First ever alumni baseball game for Rippey/East Greene

Calling all baseball players –

~by Mary Weaver for Friends of Rippey

Rippey Bulldog and East Greene Hawk fans are in for a special treat on Saturday, July 15, beginning at 7 pm at the Walt Anderson Baseball field in Rippey.

The first of what may become an annual alumni game will pit the even year high school graduates against the odd year graduates.

Ron Ridnour, East Greene class of 1963, will coach/coordinate the ODD BALLS, while David Hick, East Greene class of 1984, will coach/coordinate the EVEN HANDS. They are seeking players for their respective teams. Ridnour may be reached at ron.ridnour [at] gmail [dot] com or 515-460-1828 and Hick at baseballdave45 [at] gmail [dot] com or 515-979-8923.

Players/volunteers are “stepping up to the plate” bringing their used gloves and bats, and a lot of memories. Some concerns are being expressed about their ability to run the bases, and a request has been made to have Emergency Medical Services available on the grounds. Former coaches will be specially invited guests and will be introduced at home plate during the opening ceremonies.

The Friends of Rippey will have the concession stand open the evening of July 15, serving maid rites, chips, bars, popcorn, beverages, and other goodies. There will be a passing of a baseball cap for donations to continue the efforts of upgrading the park.

While Rippey High School merged with East Greene in 1962, many Rippey Bulldog high school players, as well as “town team” players played ball on the Martin Ball diamond. After 1962 the East Greene Hawks played baseball on the field in Rippey, advancing to the state tournament under the guidance of coach Dana Fink in 2009.

In 2015 East Greene and Greene County Schools combined and now the field is used by the Greene County middle school baseball team. Many of the parents, grandparents, and opposing team fans provide unsolicited complimentary remarks about the beauty of the field located in the southwest corner of the town.

The city of Rippey owns the Walt Anderson ball field and has a rental agreement with the Greene County Schools. It is a collaborative arrangement for mowing and the maintenance of the grounds between the school and the city.

Rippey has a long history of baseball. As early as 1890 the “Hard Scrabble” team used willow sticks for bats, and according the History of Rippey, either caught bare handed or used work gloves with rags stuck inside for a bit more protection. The Martin field was first used in 1940, with lights added in 1949, and the electronic scoreboard replacing the metal numbers in 1959. It was renamed the Walt Anderson field in 2003.

The Friends of Rippey have been successfully working to upgrade the bathroom facilities, through funds obtained from the Greene County Community Foundation. The Greene County Schools have been successful in getting the electronic score board to re-awaken and function this season. Athletic director Dean Lansman and grounds keeper Shawn DeMoss are to be thanked for that outcome.

Because of hefty donations from a meal and the band concert provided by the Town and Country Band of Churdan, the grandstand bleachers are being re-built for safety by local contractor John McConnell. They will be repainted by the Greene County High School football team a community service projects\. It is an optimistic goal to have these projects completed prior to the Alumni Game.

The dug outs need attention, and a new sign is being planned to recognize the names of the various teams that have played on the grounds since 1940. Names identified to date include the Rippey Bulldogs, the East Greene Hawks, the Rippey Blue Socks, the Rippey Merchants, and the Rippey Demons. Input from former baseball buffs regarding team names will be appreciated and may be submitted to Mary Weaver.

“Plan to attend and enjoy that familiar sound of the crack of the bat on a summer evening as a player, or as a Friend to Rippey baseball,” a spokesperson said.

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