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Ex-Gamecocks get one more chance to step up

When the South Carolina Alumni baseball team takes the field tonight at Capital City Stadium to play the Columbia Blowfish in an exhibition, don’t think it will be a group of washed up former players looking to capture past glory.

With the majority of players being comprised of talent from this decade, the names should be familiar and the ability they displayed in their collegiate careers might not be far off.

Several of them play in a local Men’s Adult Baseball League, with six of them playing for the Columbia A’s in the eight-team league.

“We just love playing the game,” Trey Dyson said. “We’ve all pretty much stayed in touch over the years and we weren’t ready to hang up the cleats yet. We have fun with it and at our age that’s all that we can expect out of it.”

Dyson, who is 28 and works at BB&T, is joined on that team by Blake Taylor, Garris Gonce, Steven Bondurant, Matt Campbell and Bryan Triplett.

All six of them made a run in professional baseball before settling in Columbia with full-time jobs.

Tommy Moody, the radio analyst for USC baseball games, played for the Gamecocks in the 1970s and will be the oldest member of the alumni team.

Last year was the first reunion game with any fanfare. In front of nearly a capacity crowd, the alumni team held on for a 5-3 victory. All the players involved said they hoped it was not a one-time deal.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Taylor, a banker at Southern First Bank. “We had a chance to put on a Gamecock uniform again and that’s always a tremendous thrill. We had lots of e-mails and calls before and after the first game, so it’s nice to know that there are fans out there that still wanted to see us play.”

Dyson has been instrumental in making this contest against the Blowfish a success. Tonight’s game is first and foremost for him because, “we’ve put pressure on ourselves to go out and win.”

But Dyson has one other goal that he is trying to reach. The league plays games twice a week at high schools on Wednesday or Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. The playoffs for the Men’s Adult Baseball League is a month away, and Dyson is working with league president Manny Lopez and people at USC to have one last game at Sarge Frye Field.

“We would like the play one more time at Sarge Frye Field,” Dyson said. “It’s going to be torn down to make way for new development so we don’t really see the harm in giving us a chance to play there. We had lot of fun and great memories playing on that field.”