Seniors say goodbye to baseball, remark on Division III status

April 29, 2014

courtesy of Jackson Krule

As the school year comes to a close, spring sports are also concluding. Although this end means a relaxing time without classes for most, it is bittersweet for seniors finishing their final sports games. On April 27, Tisch senior Jackson Krule and Stern senior Josh Coonin played their last game on the NYU club baseball team. The score was close until the second-to-last inning, when Monmouth hit a three-run homer.

“We had solid starting and relief pitching from two younger pitchers on the team, but the offense was brought fittingly by the seniors,” Coonin said. “Unfortunately, we fell short … in the end of the game, but it was a strong effort against the number one seeded team in the league.”

The final score was 7-3, but the team did not focus on scoring big as much as enjoying the opportunity to play. For Krule, who joined the team his sophomore year, the team allowed him to play the sport he loved while forming great friendships.

“I was very appreciative that we had baseball at all,” Krule said. “It was such an honor to be able to play and wear a jersey that said NYU.”

In Krule’s final speech to the team, he spoke about the “ineffability of baseball,” a concept he learned in NYU President John Sexton’s class about his book, “Baseball as a Road to God.”

“Certain aspects about baseball transcend this universe, it’s hard to put into words,” Krule said.  “Even if we would lose, which we did often this year, you got to find the parts of the game that are the real reasons you play. You can still have a lot of fun, and I think that’s something we did a lot of this year.”

Krule’s sentiment resonated with Stern freshman David Sohn.

Sohn began practicing with the team when he arrived at NYU in the fall, and he said the team helped him find spirit in a school often criticized as lacking heart, particularly in athletics.

“I have felt a strong sense of school spirit and pride while representing NYU against other schools, [even] at the club level,” Sohn said.

Despite enjoying the game, Sohn said there were downsides to playing for a club team.

“Being a club sport at NYU, we are limited in the amount that we can actually practice,” Sohn said. “Although we have free access to the batting cages on the roof of Coles whenever we want, during the season the only significant time we have on an actual baseball diamond is, for the most part, at the games themselves.”

The last time baseball was a varsity sport at NYU was in 1974. It has been a club sport for years, but in the fall of 2014, the team will be officially recognized as a Division III varsity team again.

Since Poly officially became the Polytechnic School of Engineering on Jan. 1, 2014, the two baseball teams plan to merge this fall as well. Doug Kimbler, head coach of NYU-Poly’s baseball team, will become head coach for the all-university varsity baseball team.

The many changes facing NYU baseball will give future students more opportunities to continue their love of the sport in college. But, like most changes, there are advantages and disadvantages.

“I have mixed feelings about baseball becoming an official varsity sport next year,” Sohn said. “While the program would receive ample funds and access to fields, the team would also rely heavily on recruits, leaving little room for club players like me.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 29 print edition. Sydney Pereira is a contributing writer. Email her at sports@nyunews.com.

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