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Photo courtesy of Mark Manuso

Club Baseball Looks to Build on 2016 Campaign

The 2015-2016 season was one for the record books for the Boston College club baseball team. The team finished in second place at the North Conference of the North Atlantic Division, earning an at-large bid to the NCBA Regional Championship Tournament. Although the Eagles were knocked out of the tournament, their efforts were seen and heard nonetheless.

Coming off a sub-.500 year where the Eagles found themselves third in their division, it’s safe to say that they surpassed expectations last year. This season, the team is ready to exceed them yet again. With the entire starting rotation back in action, eight of the nine starting bats returning, and only one reliever graduated, the team has been able to maintain continuity and is looking to build its rising momentum.

While the team is “just” a club team, you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at it. According to club president senior Jeff Elliott, “a good number of guys could have played at the Division III level.” Elliott, a corner outfielder, went so far as to say that if the team practiced as regularly as DIII teams, it “could definitely be competitive with DIII teams.” A typical week consists of two practices and possibly a three-game series. The team employs three pitchers—Nick Assad, Tom Clarkson, and Andrew Dawson—in its starting rotation, backed by a wealth of bullpen arms ready to come in at any moment of the game.

In addition to its proficiency on the diamond, the team appears to have a front office like any professional or collegiate team would. President Jeff Elliott’s right hand man and vice president is junior middle infielder Mark Manuso. The two collaborate in-club development and involvement in philanthropic events, such as Movember and Relay for Life.

Even a quick search of the team gives the sense that it is more than a club team. The team’s website, run by sophomore marketing major John McQuillen, includes a schedule, roster, standings, and even short summary articles detailing the team’s most recent performances on their quest for a division title, after losing last year’s on the last day of the season. On top of the website, McQuillen uses his marketing skills to run Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for the team.

While typical day-to-day decisions, practice times, locations, and schedule setting are determined by the club’s president and vice president, the head coach of the squad is Paul Andrews, a former catcher on the team. Andrews is in his third season as manager of the team. The captains of the team usually have an input or voice in decision-making on the field, but Andrews has the final say on setting the lineups and calling the signs.

While Elliott claimed that “all of [their] conference games are very important,” he did acknowledge that the “series against UMass in the spring is probably [their] biggest one” of all, especially after last year, when the Minutemen nabbed the title from the Eagles in the last game of a very successful season.

While continuity has kept the team together, there are a few new additions, including freshman second baseman Robbie Walsh from Westminster, Maryland. Walsh understands that playing opportunities could be few and far between with this veteran-laden team, meaning he is determined to take full advantage of opportunities as they come. Walsh claimed that he wants to help the team "in anyway possible,” whether that be on the field or in the dugout, as he knows there's more than one way to contribute to a successful team.

Eagles club baseball fans should keep an eye out for the highly attended annual series played in Cleveland Circle, the highlight of the season for some players. To stay updated on the team in its pursuit of a division title be sure to find them on Instagram @bcclubbaseball, Twitter @BCClubBaseball, Facebook, and on their webpage

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics. 

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