through baseball, I was able to learn how to achieve something and carry it on to my career as an educator. Hard work and dedication can help you do anything you want in life."