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Generals make Kruse first to have his jersey retired

By MIKE FORMAN
Aug. 9, 2013 at 3:09 a.m.

Former Victoria Generals player Chad Kruse hugs Mike Yokum, the new team vice president and general manager, during a ceremony before the start of Friday night's game at Riverside Stadium. It was announced that Yokum will take over for Blake Koch and Kruse was honored for his time spent with the Generals by being the first player ever to have his number retired.

Chad Kruse was in familiar territory standing at home plate at Riverside Stadium.

But for one of the few times, Kruse didn't have a bat in his hands.

Instead, he was flanked by his parents and officials from the Victoria Generals for ceremonies to retire his No. 55 jersey.

Kruse played for the Generals in 2011 and 2012 and set Texas Collegiate League records for hits (77) and at-bats (237) in a season in 2011.

"They were the best two years of my life," said Kruse, who also played at UHV. "The people here in Victoria and my teammates and coaches, the management and the host families and everything were a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. I couldn't have asked for anything better in any aspect of the summer."

Blake Koch, who has been the Generals general manager for the past five seasons, had no doubt Kruse was the ideal choice to have his jersey retired.

Koch believes Kruse could be the first player in the history of the TCL to be honored in such a manner.

"We kind of felt like this was a tradition that we wanted to start," Koch said. "We plan to be here for a long time, and we want to build that history."

Kruse spent the summer helping the Roswell Invaders win the championship of the Pecos League. He'll play winter ball in California and says he hopes to hook up with a team next summer.

The Generals unveiled a billboard on the wall in left field with Kruse's number.

Kruse threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was joined by Hallettsville coach and former Generals assistant coach Shorty Cook.

Cook and the Brahmas were also recognized for winning the Class 2A state championship.

"It's real special to be honored by the Victoria Generals," Cook said. "Everything they do for the community and surrounding area to keep baseball going here."

Two members of Hallettsville's state championship team will play on the collegiate level next season.

Pitcher Chris Jones will play at the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, and infielder/pitcher Carson Schindler will play at Concordia in Austin.

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