Decked out in Lake Ridge fan wear and many, many blankets, friends, family, and athletes gathered at the Lake Ridge baseball fields to participate in the 6th annual Baseball Fanfest on Saturday, February 3rd. The Eagle fans braved the cold to hear the announcement of teams, watch a demonstration practice, and enjoy an alumni game in which 16 former Lake Ridge baseball players returned to town to participate in. The audience also indulged in a photo and baseball signing session and raffle tickets were sold and prizes were won in between each event.
Baseball is the only sport at Lake Ridge that holds a Fanfest, using it take a swing to the beginning of the season.
“I think the purpose of fanfest is to get the fans out, get them excited for the baseball season, and show them basically what the team looks like this year,” says varsity pitcher Anthony Robie, 11.
After two years of attending Fanfest as a varsity player, shortstop and outfielder Talon Simmons, 11, is looking forward to reconnecting with former Eagles.
“It’s nice to see everyone back on the field again, and to see my old friends and teammates,” says Simmons.
2017 Lake Ridge graduate Jensen Hendricks, former varsity second baseman, came back for the same reasons.
“I enjoyed seeing all of my friends and teammates from over the years, those still in high school and those not, on the field together,” says Hendricks.
Another event favored by the athletes is the demonstration practice, also called a “hit-a-thon,” in which the athletes take several turns in attempting to hit as many balls as possible.
“My favorite part of Fanfest is the ‘hit-a-thon’ mainly because I can show the audience and the fans how well I can perform,” says varsity second baseman, Kyle Mosley, 11.
Fanfest gets not only the fans pumped for the upcoming baseball season, but the athletes as well. Each athlete has a favorite part of the season that they look forward to. For some, it will be the prospects of how far the team will go.
“I feel like we have a pretty good team this year, and we can go pretty far and compete for playoffs,” says Simmons.
For others, the season highlight will be the dynamics and relationships formed as a team.
“I feel like this year our team is looking really good and I’m excited to form new bonds with all the new team mates,” says Robie.
Athletes such as varsity third baseman Luke Potter, 11, will find joy in something much simpler throughout the season.
“This season has me excited for the team dinners,” says Potter.
Overall, Fanfest is a surefire way to get fans riled up for baseball season which starts off with an away scrimmage on Tuesday, February 6, against Keller Central.