Rural Baseball Inc. to Host Orzel Alumni Game
By The Chronicle
Rural Baseball Incorporated will host their first ever alumni game on Wednesday.
The game will serve as an opening ceremony of sorts to the fourth annual Dave Orzel Haymaker Memorial Tournament in Winlock. The alumni game is open to all former Rural Baseball Inc. players and coaches. Additionally, anyone who has played for, with, or coached with Dave Orzel is invited to attend and spike up, or just trade tall tales of the man, the myth, and the legend.
Orzel, who died in 2014, is the “godfather” of the RBI summer baseball program. It was his dream to create a program dedicated to fostering opportunities for small school ballplayers and others who may have been overlooked. Orzel passed away before the first RBI game was played but his name is still spoken regularly by his former players, some of whom now coach for RBI.
A southpaw pitcher, Orzel was a standout two-way at Kalama High School before moving on to pitch for Lower Columbia College on the 1992 NWAC championship team. He later continued his education and baseball career at Linfield College before playing professionally in Australia. After his playing days came to an end, Orzel returned to Southwest Washington and became the head coach of Kalama Chinooks varsity baseball program. He also coached numerous American Legion and Senior Babe Ruth summer teams, including the RSG Lumberkings. In his final years, he served as an assistant coach at Castle Rock High School and for the Competitive Athletics summer team.
Orzel was infamous for his witty phrases, intense coaching style, and off the wall training techniques. In honor of that tradition, RBI hosts a “wild critter wrangle” each year at the memorial tournament in order to raise money for a scholarship that is named and awarded in his honor.
The RBI/Orzel alumni game will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Winlock High School baseball field. Player fees are $20 and will be used to fund the 2018 Dave Orzel Scholarship fund.
The fourth annual Orzel Haymaker Memorial Tournament will take place at Winlock High School from Thursday through Sunday, with the wild critter chase scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
In the words of Orzel, “Get yourself a hotdog,” and “Let’s ride the Ferris Wheel!”
For additional information, or to RSVP, contact RBI skipper Jordan Nailon at firstname.lastname@example.org.