Stroman-Victoria High rivalry lives on in alumni baseball game (VIDEO)
Sept. 18, 2013 at 4:18 a.m.
Derel Reaves laid down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt along the first-base line.
The only problem was there were two outs in the inning, and the pitcher easily threw him out.
Reaves didn't mind, and neither did the players practicing at Victoria East on Wednesday evening.
Reaves had his mind Saturday when former players from Victoria High and Stroman will get together at Riverside Stadium to participate in an alumni baseball game to benefit the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent.
"I thought it was a great idea," said East head baseball coach Wes Kolle, a 1997 graduate of Victoria High. "I'm wishing now that we had done it a little bit sooner. We get to reconnect with some of the guys we played with and some of the guys who were before me."
Reaves, a 1974 graduate of Victoria High, was the oldest player on the field during Wednesday's practice, but that didn't stop him from playing third base or hustling to first base on the bunt attempt.
The game was organized by Danny Alvarez and Mark Tisdale, who will coach the Victoria High team, and Benny Ruiz, who will coach the Stroman team.
"There was some concern with me," Alvarez admitted when asked about the age of the players participating. "But it's all in fun and games. We'll have more players to put in and there'll be free substitution."
Alvarez might have thought Father Time would have been his biggest obstacle in getting players to participate in the game. But it turned out to be the opening of dove season.
"With all the rednecks here in Victoria, you know that's going to be an issue," Tisdale joked.
The Victoria High roster will include 22 players, and the Stroman roster will be either 16 or 17, although Ruiz is hoping for some late entries.
Matt Trenck, who played at Lamar University, will be the starting pitcher for the Victoria High team. Richard Delgado, who pitched a shutout in the 1985 Class 5A state championship game, will start for the Stroman team in the nine-inning game.
"A majority of these guys I've played softball against," said John Garcia, a 1993 Stroman graduate. "It's good to see the guys and play with them again. It's also good to see guys that I didn't get to play with and play with them."
The rivalry between the schools was always intense, and featured some top talent.
Allan Ramirez, Doug Heinold, Mike Macha, Don Oliver, Ron Gant and Kevin Coffman were among the Victoria High and Stroman players drafted by major league teams.
"The games were really competitive," said Jimmie Pina, who played for both schools before graduating from Stroman in 1980. "Everybody went out there and it was blood, sweat, and tears. Everybody wanted to win. They were good guys. After each game, everybody shook hands and said, 'See you on the weekend.'"
Stroman made three trips to the state tournament and won the school's only state championship in 1985 before the rivalry faded into history when Stroman and Victoria High were consolidated into Memorial after the 2000 season.
The teams split the final two games, with Victoria High capturing a 6-1 decision behind the pitching of Tommy Cook in the last meeting.
"Riverside was always packed and it was always a close game," Kolle said. "We knew we were going to get their best and they were going to get our best. Having grown up and played Little League against all those guys - it was just a special game."
Kolle pitched at Texas Lutheran University, but he has not taken the mound since 2006 when he pitched for the semi-pro Victoria Rosebuds.
He's looking forward to working an inning Saturday against his former rivals.
"First of all we don't want to get anybody hurt," Kolle said. "Baseball is a great game. A lot of these guys have stayed in shape playing softball. To get back on the diamond at Riverside is going to be special and it's going to be fun."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.AdvoSports.com.