Posted by Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:
Major League Baseball spring training is a week away, but North Bay fans can get their fix at Santa Rosa Junior College with Saturday’s alumni affair the latest ballgame on the Bear Cubs’ new all-weather field.
This year’s contest — game time is 11 a.m. — will be a tough challenge for Santa Rosa with the alumni squad featuring a handful of professionals from the highest minor league ranks.
Outfielder Jason Lane, catcher Konrad Schmidt, first baseman Ole Sheldon, middle infielder Jake Kahaulelio, and pitcher Kasey Olenberger head the list of alumni set to play.
“The alumni guys have never won. They’re actually looking to win,” said Santa Rosa coach Damon Neidlinger. “The game worked out where more of them can make it, and there’s more guys ready to pitch.”
The Bear Cubs are ready, though, with four games under their belts. Santa Rosa is 2-2 in early season action.
More importantly, all the games were played at home. The Bear Cubs open this season with 12 home games in a row.
“We never played at home at this time of year because of the rain. Right now our field would be unplayable. We’d be looking probably until March,” Neidlinger said.
Rain and the need to get the field in shape would push Santa Rosa’s home opener weeks into the season. Games now can be played on Santa Rosa’s new all-weather field even in a light rain.
“The field’s terrific,” Neidlinger said.