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Alumni baseball game planned for West Mifflin's new home

West Mifflin's baseball team will show off it newly constructed $2.3 million baseball complex with an alumni game on Oct. 14. Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News

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Monday, Sept. 17, 2012
 

When you have a $2.3 million baseball complex set to open this spring, you can't ask the team to wear tattered, 5-year-old uniforms on Opening Day, can you? If it's up to the West Mifflin Baseball Boosters, the district's state-of-the-art field is going to help do something about it.

West Mifflin is in the planning stages of an alumni game set for next month that will help the team buy new uniforms while giving former players the opportunity to play in the first game at new Titan Field.

“It is exciting that the alumni will be involved in the first game,” said coach Jeff Kuzma, a member of the 1990 team. “The main objective is to make money to buy home uniforms, plus I would think any alumni would love to come back and play on this field, so this will give them the chance.”

The game is scheduled for Oct. 14 and is open to all alumni, including West Mifflin North and West Mifflin South. Those schools merged in 1985 to former West Mifflin Area.

Kuzma said he is expecting around 40 former and current players. At $25 per person, along with major sponsorships from Bombardier, Coast 2 Coast Communications, Village Idiot Tap Room, Century 3 Chevrolet and American Pie Pizza, the team will come close to its $2,000 goal to purchase 20 uniforms.

“I think this will turn into a yearly thing for us,” said Jeff Rubinsak, a 1987 graduate. “Our boosters are the best around, and to be able to put together something like this is phenomenal.”

Although the particulars are yet to be determined, Kuzma would like to have current players face alumni in the game.

“I would really like to get a gauge on it the first year,” Kuzma said. “Once everybody gets here, maybe we can set it up old versus new. I think we will have enough people interested that we are going to come out and enjoy a good day of baseball.”

It also is a chance to show off the field — one of only a handful of fully turfed baseball and softball fields in the state.

“It would be hard-pressed to find another field as good as this in Pennsylvania,” Kuzma said.

The complex has been three years in the making. It features full infield and outfield turf baseball and softball fields, dugouts, scoreboards and a state-of-the-art fieldhouse with locker rooms, restrooms, a concession stand and a press box.

“When I played here, we used to play in the parking lot,” said Tim Donnelly, who graduated from West Mifflin in 1999.

West Mifflin hasn't had much stability in the past decade. They had to play at Filo Field — where hitting the ball over the right-field fence was a double — for a couple of years while their former field was renovated. The past three years, the team was displaced to Winklevoss, a nearby community field.

“I try to put the baseball aside and, being a taxpayer in West Mifflin myself, how can you not come down here and say, ‘It's worth it?' ” Kuzma said. “There has to be a lot of thank yous that go out to a lot of former and current administration and board for getting this done. Also, the athletic department, Scott Stephenson, Sandy Wells … there are just so many people to thank for this.”

For more information on the alumni game, contact Kuzma at 412-956-7300, Rubinsak at 412-277-7577 or Brian Fodor at 412-551-8534 or email wmtitanbaseball@aol.com. The cost is $25, which includes a T-shirt and food. Only rubber-molded spikes, turf shoes or sneakers are allowed; metal cleats are not permitted. The deadline is Oct. 2.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

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