By Erne'e Williams/ Rattler Productions Intern
TALLAHASSEE, FLA (Feb. 15)- Florida A&M University Baseball team hosted their annual “First Pitch Dinner” to kick off the season with a spirited start. Each player was introduced at the banquet along with their family members. Attendees were there to enjoy a nice meal and to get to hear head coach Jamey Shouppe outline the plan for the 2017 campaign. The annual event is also a fundraiser for the FAMU baseball program.
Vaughn Wilson, Director of Rattler Productions, presided over the event. Angela Suggs, Assoc. Athletics Director and SWA, greeted all with a message of welcome from the FAMU Department of Athletics. Milton Overton, FAMU Director of Athletics, gave the occasion, where he praised Shouppe and the players for their dedication thus far. There was a moment of silence for the late FAMU coach Robert “Luke” Lucas, one of FAMU’s former head coaches that won the school their first MEAC championship in 1987.
“We’re very excited for the upcoming season. We’re raising money for the baseball team to make better facilities,” said Overton.
On the behalf of the FAMU baseball alumni, its president and former player Tony Bell, $11,500 was donated to the baseball team. The donation was a portion of the goal of the baseball alumni and fulfilled the purpose of the banquet.
FAMU players, clad in their jerseys, were ecstatic about the event. “I’m feeling really good,” said Dallas Oliver, about the upcoming season. Oliver is an outfielder/pitcher. He wears number 29, and is a junior, majoring in Health and Fitness.
Brian Davis, team captain, stated how excited he is about the upcoming season and that they have been working hard. Davis is a junior majoring in Occupational Therapy.
Shouppe said the team is ready to play after a long three weeks of practicing. “We don’t really worry about playing another team, we play the game as best as we can. We can’t control what another team is doing, but we can control what we are doing,’’ said Shouppe.
He mentioned he was expecting a lot out of his pitchers this season. Pitcher Ryan Anderson explained the strategy he takes on the mound. “I plan on executing every pitch,” said Anderson.The Rattlers open their 2017 campaign this Friday at Moore-Kittles Field with a series against Wofford. The set begins Friday at 4 PM, with Saturday and Sunday games set for 1 PM.