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Growl Louder: Hornets Night Out at Homer Stryker Field

Kalamazoo College Head Football Coach Jaime Zorbo ’00 is known for making good pitches during football recruiting season. On July 18 he hopes to make a good pitch on the baseball diamond. Zorbo is slated to throw the ceremonial first pitch during “Kalamazoo College Night” with the Kalamazoo Growlers baseball team at Homer Stryker Field in downtown Kalamazoo.

I am honored to be throwing out the first pitch at K Night Out. I just hope I can get it over the plate.  It will surely be a great evening with family and friends, and I am looking forward to it,” said Zorbo.

All students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the College are invited to the game that starts at 7 PM. K tickets cost $12 and come with either a Growlers hat or a hot dog, chips, and a drink. Wear pink because the event coincides with a breast cancer awareness event at the stadium called “Pink Out the Park Night.” To help raise funds, the team will auction off pink jerseys, and the first 1,000 fans to enter will get a pink baseball cap, courtesy of Borgess Health.

To get tickets stop by the Anderson Athletic Center or contact Athletics Office Coordinator Emily Wiegand at 337-7082 or ewiegand@kzoo.edu.

While K will be one of many groups present, staff and faculty will be recognized on the field. “It’s a good place to see and be seen,” said Jeanne Hess, head volleyball coach and chair of the physical education department, “and a great opportunity to bring families together.”

To reach out into the community and local businesses, the Growlers’ hired four Kalamazoo College students as their summer interns. Assistant General Manager John Bollinger said, “Being a small market team, our intern class gets a lot of hands-on work.” While there are interns from larger universities, Bollinger emphasized, “K students really take it to a different level. They are always following through, and are always thorough.”

The students work behind the scenes on promotions, media, and sponsorships. Ranjeet Ghorpade ’15 designed a season survey, and Carter Chandler ’17 and Nate Donovan ’17 helped develop a grassroots marketing campaign to reach into the community. Additionally, K’s Head Baseball Coach Mike Ott serves as associate coach and pitching coach for the Growlers, and K’s Assistant Baseball Coach Jake Van Alten runs the sound system at Homer Stryker Field.

Ghorpade said, “You can tell that the Growlers are moving in the right direction. From their original ’selfie’ jerseys to the Bell’s Bear Cave, they’ve really got it going on.”

Hess said these internship opportunities through the Athletics Department “let our students know there’s life beyond K.”

Though K won’t be the only group in attendance, Hess hopes “we’ll be the most vocal and fun group.” Other activities that evening will include Trino the Magician, a flat screen TV giveaway, and post-game fireworks. 

“There’s no better way to enjoy summer than with America’s favorite pastime,” said Hess. “The field is a wonderful place with co-workers, friends, and family.”

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About Colin Smith ’15

With an affinity for coffee, ''60s rock, and paisley shirts, Colin Smith studies History at Kalamazoo College. He returned from Kenya this spring, and in the recent months he advises the American Studies Department, co-leads the Index, and works as a writing consultant in the school library. He also writes songs in a psych-pop band called King Median, and writes for a few media outlets and publications off campus, such as Second Wave Media.

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