The razzing started early.
The Rocky Mountain High School alumni baseball team wasn’t about to take it easy on the current varsity squad.
Before first pitch in Saturday’s Rocky Mountain alumni game, the former stars stood outside the dugout warning the pitcher that he needed to be careful of how he threw to them in the exhibition of current stars versus former stars.
It was a startling array of talent gathered at Gabe Pando Park.
Most schools don’t have a group of alumni like the Rocky Mountain baseball program does.
The roster of about 30 former players included four current professionals, more playing college ball right now and even more who have finished high-level college careers.
But on this team, everyone was even.
They say you kid because you care. If that’s the case, there must be a special bond in the program that has won five state titles, including four-straight from 2007-10.
No one was immune from the ribbing.
Andy Burns — who was on two of those four-straight title teams — was greeted with howls of laughter from his own dugout when current varsity pitcher Kadin Breeze had him off balance with a couple of changeups before inducing a weak ground ball.
That’s the same Burns who just hit .293 this season in Triple-A in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Later Burns took the mound. He was a flame-throwing closer in his high school days. But after letting in a couple runs, he was greeted by the alumni “pitching coach” trying to straighten him out.
The “pitching coach” was none other than Marco Gonzales, the winning pitcher in all four title games from 2007-10 and current St. Louis Cardinals pitcher.
Gonzales later stood in the batters box and feigned that he was going to charge the mound when a pitch came inside on him.
The culprit? Marco’s little brother Alex.
Bryan Peters, who starred at Nebraska, came in to pitch and showed he’s still got it. He was throwing heat and painting corners.
Coach Scott Bullock stood by the whole time, providing a running commentary as each former player came up. With precise detail, Bullock recalled some of their greatest high school moments.
For the players, it was a flashback to some of their greatest times. And they made sure to fully enjoy it.
Alex Kelly — who was an All-American at Saint Louis University — hit a laser-beam home run to left.
As he rounded third, he tossed his helmet in the air and was greeted by the whole team at home plate as they celebrated as if they had won the World Series.
It was a collection of talent greater than has probably ever been seen on a high school field in Colorado.
It was almost as if they’d never left.
In a way, they haven’t.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.