I hope this letter finds you healthy and happy. Another season has come and gone and here is my attempt to give you a quick overview. We competed well and started out a little inconsistent at the plate eventually settling on a lineup during a tough southern trip with a 7-2 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. The guys continue to be a great support system to our Team Impact teammate, Cooper Martin. Cooper is 8 years old and he and his sister Gracie have spent several games in the dugout. He’s a great guy full of life battling a brain tumor but has recently ended his treatments and is doing great, back playing Little League. Our guys continue to be involved in the community as well and have stayed involved w/ with the Big Brothers of Mass Bay as well as raise funds for Homes for Our Troops.
The 2019 campaign was a successful one as we returned to the postseason and battled to win our 6th NESCAC championship!! I’m proud to announce to you that the players worked and competed hard each and every day ending the season with 31 wins. A special tip of the cap goes to our seniors who won a remarkable 116 games in their 4 years as Jumbos. We were a solid team in 2019 with multiple guys contributing to the lineup. Several young pitchers stepped up to solidify our rotation in freshmen Aidan Tucker and Mike Volgende and senior RJ Hall emerged as a force all year as our #1 starter while juniors Spencer Langdon and Brent Greeley pitched many a big game for us. This team was ably led by senior captains Will Shackelford, Harrison Frickman and RJ Hall along with fellow seniors Matt Webster, Casey Santos-Ocampo and Eric Schnepf. They did a great job and performed admirably all year long. RJ Hall repeated as 1st team All NESCAC and was named an ABCA All American; he also tied a Tufts All Time Record (winning %); he was recently named 1st team All New England and threw a solid inning in the annual College All Star game. RJ will go down as one of the best pitchers to ever wear a Tufts uniform!! JP Knight was named to the 2nd team All NESCAC, Elias Varinos – 1st team and Pete DeMaria as NESCAC Rookie of the Year while tying a Tufts Baseball record for doubles in a season.
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 7-2; highlighted by wins over ODAC playoff team Lynchburg College, Castleton St, .and #5 ranked Randolph-Macon. The kids were outstanding on the trip -- first-class in every way. Never once did they make an excuse, they kept playing hard. You’d be proud of every one of them.
The 2019 team was led by 6 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 my assistant coaches, Bob Kenny, Barry Rosen, 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 guys played hard all year and really matured when we returned north. Our pitching staff produced a very respectable 2.91 ERA in conference, second in NESCAC. Offensively we improved to finish the season hitting .319; leading the NESCAC. We also lead the NESCAC in home runs, RBIs, Hits and Total Bases. Everyone took turns coming through. Our record of 31-11 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 2020 the Jumbos will be heard from!!
We had some outstanding individual efforts this season and several of our players were awarded post-season honors:
Casey Santos-Ocampo, senior, All NESCAC Sportsmanship team
RJ Hall, senior, 1st team All NESCAC, NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, 1st Team All New England, D3.com All Region, ABCA All American
JP Knight, junior, 2nd team All NESCAC,
Peter DeMaria, frosh, 1st team All NESCAC, NESCAC Rookie of the Year
Elias Varinos, junior, 1st team All NESCAC,
We also have 3 guys placed on the NESCAC All-Academic team for the Spring Season!!!
Justin Mills, Will Shackelford and Andrew Wood
2019 Tufts Baseball Captain:
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 win the league crown in ‘20. On behalf of the players and my staff, I extend particular appreciation to all those who responded to our requests for help for our 2019 Spring Trip and especially those who became Diamond Club members. In a remarkable display of loyalty we have 68 and counting Diamond Club members in 2019. We need 11 more members to make it 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 2020 contests now against such opponents as Methodist, Lynchburg College, Guilford College, Christopher Newport and Randolph-Macon. We look forward to your support in ‘20.
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 but the time is now to improve our baseball facility. Our field has been a great source of pride for the program and we have never taken a back seat to anyone in having the top facilities in New England- now we have to join together and make our new field a reality- with your support we will continue to get it done. As you are hopefully aware we have kicked off our campaign to build a new field. Please take a few minutes to read the note below about why we need our new field. I am happy to come meet with you or speak with you anytime, if you are interested in lending some support to the project. firstname.lastname@example.org 617-627-5218 office, 508-733-0521 cell.
Have a Great Summer!
Yours in Baseball,
John W. Casey, A’80, G’83
Head Baseball Coach
2019 Tufts Baseball-Final record 31-11
2019 NESCAC Champions
2019 NCAA Regional Finalists
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!!
Let’s make this a reality
Friends of Tufts Baseball,
As many of you may be aware we have begun a fundraising effort to build a new baseball field at Tufts. I thought this would be a good time to hear from me as we have recently completed a successful 2019 season. We have been very fortunate to have a group of alumni and supporters form a committee to assist us with this effort and I hope you’ll consider joining in with a donation as well as spread the word about the project.
In my 40 years associated with Tufts Baseball I have been fortunate to encounter some of the best people I’ve ever met from teammates to coaches; from players to parents and players families. Tufts Baseball has been a blessing to me and my family and I hope it has been one to you. There are some very compelling reasons to make this project a reality--- we are all very proud of what decades of Tufts ballplayers have done both on and off the field and look forward to that continuing for many years to come.
A new lighted complex will allow Tufts Baseball to host NESCAC playoff games as well as NCAA Regional Games. Currently Tufts cannot host NESCAC playoff games (in spite of 6 consecutive 1st place East Division finishes) because lights are required and a turf field is preferred. A new facility will put the Jumbos in a very favorable position to be chosen to host NCAA play as well.
Our players are continually having to choose between classes only offered late afternoon and baseball. A lighted turf facility would allow us to practice and play games in the evenings therefore opening more academic options for our players.
We are now falling behind other NESCAC teams in terms of facilities. Trinity and Colby have lighted turf facilities and currently host the NESCAC playoffs. Hamilton has recently built a turf field, Bates a new indoor hitting facility next to their field and plans are underway for Bates, Bowdoin, and others to turf and light their fields.
Tufts Baseball has always taken a great deal of pride in having one of the best fields and baseball programs in New England and that assessment is now at risk. We have always rallied together to take on any challenge and I am asking you to once again step up and make the new baseball complex at Tufts a reality. Our players have taken great pride in the accomplishments of those who have gone before them and we as a program have always believed that each player must “leave this a better program than when they came in”. Let’s position Tufts Baseball for even greater future success by supporting this exciting project.