Baseball has faced an uphill climb at Boston University for many years. New England’s blustery March’s and April’s have never been conducive with fielding a spring baseball squad, and yet the history of BU baseball is a rich one. Names like Cochrane, Cleverly, Agganis, Gastall and Masick highlight BU’s hay-day as one of New England’s premiere baseball programs.
Unfortunately, the varsity program was cut in 1973, and remained so until the late 1980′s, when the team was bumped from club to varsity status. Led by BU Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Jeff Fisher, Dave Cunningham and Paul Perillo, the teams of the late 80s kept the Terrier baseball tradition alive. However, due to a number of factors, including sub-par facilities and conflicts with the NCAA’s Title IX, the program was again cut in 1996.
It would not take long before the baseball bug would again make its way back to Commonwealth Avenue, however, and in 1999, a third era of BU Baseball began.
Kevin Scheitrum, a 2007 COM graduate and former Terrier catcher, wrote about the program’s expansion following a 2004 New England Club Baseball Association (NECBA) Championship:
When the short fly ball dropped into leftfielder Nando Trindade’s glove last Oct. 24, we’d done it. After toiling in darkness and irrelevance for years, the Boston University baseball team had reached one of its primary goals-its first league championship.
Losing only two games all season long, we were the dominant team in [NECBA], our home since the 2001 season. Only the University of New England had beaten us, both games by the same pitcher. But, with a late-game rally that brought us back from down two runs in the seventh, we took care of them in the title game.
The win was the culmination of years of work not only to improve, but to simply begin. To scratch by. To exist. After BU dropped its varsity baseball program in 1996, the idea of baseball here lay dormant. Disillusionment was obvious, detachment even more so. Those who had played baseball here distanced themselves from the University and the idea of resurrecting a program.
But in 1999, when Nirv Patel and Lazar Berman were shocked to find BU without a baseball program, they set to work. A few other students-not many-were interested. The club sports office wasn’t unreceptive, but it took a realist stance. How could it do otherwise? Without a field on campus, equipment or realizing the sincerity of the initiative, PERD found it tough to recognize the group of guys as an official club.
But the guys banded together. At 6 a.m., they practiced. It’s very cold in Boston at 6 a.m. There was no money and no games, but the dream was there. And it grew, as players slowly but continuously joined the cause. With more momentum and a more defined goal, PERD agreed to recognize the group as a club if they could come up with money, a field and opponents. With the same tenacity with which they practiced at 6 a.m., the team met the goals, and earned recognition as an official club in the spring of 2001.”
The program has continued to progress, leaving the NECBA for the National Club Baseball Association for the 2006-2007 school year. Through two full seasons, the Terriers have twice finished second in the North Conference of the North Atlantic Region, barely missing out on a trip to the regional tournament in Williamsport, PA.
BU once again enrolled with NECBA for the 2008-2009 season, falling to a strong Northeastern squad in the semi-finals of the conference tournament. The opportunity to play fall ball in NECBA, along with an expanded conference schedule for the NCBA means that challenges await a young BU squad, and as club baseball continues to grow across the country, we at BU are excited for what the future has in store.
-Jake Seiner 11′ , Catcher and Daily Free Press Sports Editor