Tag Archives: baseball

SAA trophies won by Berry teams in 2017-18

Berry softball seniors

From left, softball seniors Kassie Howard, Brittany Tuttle, Kylie Aiken and Elisabeth Federici show off the eight SAA championship trophies (four regular season, four tournament) won in their four years at Berry.

Eight – that’s the number of conference championships won by Berry teams in 2017-18, a new high for the program in NCAA Division III. The number is even more impressive when you add the 10 individual titles won by student-athletes in women’s golf, swimming and diving, and track and field. It has been a spectacular year by any measure, with national qualifiers in 10 different sports: football, volleyball, cross country, men’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s track and field (indoor and outdoor), softball, women’s golf, and equestrian.

It would take a year’s worth of Alumni Accents to list all of the highlights produced by Berry student-athletes since our last issue, but we do want to give a virtual “high-five” to the softball team, which won its first NCAA regional championship en route to a sparkling 39-6 finish.

Kudos are also due women’s golf, which earned a top-10 finish in its NCAA national tournament debut, and equestrian, which posted five individual top-10 finishes at western nationals. In addition, Alainna Chretien (18C) capped a stellar track and field career by qualifying for NCAA outdoor nationals – a first for Berry – shattering the school record at 1,500 meters in the process.

Not to be forgotten is the SAA regular-season championship won by Berry’s baseball team, another first in the NCAA era. The Vikings came tantalizingly close to a national tournament bid of their own before closing the season with a 29-13 record.

Visit berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics, including the many individual accolades claimed by Berry student-athletes this spring.

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Men's Basketball Team Celebrates Championship

Above: Members of the Berry men’s basketball team celebrate at midcourt after winning the Southern Athletic Association tournament championship. The Vikings became the first No. 8 seed in SAA history to accomplish the feat.

Genesis Leggett Qualifies for Indoor Nationals

Sophomore Genesis Leggett made history in March as Berry’s first NCAA qualifier in track and field. She competed in the weight throw at indoor nationals.

Basketball, equestrian, swimming and diving, track and field, softball, and golf – regardless of the sport, Berry student-athletes can’t get enough of national competition this semester, and more is yet to come!

In the last week alone, Berry has locked up NCAA Division III national tournament invitations – and conference championships – in softball and women’s golf.  The baseball team can join them by winning this weekend’s SAA championship series in the friendly confines of Bowdoin Field. The men’s 4×100 relay team may also get a crack at nationals after blazing to victory at the SAA track and field championships.

Earlier this semester, senior Haley Brown earned honorable mention All-America recognition as one of four national qualifiers from the women’s swimming and diving team. Sophomore Genesis Leggett, meanwhile, became the first Berry track athlete, male or female, to compete nationally in the NCAA era, qualifying for indoor nationals in the weight throw. Not to be outdone, six members of the equestrian team have punched their tickets to nationals in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

Fittingly, all of this success got started with a bit of madness – February Madness, in this case – courtesy of the men’s basketball team. After finishing eighth in the regular season, the Vikings made history with three wins in three days to claim Berry’s first conference championship in men’s basketball since 1992. Read more about their magical run in this oral history by student Noah Syverson.

Follow the action in all sports at www.berryvikings.com.

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Collin McHugh pitches in World SeriesCollin McHugh (09c) celebrates after striking out a Los Angeles Dodgers batter in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. Photo courtesy of the Houston Astros.

Collin McHugh with David Beasley at Berry's Bowdoin Field.

Collin McHugh talks with Berry baseball coach David Beasley during a Jan. 23 workout at Bowdoin Field.

A decade has passed since Collin McHugh (09c) last took the mound for the Berry baseball team, but the Houston Astros pitcher remains a Viking at heart. Recently, the 2017 World Series champion returned to campus and spent the day sharing his experiences and insight with current students.

“I really do love this school,” McHugh said. “I had a great experience here.”

McHugh played three seasons with the Vikings before embarking on a professional career when he was drafted by the New York Mets in 2008. He spent the next six years climbing baseball’s minor-league ladder, making brief major-league stops in New York and Colorado, before finally landing a permanent roster spot with Houston. His journey was chronicled in this 2015 Berry magazine feature.

Since joining the Astros, McHugh has compiled a 48-28 record with 567 strikeouts in 102 regular-season starts. He’s also made four playoff appearances, including two innings of relief duty in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.

That outing got off to a rocky start – McHugh walked two batters and gave up a three-run homer in his first inning of work – but he finished strong, retiring five of the last six batters he faced. The strikeout he recorded to end his final inning sparked a memorable burst of emotion (pictured above) out of the former Berry standout.

“That was kind of a microcosm of my career,” McHugh said. “So you put yourself into trouble, get knocked around a little bit and then have to figure out a way to get through it.

“When I was able to get that strikeout, I think the emotion of the crowd and the emotion of the moment – the emotion of the whole year – kind of washed over me. It was just a really powerful moment for me in baseball.”

During his Jan. 23 visit to Berry, McHugh spent time with this year’s baseball team and interacted with students taking classes in sports communication and sports administration. Later, during evening remarks in Krannert Center, he stressed the importance of goal setting, hard work and thankfulness. In every interaction, his appreciation for Berry shined through.

“This is where I really cut my teeth on how to play and how to pitch and taking my game to the next level,” he said. “I’ve always had a special place in my heart not just for Coach (David) Beasley but for the whole staff and for the organization and the team here.”

More coverage

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David BeasleyDavid Beasley’s impressive ability to prepare student-athletes for success on the baseball field and in life has earned him induction into the Rome-Floyd Sports Hall of Fame. A quick glance at Beasley’s accomplishments tells the story:

  • 563 wins (and counting), first all-time among Berry coaches
  • 98 percent graduation rate among his players
  • 14 All-Americans
  • 9 Academic All-Americans
  • 22 future pros including Collin McHugh (09c), the first Berry player to reach the Major Leagues.
  • 48 former players who are now coaches, including six at the college level and 42 in the high school ranks

This spring, Beasley’s Vikings are well on their way to their 16th winning season in his 19 years as head coach. Click here to follow their progress.

 

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Berry Softball

A second consecutive Southern Athletic Association regular-season championship in women’s softball and David Beasley’s 500th win in 17 seasons as Berry baseball coach highlighted the spring sports season. The women’s softball team surpassed its single-season record for wins with 31 and advanced to the finals of the SAA postseason tournament before falling to Birmingham-Southern College. The baseball team set a record of its own with 29 wins, a new high for NCAA Division III. Other notable achievements included a 17-2 finish in women’s tennis and a trip to western nationals for the equestrian team.

Two Berry student-athletes have been invited to compete abroad this summer. Senior volleyball standout and honorable mention All-American Stephanie Quinn will tour Brazil as part of the USA DIII Women’s Volleyball Team, while senior Andrea Cole will take her softball talents to Australia for six games sponsored by USA Athletes International.

Spring also brought news that NCAA competition will come to Berry this fall in the form of the Nov. 15 Division III South/Southeast Regional cross country meet.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Jellum.

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Collin McHugh

Collin McHugh addresses Berry baseball players and their families during a recent visit to campus. Photo by student Blake Childers.

In 2012, Collin McHugh (09c) experienced the dizzying heights of a Major League Baseball debut that was nearly flawless,striking out nine batters in seven scoreless innings as a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. A year later, the right-handed hurler found himself in the midst of a prolonged “lesson in understanding and managing expectations” as he bounced between two organizations and six affiliated teams in pursuit of a career in the majors. This spring brings a new organization – the Houston Astros – and a fresh perspective for the former Berry standout, who recently returned to campus to address current players and their families.

“We believe things happen for a reason,” Collin wrote in a blog post picked up by ESPN New York. “And some things won’t change just because we change cities: I expect to be a great husband; I expect to be a great teammate; I expect to treat everyone with respect; baseball will be baseball, but I expect to work my hardest in the hope of reaching my fullest potential as a ballplayer … wherever that may be.”

Keep up with Collin’s progress by reading his blog and following him on Twitter.

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In the June issue of the Alumni Accent, we reported that former Berry baseball standout Collin McHugh (09c) had been promoted to the New York Mets’ Class AAA affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., just one step short of the big leagues. Two months later, on Aug. 23, he made history as the first former Viking to compete in a Major League Baseball game, thrilling his parents in the stands (and his friends at Berry) by striking out nine batters in seven scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies. You can see all nine strikeouts in the MLB.com video at right.

Collin was drafted by the Mets organization at the conclusion of his junior year at Berry, where he posted a 13-9 record with five saves from 2006-08.

Click the links below for coverage of his debut in the New York media. You can also read Collin’s blog, A Day Older, A Day Wiser, and follow him on Twitter.

New York Times
New York Post
New York Daily News

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Collin McHugh

Courtesy of WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y.

Former Berry pitching standout Collin McHugh (09c) is one step from the majors after being promoted to the New York Mets’ Class AAA affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y. Collin, who pitched for Berry from 2006-08, earned his promotion after posting a 5-5 record with a 2.41 ERA at Class AA Binghamton, where he was Pitcher of the Year in 2011. In addition to his pitching prowess, Collin is also a social media sensation. His blog, A Day Older, A Day Wiser, has gained mainstream coverage from outlets such as ESPN New York, while his musings on Twitter have attracted more than 1,400 followers.

Also making news this spring is Jim Owen (81C), one of the many Berry alumni enjoying success as collegiate golf coaches. Jim recently reached the pinnacle of his profession – again – by leading Oglethorpe University to the 2012 NCAA Division III men’s golf championship. The title is the second in four years for Jim and the Stormy Petrels; Oglethorpe is only the sixth school to win multiple championships in the 37-year history of the event. Next season, Jim will find himself coaching against his alma mater as Oglethorpe and Berry begin play in the Southern Athletic Association.

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