The Dallas College Brookhaven Campus men’s baseball season was abruptly ended in the Spring semester due to the pandemic. According to the Brookhaven athletics website, the team played its last game March 28.
With only 24 of 48 games played, the team ended the season with a record of 18-6. In an email to The Courier, Lucas Abbott, a sophomore, said: “We had a great season up to that point. We were ranked No. 3 in the nation and had our eyes set on the national championship. … Having the season taken away wasn’t the only disappointing part though, knowing that it was the last time that specific group of guy[s] would play together was sad.”
The season began Jan. 29, hosting Cisco College, but changes happened as the coaching staff was moved around at the last minute.
Kevin Hurst, Brookhaven athletics director, said he took over as interim baseball head coach. On Feb. 3, Tyler Seibert, former baseball assistant coach, left to take a job with an Oakland A’s minor league baseball team, and Shaquille Thomas, current baseball assistant coach, was promoted to take his place.
Thomas had experience as to what it takes to do the job coming into the season. What made the team great was the leadership of the players, Thomas said. “We had a good group of guys who knew what they needed to do daily, and they worked those little days to make sure everyone was on the same page, make sure people were getting their work in [and] make sure everyone was accountable,” Thomas said.
THE FINAL GAME
“We had just received the news that it could possibly be the last game of our season, and Juliet [Junior College] was a talented team,” Abbott said. Brookhaven trailed 4-6 heading into the sixth inning but took the lead by scoring six runs, while Juliet only scored two. Juliet was able to score two more runs to tie the game and force an extra inning. Abbott said the team then ended the game with a walk-off hit. This was a team that pulled off a walk-off hit five times, Thomas said.
While the short-lived success of the baseball season never came to a conclusion, there was still much to learn from it. “We were playing at a really high level when they shut us down,” Hurst said. “And I would have really loved to be able to finish out that season and see what would have happened. There was a focus to get back to the College World Series.”
Sixteen of the 28 players from that season will return to the program, Hurst said. Of the ones that moved on, four are now playing at four-year schools, six transferred to finish their degrees and two are injured.
However, Hurst said he understands that in sports just as in life, the unexpected can occur such as the pandemic.
Abbott said, “I’m really looking forward to this season and making another run at a national championship.”
WHAT COACHING MEANS
Hurst said he believes sports have the power to help teach and shape the minds of young people. “Sports does so much to teach you about life and help you with life,” Hurst said. “Because life is about dealing with situations as they happen. And life is about dealing with failure and life is about dealing with success.”
The coaching staff is vital to the success of the team, Abbott said. “The coaching staff did a great job all of last season.”
The coaching staff acknowledged the hard work of the team which will help the team move past this season, and carry the momentum to the next season.