I truly hope this letter finds you healthy and happy. Another season has come and gone (34 as a coach for me!) and here is my attempt to give you a quick overview. We fought hard and started out a little shaky but settled down quickly on a tough southern trip with a 6-3 record. I want to emphasize how genuinely proud I am of the way these young men conduct themselves on and off the field. The way all involved with Tufts Baseball have continued to show concern and support others continues to inspire me every day of my life. We continue to support Kevin Galasso as he continues his recovery from lymphoma. We are hopeful Kev will find his way back to the mound on Huskins this fall. The guys were a great support system to one of our 1st year catchers and his family as his Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and Coach Kenny and I want to express our thanks for all the support we have received as Bob’s sister, Michelle and my brother, Eddie continue their respective battles against these insidious diseases. Our guys continue to be involved in the community as well and have stayed involved w/ Adrian parents often visiting them at their home in Malden as well as volunteering with the Big Brothers of Mass Bay.
The 2016 campaign was a successful one as we returned to the postseason and won the 2016 NESCAC Championship! I’m proud to announce to you that the players worked and competed hard each and every day setting the school record with 35 wins. A special tip of the cap goes to our seniors who won an amazing 117 games in their 4 years as Jumbos. We were a solid, deep team in 2016 with multiple guys contributing to the lineup. Several pitchers stepped up to create a very solid bullpen as our big 3 starters (Varinos, Superko and David) were a force all year. This team was brilliantly led by senior captain Cody McCallum along with fellow seniors Joe Ferrera, Matt Moser, Kevin Godin and Andrew David. They did a great job and performed admirably all year long. Junior Speros Varinos 1st team All New England and NESCAC Pitcher of the Year and junior Harry Brown 3rd team All New England, 1st team All NESCAC were solid leaders and contributed greatly to the development of our younger players.
We began our season with a challenging spring trip that consisted of 9 games in 10 days. We played some excellent teams and had a record of 6-3; highlighted by wins over USAC playoff team Averett and NCAA qualifier Castleton St. The kids were outstanding on the trip -- first-class in every way. Never once did they make an excuse, they kept playing. You’d be proud of each and every one of them.
The 2016 team was led by 5 seniors and a strong junior class. Their dedication was the key to our development as a team. Also, a great deal of credit should go to the assistant coaches, Bob Kenny, Connor McDavitt and Brendan Casey. It is no coincidence that we surged to a new level with the return of longtime assistant Bob Clarke after a 2 year hiatus. They did a great job of working with the players and keeping them focused. These coaches also put in a lot of hours helping with the golf tournament and alumni game. They serve Tufts well and deserve our appreciation.
The kids played hard all year and really matured when we returned north. Our pitching staff produced a very respectable 3.25 ERA first in NESCAC and top 20 nationally. Defensively the team lead NESCAC in fielding at a .962 clip (top 30 nationally) improving dramatically as we settled on our lineup. Offensively we improved to finish the season hitting .293; with Cody McCallum and Harry Brown setting the table as the top of our lineup all year long, losing Cody in the NESCAC playoffs was a tough blow but the play of Stephan White, Chris Zazzali and Casey Santos-Ocampo really picked the team up. Everyone took turns coming through. Our record of 35-8 was a tribute to the kids’ ability to play hard every day. Our guys competed well
and were bitterly disappointed in the NCAA regional finals, but with a strong core of returning players in 2017, the lessons learned will serve us well.
Dave Wilbur’s Beverly HS team is having another strong season at the top of the Northeastern Conference standings!! Dave is owed special thanks for his great loyalty to the program and immeasurable help in identifying top student-athletes. Mike Ward’s Salem State Vikings had another terrific season winning consecutive MASCAC regular season crowns and making a strong run in the NCAA D3 regionals and their future looks bright. Congrats to Coach Brian Casey, the #1 assistant at William and Mary for helping the Tribe win their 1st CAA Championship since 2001 and a spot in the NCAA D1 regionals. Coach Kev Casey helped guide the Northeastern Huskies to the CAA playoffs as well. Congrats are due to Coach Pinzino, the pitching coach at the Univ of Oklahoma for a strong run in the Big 12 tournament. Coach Jay Tower finished his 1st season with Roger Williams Univ and has a good core coming back. Coach Paul Svagdis had another terrific season at Azusa Pacific Univ. with a 30-20 record and a 25-11 PacWest slate. Finally special congratulations to Coach Cheryl Pinzino and the Tufts Softball team for another NESCAC East title and Coach Mike Daly and the Men’s Lacrosse team as they competed in the National Championship game against Salisbury!
We had some outstanding individual efforts this season and several of our players were awarded post-season honors:
Kevin Godin, senior, All NESCAC Sportsmanship team
Matt Moser, senior, 2nd team All NESCAC,
Cody McCallum, senior, 2nd team All NESCAC,
Tom O’Hara, sophomore, 1st team All NESCAC, 3rd team All New England, 2nd team D3.com All Region
Andrew David, senior, 3rd team All New England, 2nd team All NESCAC, 3rd team D3.com All Region
Harry Brown, junior, 1st team All NESCAC, 3rd team All NEW England
Speros Varinos, junior, NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, 1st team All NESCAC, 1st team All New England, 3rd team All American, D3.com NE Pitcher of the Year
We also have 7 guys placed on the NESCAC All-Academic team for the Spring Season!!!
I’m extremely proud of these young men and the honors they have brought to the University. We are committed to work even harder to defend our league crown in ‘17. On behalf of the players and my staff, I extend particular appreciation to all those who responded to our requests for help for our 2016 Spring Trip and especially those who became Diamond Club members. In a remarkable display of loyalty we have 60 and counting Diamond Club members in 2016. That is our largest number ever so if you are so inclined please feel free to become a Diamond Club member. We play one of the toughest schedules in New England and feel proud to carry on that tradition. We are scheduling 2017 contests now against such opponents as Methodist, Lynchburg College, Guilford College, Eastern Connecticut, Virginia Wesleyan and Salem St. We look forward to your support in ‘17.
In closing, thanks for your support and enthusiasm; we are constantly working to improve our program and facilities. It has long been a goal for our players to leave the program better than when they came in. We’ve come a long way and are working hard to finish things off. I
would like to again publicly thank all those alumni whose generosity made this work possible. Your efforts have made our indoor and outdoor facilities among the best in New England. Our field is a great source of pride for the program and we take a back seat to no one in having the top facilities in New England- with your support we will continue to get it done.
A goal in 2016-17 is to raise additional funds to help our scouting/recruiting budget as well as compensate our assistant coaches in a fair manner; if you are interested in lending some support please contact me.
I have enclosed additional information for you; 1) forms to help in identifying student-athletes (your help is greatly appreciated here), and 2) Alumni Weekend wrap-up.
Special thanks to those alumni who referred prospective student-athletes. Your referral network for players is a huge boon to our recruiting efforts.
Have a Great Summer!
Yours in Baseball,
John W. Casey, A’80, G’83
Head Baseball Coach
2016 Final Record: 35-8
P.S. Our kids take great pride in wearing the Tufts uniform and in living up to the great tradition
of Tufts baseball that’s been left to them by all of you. THANK YOU!!