I truly hope this letter finds you healthy and happy. Another season has come and gone (35 as a coach for me!) and here is my attempt to give you a quick overview. We fought hard and started out really well at the plate eventually settling on a lineup during a tough southern trip with an 8-1 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. One of the highlights of our trip was seeing Kevin Galasso return to action against St Vincent’s as he threw a scoreless inning after his recovery from lymphoma. Kev went on to have a great season with a 1.93 ERA in 13 appearances. The guys were a great support system to our sophomore catcher and his family as his Dad continues his battle with pancreatic cancer and the team also adopted a Team Impact child, Cooper Martin. Cooper is 6 years old and he and his sister Gracie have spent several games in the dugout. He’s a great guy, full of life despite battling a brain tumor. Our guys continue to be involved in the community as well and have stayed involved w/ with the Big Brothers of Mass Bay.
The 2017 campaign was a successful one as we returned to the postseason and defended our crown winning the 2017 NESCAC Championship! I’m proud to announce to you that the players worked and competed hard each and every day ending the season with 30 wins. A special tip of the cap goes to our seniors who won an amazing 125 games in their 4 years as Jumbos. We were a solid, deep team in 2017 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 Hall) were a force all year. This team was ably led by senior captains Speros Varinos, Tim Superko and Harry Brown along with fellow seniors Oscar Kutch, Matt Rothstein, Charlie McQuinn, Rory Ziomek and Tom Petry. They did a great job and performed admirably all year long. Speros Varinos repeated as 1st team All New England, NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, NE D3 Pitcher of the Year and was recently named an All American. Junior Nick Falkson 3rd team All New England, 1st team All NESCAC and NESCAC Player of the Year joined with Speros as 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 8-1; highlighted by wins over ODAC playoff team Va. Wesleyan 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 2017 team was led by 8 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, Bob Clarke and Brendan Casey. 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 3.18 ERA first in NESCAC and 11th nationally. Defensively the team lead NESCAC in fielding at a .966 clip (top 40 nationally) improving dramatically as we settled on our lineup. Offensively we improved to finish the season hitting .295; with Oscar Kutch and Harry Brown setting the table as the top of our lineup. Everyone took turns coming through. Our record of 30-10-1 was a tribute to the kids’ ability to play hard every day. Our guys competed well and were bitterly disappointed in the NCAA regionals, but with a strong core of returning players in 2018, 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. Congrats to Coach Brian Casey, the #1 assistant at William and Mary for helping the Tribe return to the CAA playoffs again and their third 30 win season in a row. Coach Kev Casey helped guide the Northeastern Huskies to their 1st CAA Regular Season Championship. Coach Jay Tower finished his 2nd season with Roger Williams and has a good core coming back. Coach Paul Svagdis had another terrific season at Azusa Pacific Univ. with a 42-12 record and PacWest title, Paul was also named the PacWest Coach of the Year-well done Paul, we are proud of you!!. Special congratulations to Coach Mike Daly and the Brown Lacrosse team as they competed in the Ivy League playoffs in Mike’s first year at the helm there, a lot more success is coming to Providence, RI!
We had some outstanding individual efforts this season and several of our players were awarded post-season honors:
Harry Brown, senior, All NESCAC Sportsmanship team
Oscar Kutch, senior, 1st team All NESCAC,
Will Shackelford, sophomore, 2nd team All NESCAC,
Tommy O’Hara, junior, 1st team All NESCAC, 2nd team All New England, 3rd team D3.com All Region
Nick Falkson, junior, 3rd team All New England, 1st team All NESCAC, 2nd team D3.com All Region, NESCAC Player of the Year
Speros Varinos, senior, NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, 1st team All NESCAC, 1st team All New England, NE Pitcher of the Year, D3.com All American, D3.com NE Pitcher of the Year, 2017 Rawlings All American
We also have 6 guys placed on the NESCAC All-Academic team for the Spring Season!!!
2017 Tufts Baseball Captains: Nick Falkson, Tommy O’Hara
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 ‘18. On behalf of the players and my staff, I extend particular appreciation to all those who responded to our requests for help for our 2017 Spring Trip and especially those who became Diamond Club members. In a remarkable display of loyalty we have 63 and counting Diamond Club members in 2017. 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 2018 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 ‘18.
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 2017-18 is to kick off our campaign to build a new field. We will have more definitive plans in the very near future but we are currently discussing a lighted turf field with seating for 600 or so; if you are interested in lending some support please contact me.
Have a Great Summer!
Yours in Baseball,
John W. Casey, A’80, G’83
Head Baseball Coach
2017 Tufts Baseball-Final record 30-10-1
2017 NESCAC Champions
2017 NCAA Regionals
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!!