FAMU Baseball Alumni Association hosts reunion weekend at Moore-Kittles Field – Tallahassee.com


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WATCH: Head coach Jamey Shouppe discusses the FAMU baseball reunion weekend and playing Bethune-Cookman.
Rory Sharrock, Tallahassee Democrat

The words Florida A&M versus Bethune-Cookman are reason enough to stir up emotions among Rattler fans.

Adding to the intrigue of a contest between these bitter rivals is the seventh annual FAMU baseball reunion weekend.

Beginning Friday, an estimated 55 Rattler baseball heroes from years gone by will assemble at Moore-Kittles Field. They’ll reconnect old bonds, raise money for the program and share laughs of stories from their collegiate days on the diamond. 

“It’s always a fun weekend,” FAMU baseball coach Jamey Shouppe said.

“Tony Bell, former Rattler who played beside Andre Dawson, does a tremendous job of getting those guys together. We’re excited about those guys coming back. Helping people remember there’s a strong tradition of FAMU Rattlers baseball.”

Bell leads all the off-the-field activities as president of the FAMU Baseball Alumni Association.

“This is our big reunion weekend. This is our time to come together as a group to show the school and supporters of FAMU baseball about the program that gave to us,” Bell said.

During Friday’s action, the alumni will partake in a fish fry while watching the opening game. This year’s outing marks the first time the group will host every event on the field. 

Taking the ball for FAMU to begin the series is Kyle Coleman.

Saturday’s activities begin at Nefetari’s on 812 S. McComb St. for breakfast. They’ll discuss business matters and fundraiser plans for the program.

Game 2 of the series is a matinee slated for 2 p.m. 

Righty Josh Barr will deliver the ball at the starter for the Rattlers.

The baseball alumni’s cooking plans for Saturday consist of various meats seasoned to perfection on the grill.

Sunday’s celebration begins with worship service at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 11 a.m.

Afterward, they’ll return to Moore-Kittles Field for the finale of the three-game series.

Josh Hancock is scheduled to work as the starter in this affair. 

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WATCH: Rattlers pitcher Josh Hancock discusses FAMU baseball reunion weekend and facing Bethune-Cookman.
Rory Sharrock, Tallahassee Democrat

This reunion caps off an eventful week for the baseball program.

This past Sunday, the Rattlers avoided a sweep by posting a 9-0 win over North Carolina A&T. 

Hancock went the distance while surrendering only five hits. 

“My defense helped me out a lot. We turned three or four double plays. After seeing the first two games, I was pumped up to take the mound, get the win and avoid the sweep,” Hancock said. 

Tucker Rayburn was the offensive star of the show. The junior first basemen went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI. 

On Tuesday, the team welcomed former Major League player/manager Dusty Baker to campus. This was his first-ever trip to FAMU.

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Baker spoke for an hour about being physically and mentally prepared to play nine innings. He also shared candid stories from his 19 years as a player (Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Athletics) and 24 seasons as a manager (Giants, Cubs, Reds, Nationals).

“It means a lot to talk to these players,” Baker said. “My son is the same age as these guys. He’s 20 years old playing at the University of California. I love young people and I’m pulling for them to be a success in life. Baseball and sports teach you valuable lessons that prepare you for life.”

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WATCH: Baseball lifer Dusty Baker made his first-ever trip to FAMU on April 9, 2019 and spoke with the Rattlers.
Rory Sharrock, Tallahassee Democrat

Later that day, the Rattlers traveled to Montgomery and beat Alabama State, 8-5.

FAMU is currently one game behind B-CU in the MEAC Southern Division. The Wildcats are tied with North Carolina Central in second place at 6-6.

“We’re a game behind them in the standings. It’s an important series. It’s always important just for bragging rights when we play Bethune. They won the series – the first MEAC weekend at Daytona Beach – so we have to return that favor,” Shouppe said.

“You can talk about beating somebody, but it’s about execution. Taking good swings at quality pitches, playing the game the right way, making plays and pitches. That’s what’s baseball’s all about.” 


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