FARMINGTON — In what's become a yearly tradition, Strike Zone players past and present took to the field for a little fun in a friendly scrimmage on Friday at the Farmington Sports Complex.
For the current members of the Strike Zone roster, the scrimmage is preparation as the team readies itself to host the Connie Mack World Series for the fifth straight season, while the former Strike Zone players look for bragging against their old team.
"We're all buddies and a family," Strike Zone head coach Adam Morrissey said. "It's nice with the old guys versus the new guys."
With a nearly three-week layoff between the city tournament final and the opening game of the CMWS, the scrimmage serves an important function for the current team. Players get the chance to see quality competition, as many of the former players are still on college rosters across the country.
"It's mainly about the competition," said Damion Lovato, a former Strike Zone player and the current team's assistant coach. "Just being ex-players, we try to talk a lot of trash and play the mental game with them, and see if they can handle that side of it. It keeps them in the groove and tuned up for the World Series. This three-week break is kind of a struggle."
Austin Davis, who will be playing in his first CMWS, sees the benefits of competing against and learning from the Strike Zone alumni.
"We get to see live arms, and then to get to play defense against college batters is also good. You'll get a lot of opportunities to make plays," said Davis, who graduated from Farmington High in 2013. "It's like an extra practice, and it's good for us."
While waiting for the series to commence, the current Strike Zone team has been hard at work in the batting cages and on the practice field to prepare for a tough opening game against the 13-time CMWS champion Midland Redskins on Friday night.
"We've been practicing here and at the Zone, just getting our hacks in at least," Davis said. "Defensive work has been the main point the last couple days, then we just expect to be out here every day. We just have the mindset to go out and compete in the World Series."