North Muskegon Norsemen: Alumni Game Recaps

2017 Alumni Game

The 2017 North Muskegon Alumni game, the sixth annual, had a few changes to its format.

First, money raised now goes toward the K2 Memorial Scholarship, which honors former assistant coach Warren Kent Jr., who passed away in February. A monetary scholarship is given to the Coach’s Award winner each year.

Secondly, a pitching machine was used for both the home run derby and the game, which lasted approximately 90 minutes. With the pitching machine being used, each team batted for six outs with the bases cleared after the first three outs.

The Gold Team (the odd years) scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead and never looked back en route to the 9-7 win, which evens the six game series at three wins apiece.

For the Odd Years, Brandon Hillman (2003) was the team’s MVP with three doubles and two RBI. Joel Hardy (2015) had a single and a double while Home Run Derby Champion Jake Bean (2017) and Ryan Hillman (2009), who had the defensive play of the game, each added two singles and an RBI. Cody Liverance (2011) and Jack Gautraud (2013) each had a double.

Leading the Even Years was MVP Noah VanBergen (2008), who had four singles. Ryan Buter (2008) had two singles and a double, and Noah Rhyndress (2012) added a single, a double and two RBI. Matt Boyle (1998) and Jeremy Wegner (1998) each had two singles. Ben Garcia (2016) added a double.

2016 Alumni Game

The 2016 North Muskegon Alumni game, the fifth annual, saw a high-scoring affair, as the Gold Team (the even years) broke a 9-9 tie by scoring three runs in the fifth and four runs in the sixth for the 16-9 victory. The win gives the even years a 3-2 advantage.

After the Odd Years jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, the Even Years countered with an eight-run inning. Eventually, the Odd Years knotted the score at 9 in the top of the fifth.

Leading the Even Years was MVP Jesse Dunn (class of 2014), who had three hits, three RBI and one run scored. The class of 1998 scored 10 of the team’s 16 runs as Jeremy Wegner and Matt Boyle both scored five times. Wegner finished with two singles and an RBI while Boyle had a single and an RBI.

Ryan Compeau (2014) had three singles and two RBI while Austin Aamodt (2006) added a double and two RBI. Bailey Cooper (2014) gained the win in relief.

For the Odd Years, Ben Gautraud (2015), who won the Home Run Derby, was the team’s MVP with two singles, a double, three RBI and two runs. Connor Gannon (2015) had a solo home run in the fourth inning. Mike Schreiber (1995) took the loss.

2015 Alumni Game

In a wild back-and-forth contest, the Gold team (odd years) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Blue team (even years) 11-10 in the fourth annual North Muskegon Alumni Baseball Game. The win makes the overall record 2-2 for each team.

After the Blue team took a 10-8 lead in the top of the eighth, the Gold team countered with three unearned runs with Gold team MVP Cody Liverance (2011) bringing home Joel Hardy (2015) with the winning run on an RBI single. Liverance finished with three hits and three RBI. Prior to Liverance’s heroics, Ryan Hillman (2009) and Mike Schreiber (1995) both scored on an error off a groundball by Hardy.

Hillman, who picked up the win on the mound, also won the Home Run Derby, 3-1, over Jeremy Wegner (1998).

The Blue team jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Ryan Compeau (2014) singled and eventually scored on a single by Charlie Cihak (1998).

However, in the bottom of the second, the Gold team took a 3-1 lead with a three-run inning. Nick Carley (2005), Liverance and Matt Wikander (1997), who doubled, all picked up RBI.

The Blue team quickly tied the score in the top of the third on an RBI single by Compeau and an RBI groundout by Cihak.

Again, the Gold team responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-3 lead. Brandon Hillman (2003) has an RBI double and Schreiber had an RBI groundout.

Ryan Buter’s (2008) two-run homer in the top of the fourth tied the score once again, but the Gold responded with a go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning when Carley, who doubled, scored on Liverance’s single.

Neither team scored in the fifth inning, but the Blue team went ahead 8-6 in the sixth inning. After a run scored on an error, Buter, the Blue team MVP, hit his second two-run homer of the game.

The score would remain 8-6 until the bottom of the seventh when the Gold team scored two runs on a two-out double by Mike Boyle (1995) to send the game to extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, the Blue team broke an 8-8 tie with two runs. Austin West (2012) lead off with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Graham Preston (2011 -- played on even years to balance out teams). An RBI groundout by Ben Gautraud (2015 -- another switch to balance teams) made it 10-8, setting up the Gold team’s come-from-behind win.

2014 Alumni Game

Another high-scoring contest in the third annual alumni game saw a walk-off win for the Even Years, which was the Gold team this year (because coach Kent forgot that he was keeping the odd years Gold and the even years Blue -- oh well).

The Odd Years jumped out to a 9-2 lead after three innings only to see the Even Years chip away, eventually taking a 10-9 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. But the Odd Years scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 11-10 lead.

The Even Years then loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh before a wild pitch plated the tying run, and then Gold MVP Ryan Compeau (class of 2014) lofted a sacrifice fly, scoring Thomas Hanis (2003 – yep, another mix-up by coach Kent, who thought Thomas was class of 2002) in a close play at the plate.

The win gives the Even Years a 2-1 advantage in alumni games. Brandon Hillman (2003) had a banner day for the Odd Years, capturing the Blue team MVP honors as well as winning the Home Run Derby, defeating Compeau and Graham Preston (2011) in the finals.

Special thanks to Jake Bean (2017) and Ben Gautraud (2015), who played catcher for the entire game. Also, thanks to Cate Ramsey, Riley Draper (2015), Bob Gautraud and JV coach Ryan Mieler for helping out during the day.

2013 Alumni Game

On a wonderful Saturday afternoon (Aug. 10), the Gold Team (odd years) gained an 11-9 victory, which was the same score last year with the Blue Team (even years) winning, so the series is tied at 1.

The Gold Team, which benefited from nine walks, was paced by MVP Mike Schreiber (class of 1995), who was on base three times, including two singles. He also scored twice. John Hardy (2011), Ben McPherson (2005) and Robin Wiggins (2009) all scored two runs. DJ Berge (2011), who had a double, Graham Preston (2011), Rogan McEvoy (2013) and Mike Boyle (1995) all had two RBI. McEvoy picked up the win.

For the Blue Team, MVP Ryan Buter (2008) crushed a first-inning, two-run home run and added an RBI walk and a single. No one else had multiple hits, but Erik Boczkaja (2010) and Charlie Cihak (1998) each had a double with Cihak's two-bagger knocking in two runs. Matt Boyle (1998) scored twice. Noah Rhyndress (2010) took the loss.

Buter also won the Home Run Derby for the second straight year, defeating Hardy in the finals, 2-1.

2012 Alumni Game

The inaugural alumni game saw 37 players put on the Blue and Gold one more time in a game of the even years vs. the odd years. While the Gold (odd years) jumped out to a 7-0 lead, it was the Blue (even years) that won the nine-inning game, 11-9.

Steve Preston (class of 1980) was selected MVP for the Blue team while Cody Liverance (2011) was Gold team MVP.

The home run derby, which started before the alumni game and finished up after the game, saw Ryan Buter (2008) edge Nick Marietti (2001) in the finals.

Alumni Game Awards

Odd Years 9, Even Years 7
MVP: Brandon Hillman (2003) & Noah VanBergen (2008) 
HR Derby: Jake Bean (2017) 

Even Years 16, Odd Years 9
MVP: Jesse Dunn (2014) & Ben Gautraud (2015)
HR Derby: Ben Gautraud (2015)  

Odd Years 11, Even Years 10 (8 innings)
MVP: Cody Liverance (2011) & Ryan Buter (2008)
HR Derby: Ryan Hillman (2009)

Even Years 12, Odd Years 11
MVP: Brandon Hillman (2003) & Ryan Compeau (2014)
HR Derby: Brandon Hillman (2003)

Odd Years 11, Even Years 9
MVP: Mike Schreiber (1995) & Ryan Buter (2008)
HR Derby: Ryan Buter (2008)

Even Years 11, Odd Years 9
MVP: Cody Liverance (2011) & Steve Preston (1980)
HR Derby: Ryan Buter (2008)

Series: Tied at 3-3