Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – Over 30 former Pacific Lutheran University baseball players converged on campus for the return of the alumni game on September 24.
The alumni game made its triumphant return for the first time since 2011 with 31 former Lutes returning to play a game, this time from the visitors dugout. PLU head coach Nolan Soete knew the importance of the event for the PLU community.
"It was very important to me to bring this back," Soete said. "I heard from a number of different alumni from the last couple of years that they were very interested in having this game. I think it's very important to stay connected with alums. I was really happy with the turnout."
Among the returning Lute legends was Max Beatty. Beatty's time at PLU was emotional as he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012. Beatty won the battle, and returned to the mound in 2013 starting in 13 games, had a 7-5 record with three complete games. Beatty had a 2.48 earned run average, giving up only 24 earned runs while opponents batted .224 against him. The right hander was dominant, striking out 90 batters while allowing 13 walks. Beatty was selected in the 32nd round of the MLB draft that year.
The professional pitcher was entertaining all game long. In his first at-bat, Beatty laid down a bunt with two strikes, hustled down the line and dove headlong into first base. Beatty was called out, but by inches. Later in the game, Beatty was caught in a run down between third and home. Beatty pitched the final inning of the game, recording a pair of strikeouts.
"Today was just one of those days where we were able to get all the good dudes back together," Beatty said. "It was the first alumni game since I've been back in five years or so. It was good to see everyone's faces and have a good time."
Trevor Lubking was also on campus for the game. Lubking is PLU's strikeout king, holding the top two spots in strikeouts in a season, with 111 in 2014 and 102 in 2013. Lubking was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 14th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. Lubking can still bring it, topping out at 92 mph during his outing.
"It was great," Lubking said. "I've known a lot of these guys, and seeing them around the ballpark since my freshman year in 2011-12. It was good seeing these guys again and reconnecting by playing a little baseball. It's what we know how to do best."
The highlight of the game came when PLU alumni, now head coach Nolan Soete stepped to the plate. He squared off against former teammate Aaron Roetcisoender, who is now on the coaching staff at PLU. Soete grounded out to third, but still considered the game a success. Soete looks to build on that success year after year.
"The guy I worked for before did a very good job of starting that connection with alums," Soete said. "I'm trying to build on that and improve it every year."