For the first time since mid-March, area baseball players will lace up their cleats and don a uniform, some of them for the final time.
The players have been selected to play in the Heart of Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl baseball game.
The game will be played at 2 p.m. at Mary Hardin-Baylor's Red Murff Field and will be in front of no fans.
On Tuesday, the organization decided that the softball, baseball and volleyball games would simply be practices but that fact didn’t matter for Harker Heights’ Riley Bridenstine, who will hang up his cleats for good and focus on engineering school at Texas A&M in the fall.
“This will be a great opportunity to go out there and play baseball one last time,” Bridenstine said Thursday. “I think it’ll be a good and final send-off.”
Bridenstine will suit up on Team Red with Knights teammate Chan Rinehart.
“I absolutely love Chan,” Bridenstine said of his teammate. “He’s a good kid and friend.”
Lampasas head baseball coach Shane Doege, who will coach Team Blue, said the preparation for the game will be a lot different.
Normally, the all-star teams have about three to four days to practice, get to know each other and to work out lineups and signals. Today, they’ll have around one hour, Doege said.
“The players are going to be checking in at 12:45 (p.m.),” Doege said.
As the players enter the facility, they will be screened.
“So, basically, in that time, we’re going to have the check-in and then batting practice, and in and out,” he said.
Doege said he has had to rely on calling the coaches of the players on his team to find out more about them.
“That’s been kind of the way, I think, to attack this preparation is just using our network to talk to people about who can pitch, and who can play what,” Doege said. “That way we can have an idea of where guys fit.”
Doege said he was told in January that he would be coaching the game today.
“I was excited,” Doege said of being selected. “I think it’s a different kind of excitement than whenever I was first told, just because of that being the first competitive baseball game in a long while.”
Doege will coach two of his Badgers during the all-star game, Martin Ybarra and Ethan Rascoe.
Fans can watch the game at www.fcaheartoftexas.org.