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Former Palo Verde Titans Return for Third Annual Alumni Baseball Game

On what turned out to be an uncharacteristically chilly morning in late April, dozens of former Palo Verde High School baseball players reunited at the school’s baseball field.

The youngest alum was Class of 2023. The oldest? Class of 1976.

But all were brought together by longtime Palo Verde coach Jim Mentz.

“It’s good to see them,” Mentz, who has now organized the alumni game for three consecutive years, said. “It’s nice to know that when you’re coaching them, and you’re a little tough on them, that they don’t take it the wrong way. They come back. It’s just neat to see.”

The oldest alum to attend – Clark Crist, who was the only one not coached by Mentz in the bunch, didn’t partake in the just-for-fun game. He saw the Facebook event, and decided to show up.

Although Crist resides in Arizona, it was his first time returning to the Palo Verde High School. Instead of taking the field, he came to see how the program changed after his time, and to share his story and impart wisdom on any player still hoping to play or work in collegiate or professional baseball.

After Crist talked about his history with the sport, which included winning the 1980 CWS title with Arizona and being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 14th round of the 1980 MLB June Amateur Draft,  the rest of the alums took turns each detailing when they played for the Palo Verde program, how it helped them, and what they moved onto after their time at Palo Verde.

Once the players broke up into two teams and took the field, nothing mattered. Other than taking note for personal bragging rights, no stat was officially recorded. It didn’t matter who struck out, who had the best batting record or the day, who committed any errors, or anything.

All that mattered was that they were all Titans.

“I just want to thank every single player that ever played for me over the years,” Mentz said. “Whether they went on to play college or professional, they built [the Palo Verde baseball program]. Before 1995, the field was pretty much nonexistent. The players and their families built this field to what it is today.”

An alumni player slides into the base while another player lunges to catch the baseball
Two alumni players fist bump on the baseball field
A player swings his bat at the ball while the catcher prepares to catch it
The pitcher winds up to throw the ball
A player gets ready to swing his bat at the ball
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