Tag Archives: David Beasley

Dylan Beasley Pitches for Nationals Affiliate
Elijah HirshIt’s not uncommon for college athletes to dream of a career in the professional ranks, but few ever get the opportunity to pursue that path. Count Dylan Beasley and Elijah Hirsh (19C) among that select group.

Just weeks after the completion of his junior season at Berry, Beasley (above) became the first Viking in the NCAA era selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. Taken in the 32nd round by the Washington Nationals, the son of longtime Berry baseball coach David Beasley got his first taste of professional baseball with the Nationals’ rookie affiliate in the Gulf Coast League but quickly earned promotion to the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League. Notably, he was the only junior in all of Division III taken in the draft. Read more.

Hirsh (right) has signed a two-year professional basketball contract with Elitzur Kiryat Ata. The club competes in Liga Leumit, one of the top Israeli basketball leagues and a member of FIBA Europe, a zone within the International Basketball Federation. Earlier this year, Hirsh capped his history-making Berry career as the 2019 Southern Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in leading the Vikings to a 19-7 record, an NCAA program best.

While Beasley and Hirsh pursue professional success, their fellow Vikings are gearing up for another exciting year of Berry athletics. Fall semester is already off to a strong start, with preseason national rankings in volleyball, football and men’s golf. Visit berryvikings.com for complete coverage.

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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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Hundreds of alumni and friends made their way “home” May 15-17 for Alumni Weekend, with many remaining on campus in the days that followed for the 30th annual observance of Alumni Work Week.

Eight different classes celebrated reunions, with two – 1965A and 1965C – joining the ranks of Berry’s Golden Guard (a distinction reserved for alumni who have been out at least 50 years). Excellence was rewarded with presentation of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s winners included:

David Grindle (93C), Distinguished Achievement
Joy Padgett Johnson (73C), Distinguished Service
Jeff Jahn (07C), Entrepreneurial Spirit
Brin Enterkin (12C), Outstanding Young Alumni

Alumni WeekendOther individuals singled out for special recognition included retiring Director of Choral Activities Harry Musselwhite and longtime baseball coach David Beasley, Berry’s newest honorary alumni. Bettyann O’Neill and Joni Kenyon were honored with the Alumni Association President’s Award, while Tom Raulerson (66C) received the Berry High Schools/Berry Academy Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award.

The big winner among the reunion classes was the college class of 1965, which claimed the Viking Cup (highest giving percentage), Ford Cup (highest total amount given) and Heritage Cup (greatest increase in Berry Heritage Society membership). The Reunion Cup (highest percentage attendance) went to the academy class of 1965, while the college class of 1955 won the Martha Cup (greatest percentage increase in gifts). The total amount of reunion gifts contributed by all classes was an impressive $1.16 million.

Photos: Alumni Weekend

Media coverage: Berry alumni return for Work Week

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Collin McHughCollin McHugh (09c) enters 2015 as one of the hottest pitchers in Major League Baseball after capping his first season with the Houston Astros as the No. 4 finisher in American League Rookie of the Year balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. McHugh posted an 11-9 record in 25 starts for Houston, leading the Astros with 157 strikeouts and tallying a sparkling 2.73 earned run average, best in the majors for first-year pitchers who threw a minimum of 150 innings.

The first Berry player to reach the majors returned to his old stomping grounds in mid-January for a quick visit with longtime Vikings coach David Beasley and current players. Soon it’ll be off to the Astros’ spring-training home in Kissimmee, Fla., to begin preparations for the new season. Look for more on McHugh’s amazing journey in the next issue of Berry magazine, due out in February. In the meantime, let us be the first to say PLAY BALL!

McHugh’s blog.

Photo courtesy of the Houston Astros

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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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