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At UHV softball alumni game, hijinks and fun

By jhornberg
Oct. 7, 2012 at 5:07 a.m.
Updated Oct. 8, 2012 at 5:08 a.m.

Former UHV pitcher Baylea Wagener got the start for the alumni team during UHV's annual Alumni Softball Game at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex on Sunday.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW

Here is where the members of the alumni team are and what they are doing now:

• Kristen Lindley, Houston, CPA and tax accountant

• Lauren Johns, Manvel, middle school teacher in Pasadena ISD

• Jessica Walker, I&E document control at Ventech Engineers

• Arby Vest, La Porte, JV softball coach and English teacher

• Allison Hinton, Matagorda, professional fisherman

• Kellie King, Victoria, UHV softball team helper and student

• Emily Bergstrom, El Campo, student and medical school applicant

• Courtney Tummins (Pettit), junior high teacher

• Bre'Neka "Shorty" O'Bryant, Huntsville, elementary school P.E. teacher

• Kori Kocian, Needville, student

• Lindsey Ferguson, Victoria, UHV assistant softball coach

• Amber Scott, Santa Fe, varsity softball coach at Hitchcock and first grade teacher

• Kayla Lindemann, student

• Baylea Wagener, Corpus Christi service coordinator for MHMR

• Jesse Salas

Kristen Lindley was playing one of those rare positions during the first inning that doesn't usually show up in a softball game - the rover spot between second base and shortstop.

She wasn't alone.

Bre'Neka "Shorty" O'Bryant, normally an outfielder, played shortstop for the alumni team for part of the game.

Junior catcher Kristina Droz got to pitch to a batter for the Jaguars.

Even the umpire was a jury-rigged affair, with the father of former pitcher Emily Bergstrom, Rusty, serving as field and home plate umpire.

During the second annual UHV softball alumni game, held at the Jaguars new home at the Championship Field at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex, everyone was out there having fun and trying different things. Sunday's game was the kind of affair that brought former teammates, current fans and parents together less for a competition and more for memories and a good laugh.

As Lindley, became a CPA and tax accountant in Houston after graduating in 2009, went after one of the first flyballs of the gam - , it banged off her glove and to the ground. As the play developed, she plopped to the ground in embarrassment before heading to the dugout with a laugh and sat down.

It was all in good fun, after all.

More noteworthy was that Sunday's game brought together many players from the team's recent past and a chance for them to catch up. Several of the team's alumni have gone into teaching and coaching themselves. Amber Scott coaches softball at Hitchcock High School, and teaches first grade in that district; O'Bryant, who graduated last year, is now an elementary P. E. teacher in Huntsville; and Courtney Tummins, formerly Pettit, is now a junior high teacher.

And so many more.

Many of the team's alumni haven't traveled far from Victoria. All of the alumni team players, called the "Timebombers" are no more than three hours away.

"We knew about it several weeks in advance," Lindley said. "We're all within a few hours. We have a UHV alumni Facebook group, and we all post on there."

The game was preceded by an informal home run derby in which everyone - even the baseball players in attendance - struggled to hit balls out at the high fences at Championship Field.

The game even featured the rare 1-dugout-4 putout, as a wild throw in the second inning from the pitcher's circle to third base was hurled back from the dugout with pin-point accuracy to nail a stealing runner from first base to second. The umpire called the runner out.

The hijinks continued throughout the game. Lindsey Ferguson, who is currently one of UHV coach Keri Lambeth's assistants, was called out on a close play at first base.

"I would have called you safe if you had dived," the umpire told her with a laugh.

Ferguson responded that it still hurt from when she took a dive into first base during last year's game, getting a roar from the assembled players and crowd.

Current players also began dropping grounders intentionally in an attempt to give the alumni a chance, and also to create more havoc by causing plays at the plate and other bases.

"Come on, we don't want it to be obvious," one of the alumni players joked from the dugout.

To which several members of the crowd replied: "Yes, you do!"

Yes, the alumni team won 6-5 in 4 1/2 innings after spotting the current team a five-run first inning lead. But they also got to set when the game ended. The plan is to keep the game alive as an annual tradition, Lambeth said.

Why?

"Because we got to set the rules," Lindley said with a grin and a laugh.

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