Softball shows off tradition with annual Alumni Game
By Kyle Salomon,
When you think about successful programs in sports at every level, you think about tradition and what it means to that particular program.
Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops understood that when he was hired in 1998. He immediately reached out to former Sooner players and coaches and developed a family-like atmosphere and now he is sitting at the top of one of the best college football programs in the country.
Mustang softball understands that as well. Lady Broncos softball has as rich of a tradition as anyone can have when it comes to the level of players that have come out of their program.
One of the best nights of the year for the entire MHS athletic program is the Alumni Game for the Bronco softball team.
Once a year in August, just before the regular season begins, the Mustang softball program brings back as many former players to play the annual Alumni Game against the current Lady Broncos.
They do keep score, but no one cares about the outcome of the contest, it’s all about having a good time and embracing the legacy that is MHS softball.
First-year Mustang head softball coach Bryan Howard said he knew of the history of the program coming in, but the Alumni Game opened his eyes to just how special it really is.
“I was really impressed with the whole day,” he said. “The crowd was unbelievable, the former players that came back to be a part of the event, the current players and coaches all made the night really, really special. It’s important that we honor the past players for their accomplishments here.
“We want them to feel like this is their home that they can come back to whenever they want. We want them to enter the facility through our clubhouse, not the front gate.”
The whole day ended up being a big success for the Lady Broncos softball program. They hosted their annual scramble golf tournament at Crimson Creek in El Reno on Saturday morning, which Howard said was a major success.
The evening festivities got under way at 6 p.m. with Mustang North Middle School taking on Mustang Middle School in a scrimmage. Following the middle school game, the second annual home run derby got under way.
The cost to compete in the derby was $5 for five swings or $10 for 10 swings and anyone could compete. Numerous people participated in the event as former players, current players, parents, families and fans all sent softballs sailing into the night.
Finally, the Alumni Game capped off the night as the alumni team battled the current Lady Broncos on the diamond. There were several blood feuds in the game as sisters competed with one another and even a mother-daughter competition was on display.
Howard said the Alumni Game wasn’t about winning and losing, it was about continuing to build on tradition and to have a fun time together before the regular season starts this week.
“I found myself getting pretty competitive in the first inning, but then I realized this wasn’t about competing like that, it was about having fun and enjoying ourselves for one night,” he said. “We exceeded our expectations as a program with the whole day. I couldn’t be happier.”
The Lady Broncos get their regular season officially started at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon as they take on Putnam City West on the road. They return to action Friday and Saturday as they travel to compete in the Broken Arrow tournament.
Kyle Salomon is the sports editor at the Mustang News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.