Ben Prescott, reporter
The alumni game has been a Mountain Day tradition ever since alumni graduated from the softball program after the inaugural 2010 season. The first big alumni group to come back for the game was in 2014. Although the game was originally alumni against current players, the coaching staff realized that the players and alumni did not get a chance to interact with each other outside of playing. Now, the coaches include alumni and current players on each team. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last season the game was canceled for the first time.
In her third year as head coach for softball, Emily Stanley relayed what the game means to her as a coach and how the team was impacted by not having the game last season.
“My favorite thing is having the alum come back, and we really missed it last year,” Stanley said. “Not only did we miss physically seeing them and hanging out with them, but we miss it in the culture aspect. They bring so much culture back to the team.”
Stanley also mentioned why it was important to bring back the creators of the team culture for the current team to see.
“Any team at any point can create a tradition, which we emphasize a lot,” Stanley said. “The things we do from walking on the field and putting our glove in a certain spot, some of our current team members do it because that’s just what they do. But someone before created that system, and it’s really fun to have our alum see that we’re still doing the things that they started.”
One of the alumni that will be attending batting practice and the meet and greet for this year’s alumni game is Lacey Herring, a member of the Berry softball team from the 2010-2013. During her time with the team, Herring was a 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region selection and a 2012 first-team Southern Athletic Association selection. She currently holds the current record for most home runs in a game, bringing in three against LaGrange in 2011. Previously, Herring played in the 2014 and 2015 alumni games.
As a member of the inaugural team, coming back to the alumni game and seeing the team traditions that she helped create is a “powerful” experience for Herring.
“To know I was on the very first team to now look at 11 and 12 teams later to see the growth in the program and to see a lot of the traditions that we started in the first team still be carried on today,” Herring said.
Herring mentioned a tradition created with Lindsey Campbell in 2010. The tradition is a pre-game rap that Herring originally freestyled.
“That was kind of like our hype thing to get everybody loosened up and laugh a little bit,” Herring said. “They still do it before every single game.”
Herring also mentioned that the alumni game is important to see the history of the softball program. It has shown the lasting culture and team aspect that the program has been creating since its first season.
“I think being able to connect with old players and to see people come back kind of shows them the culture here is something that people do want to come back to,” Herring said.
Even though Herring describes the game as “very competitive” and the teams are mixed with alumni and current players, she wants to see the current team perform better than the alumni.
“It’s a good opportunity for [the current team] to show out a little bit and do better than us,” Herring said. “I always hope they do.”
Fans and alumni of Berry softball can attend this year’s alumni game at 2:00 p.m. on Kay Williams Field.