Ole Miss now has about 20 new college baseball players but they aren’t taking the field for Coach Mike Bianco, they’re playing for a new club sports team.
“Club baseball so far has been fun, kind of like reliving your old high school playing days, getting out there, meeting some new guys and just playing ball,” said Richie Wygonik, an Ole Miss club baseball player. Richie plays outfield for the team and played high school ball in his home state of Virginia.
The club is the brainchild of student Beau Parker who started recruiting in September. Team tryouts brought out about 50 players, with about half making the cut. Parker hopes to keep growing the team.
“There are a ton of people interested at this university in baseball, but it is hard to get the word out and is still a struggle for us, so we’re still working on that,” said Parker.
Club sports, in general, have been increasing at Ole Miss, according to Amanda Alpert, the head of Ole Miss sport clubs and intramurals.
“We have about 600 participants in club sports right now, and just the fact that we have added so many sport clubs is my biggest accomplishment.”
Alpert says there are between 14-18 active sports clubs on campus this year, and she hopes to grow that number to more than 25 next year.
‘It’s going to be tough trying to get interest from the student body, but that’s why we’re here,” said Alpert. Alpert says the goal of her office is to help you play the sport you love. “Don’t be scared, just come and talk to us,” she said.
The club baseball team played its first series against Stephen F. Austin over the Valentine’s Day weekend losing the series 2-1. However, Parker thinks that the team will be a lot better by the time he graduates.
“The long term goal for this thing is that by the time that I have graduated we’re Division 1 maybe the top end of Division 2 for club teams across the country. Just go on and keep winning things and dominate nationally.”
The team competes against Tulane University, March 21-22 in New Orleans.
Story contributed by Ole Miss journalism student Hunter Kirk, firstname.lastname@example.org.