The boys are back in town and on the diamond

web alumni2 “I’m just trying not to get hurt,” joked John Ellison on his way to the batting box on the Houston High School baseball field July 1.

Ellison, along with over 30 current and former HHS baseball players, joined in the annual alumni game to benefit the Hilltoppers baseball program.
The event, sponsored by the Diamond Club, helps raise money for building projects and upgrades to the field and stadium.
“Money raised from the alumni game goes to pay off the locker room (already) built,” said booster members Thomas Howell. “It gives the ‘older’ Toppers a chance to pick up the bat again and see old teammates.”
Beginning with the homerun derby and culminating in the very loosely structured alumni game, the focus is less on fierce competition and more on camaraderie. Some players went on to college by way of the ball fields, while others put their bats down at graduation, but they all came back to play again July 1.
Wesley Smith took top honors in the home run derby. After whiffing the first four balls, he found that old familiar rhythm and knocked three over the outfield fence.
The alumni game split into two teams, graduates from 2007 to current and graduates from 2006 and prior.
The “old timers” snagged an early lead with Jim Bean knocking down a double that scored Christopher Upshaw and John Gravat doubling to score Jay Hardin, but the “young pups” showed more stamina and endurance, pulling out the win in the end.
David Smith apologized to his coach for getting put out at first.
“Sorry, man, I wanted to go all out, but that muscle in my back said I better not,” Smith laughed on his way back to the dugout.
As for Ellison’s trip to the batter’s box?
He didn’t win the derby, but he made a pretty good showing as he jacked his third pitch over the left field fence for one more homer.