Alf Snyder Field was packed in the stands last Sunday as the Trinity Lutheran baseball team hosted the inaugural Celebrity Softball Game.
Members of both the Cougars baseball and softball teams were in attendance as the baseball team supported the Gold Team and the softball team supported the Blue Team.
The idea stemmed from Alicia Froedge, mom of Trinity baseball senior Levi Froedge, who got an email from the Indianapolis Indians that had a similar setup.
“I thought, ‘Why can’t we do that here? That sounds doable,’” she said.
She pitched it to head coach Ben Kleber, who was on board from the jump. They invited people from around the county, myself included, to participate in the game.
They teamed up with The Arc of Jackson County and READ Jackson County to be present at the game so the Cougars could help raise money for both charities.
Froedge said they planned to make $200 donations to both organizations.
“Our main goal was to have something to give back to the community that had to do with kids,” she said. “These were the two that popped up.”
The atmosphere throughout the day was energetic and fun. Music was playing throughout the game, and Herb Gross was recapping all of the action taking place.
The game went 12 innings with the Blue Team beating the Gold Team 9-8.
Playing on the Blue Team were Solomon Rust, Denver Shelley, Bobby Tabeling, Darrin Keith, Kevin Coomler, Dylan Wallace (me), Noah Voelker, Logan Hill, Buck Kleffman, Shawn Busby, Pastor Will Fredstrom, Cameron Hensley and Doug Baker.
Playing on the Gold Team were Marty Stuckwisch, Clayton Darlage, Pastor Matt Jung, Tyler Goodpaster, Bradley Tabeling, Dan Robison, Jacob Schult, Drew Storey, Dustin Steward, Andrew Murphy, Jack Marksberry, Tyler Goecker and Jacob Stout.
Shoutout to Darrin Keith for going the distance on the mound for us, and the rest of the team really stepped up to rally for the win.
I had a decent game, including an RBI infield single. All love to the Munoz brothers who umpired the game, but I was definitely safe on first and second base, and thanks to the softball team for arguing my case for me.
We were doubted, but the scoreboard doesn’t lie.
Athletic Director Jason Roeder coached the Blue Team, while Kleber coached the Gold Team. Roeder got to throw some pie in Kleber’s face after the game, as well.
“The turnout was great, beautiful day, and this is going to be an annual thing, so this was the inaugural and we’re going to try to make it bigger next year,” Roeder said. “We’ve got alumni here, not even family of the players, just people coming to support it. Giving to two good charities and having a fun time today.”
Roeder couldn’t escape a face of pie, though, as Sage Broughton snuck up behind him and threw the pie in his face.
“It could not have been better,” Froedge said. “It was a fun atmosphere day, and that’s what I wanted. I wanted the boys to come out and have a relaxed day. This was a fun thing before sectional to get them hyped up.”
The Cougars play in the sectional later tonight at Shawe Memorial as they take on New Washington at 7 p.m.
Everyone deemed the inaugural Celebrity Softball Game a success, and they are looking to build on this for the years to come.
“Coach Kleber said that he would like to turn it into more of an alumni weekend, so have four teams play a doubleheader,” Roeder said.
“We’ve all got our minds rolling for next year,” Froedge said. “A dunk tank has been discussed.”
A good chunk of the community came out to watch the game and make donations, and Froedge said some people living nearby didn’t even know it was going on, but they saw people gathering at the baseball field and decided to come by.
It was a good example of the family atmosphere within Trinity Lutheran.
“Trinity is so special,” Froedge said. “It absolutely represents family. That’s what we are.”