Former Canes plan alumni baseball game
by David Royal
Jan 26, 2013 | 1911 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A lot of familiar faces will fill Richard Bell Field when former Cartersville Purple Hurricanes divide up in an alumni baseball game there next month.

Mark Mathison with the Cartersville High School Dugout Club said about 60 former players have agreed to participate in the game, which is set for Saturday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m.

He expects to hear from more former players, too, having contacted about 200 in all about the event.

Coaching the two alumni teams will be former Hurricane coaches Sam Sprewell and Jeff Hogan.

Also, Ronnie Brown, NFL running back and Cartersville High alumnus, will attend and autographs will be available.

The dugout club is urging former players to come back to play in the game or sit in the stands and cheer on former teammates and coaches.

Mathison said the contest is open to the public and admission is $10. Matt Santini and Don Startup will be doing the play-by-play for fans.

Mathison said although the event will be “family friendly,” it also is intended to help the Cartersville baseball program.

“Perfect Game has invited the Cartersville baseball team as one of the top 32 baseball programs in the country to compete in Fort Myers, Fla.,” Mathison said. “They will be going to play over spring break.”

The trip should cost about $25,000, and the dugout club will use game proceeds toward that expense.

Mathison said the alumni game has been well received. “Everyone has been very open to the idea. The response has been incredible.”

Mathison, a 1990 Cartersville graduate, understands that response as an alumnus of the baseball program, playing second and third base.

“Everyone knows how great the program has been under coach Chester,” he said. “They also feel excited about having a way to give back to the program and to coach Chester. They know how he’s supported the community in his years here.

“Also, we have won five state championships in 10 years and that’s never been done.”

Mathison, who owns Slope’s Barbecue in Cartersville, said most of the alumni who will be playing are like himself, a member of the community.

“It’s people like me and you who will be going out there for the fun of the game,” he said. “So far we’ve got commitments from a 1960 graduate, several from the 1966 team all the way up to people who graduated last year.

“We really don’t have athletes. We have people from all walks of life, construction workers, lawyers and everything in between. We are not going to turn anyone away who played for Cartersville baseball.”

Mathison said helping the Canes compete in the Perfect Game event is a way to help the program and also to get former players to reinvest in the team. “I believe the more we get involvement from the community, the more likely we are to have our baseball program keep succeeding.”

He said the game itself is aimed at letting competitors have fun and both teams will not have their own pitchers.

“Coach Chester is in charge of pitching to the teams,” he laughed. “We’re going to make him do it all.”

He said the pitching should give alumni batters a shot at hitting the ball as opposed to having game pitchers intent on getting each batter out.

Other events are scheduled throughout the day for the alumnus and their families.

“We’ll have a cookout for them before the game,” he said. “We want it to be very family friendly. Current players on the baseball team will be doing drills with youths. The alumni players can bring kids, and they’ll have an opportunity to have a lot of fun throughout the day.”

Tickets may be obtained through Slope’s Barbecue or Harry Daniel Insurance.

Mathison may be reached at 404-975-7375 or through email at Checks should be made out to the Cartersville Dugout Club.