MSJC baseball honors vets with home game tradition

By Zac Force, staff writer for The Talon

Alonzo13.JPGThe MSJC baseball team has invoked a new tradition before all home games for players and fans to honor those who help keep this country safe.

Now before every home game the team salutes veterans of the armed forces. Each game is centered on a single veteran from any branch of the military. A short presentation about the veteran’s service time and their achievements are presented.

In addition to being recognized, the veteran also gets the honor of throwing out the first pitch of the game.

Head coach Steve Alonzo began this tradition because of the military history in his family. “We started it because my son and daughter are in the Army and it kind of just happened,” he said.

His son Brant is a medic, and his daughter Stefanie is a computer technician. Both will be deployed shortly. Alonzo keeps a photo of Brant and Stefanie in their military uniforms in the dugout in order to remind his players how lucky they are. It also provides motivation out on the field.

“It really gives me a view of what we stand for,” he said. “I don’t think kids realize how privileged they are.”

The team likes this new tradition so much now that they sport camouflage jerseys at every game, including away games.

Baseball season ended earlier this month. One of the highlights of the season for Alonzo was winning his 500th game in his 26 years of coaching, a milestone in his career.

The Eagles had a record of 24-12, including a phenomenal 14-3 record at home.

This record put them in second place in the conference behind San Bernardino (28-8) and made MSJC the 12th seed in the playoffs. MSJC lost to Mt. Sac. in the first round of the playoffs.