The San José State University baseball team and Spartan Baseball alumni convened at Blethen Field Saturday afternoon to play the 2015 Alumni Game in front of dozens of family and friends.
Postgame festivities included a reception and barbecue inside the Gold Room of the Simpkins Stadium Center.
“The great thing is the turnout,” said head coach Dave Nakama. “Based on the comments from the alumni, they’re excited about being able to see guys they played with. For most of the guys it’s the only time they see each other during the year, so this was a great event today.
"I told our team to pay attention to the other dugout because there’s a lot of history in that dugout, a lot of guys that have done a lot of good things to make things nice for them. I think it’s always good to get in touch with the history of the program and I hope these kids will realize what this program is all about.”
Scott Hertler, a former player and coach for the Spartans, and Gary Cunningham, a San José State Sports Hall of Famer, coached the alumni team.
Spartans alumni either participating in the game included Mike Aldrete, Ryan Angel, John Austin, Kyle Bellows, David Berner, Anthony Bona, Craig Broussard, Matt Carrol Joey Chavez, Kelly Coan, Andy Coan, Matt Durkin, John Fagan, Dan Fitch, Kevin Frandsen, Kyle Gallegos, Donato Giovanatto, Andy Hennessey, Craig Hertler, Huck Hibberd, Mike Hymes, Steve Jones, Zack Jones, Eric LeBaron, Matt Lopez, Blake McFarland, Johnny Melero, Wes Porter, Mike Reiling, David Wayne Russo, Justin Santich-Hughes, Nick Schulz, Ryan Shopshire, DJ Slaton, Matt Stone, Jacob Valdez, Steven Vidal, Matt Winton and Brian Yocke.
“It’s always fun. The bigger turnouts over the last few years shows the appreciation for the program, and that’s all you can hope for to continue,” said Frandsen, a 2014 inductee into the San José State Sports Hall of Fame and a current member of the Washington Nationals. “The last few years we’ve had more and more pro guys, and the more they come out the better it is for the current team to be able to witness and play with.”
Before the game, the family of Jack Adams was on hand to receive his jersey from Nakama. Adams, a former right-handed pitcher at San José State, passed away this week at the age of 28. A letterwinner in 2008 and 2009, Adams recorded a 7-3 career record in 40 appearances for the Spartans.
“I think it’s great to see them out here. It’s a difficult time because Jack was supposed to be here today, so it’s bittersweet,” said assistant coach Tom Kunis, who also assisted on Sam Piraro’s staff during Adams’ time at San José State. “There’s no better environment that you want to be in if you’re baseball people, which the Adams family are.
"Jack’s spirit was here and his parents were here, and it turned out to be a tremendous day because of that. We had a lot of 2009 players here that played with Jack and were part of the same WAC Championship team, so that was big. It puts the icing on the cake of this great event, and Jack will always be a part of it.”