On Nov. 6, the Virginia Tech club baseball team held its national champions banner unveiling and pre-game ceremony at the Old Blacksburg High School.
Before the team members warmed up in the early morning for their game against Coastal Carolina, they gathered with family, friends, and members of the Hokie community for the celebration. They reflected on the euphoric moment when the team won the National Club Baseball Association’s World Series in Pittsburg, Kansas.
During the national championship game against Iowa State in June 2021, the team won 6-0. Braden Huebsch pitched a perfect game, and both Huebsch and Skylar Petry were named Co-MVPs of the tournament. This is the first time that the club baseball team has won the championship.
T-shirts were passed around to the first 50 students in attendance from a table where the team’s three-tier trophy stood – a proud display of the club’s teamwork and dedication over the year. Guests waited to watch the club baseball team members unveil their 2021 National Champions banner and reminisce on the moments that led them here.
“To have the support of family and friends, it’s everything. We’re a good ball club filled with great baseball players. It means a lot to the guys that play on this team, whether those people who support us know it or not, it really validates all the hard work we’ve done, ”said previous club baseball president and Virginia Tech graduate student Jonathan Spaulding.
What makes this team’s accomplishments more impressive is that sport club teams at Virginia Tech are run by student club officers and supported by Recreational Sports. Team members took it upon themselves to raise the money to afford the trip to Pittsburg. With the help of family, friends, their marketing team, and fellow athletes, the team slowly accumulated the necessary funds – all of which was organized by the team.
“Our marketing guy set up a bingo board that we posted on Instagram. I know a lot of my high school friends pitched in to help us out. Everybody was sending us five dollars or so, and it added up. I don’t remember how much we raised, but it was pretty awesome to see the support from different communities so that we could go out and play a club baseball game, ”said senior finance major Kyle Eagle, last year’s treasurer and current president.
The support for the team didn’t end there. Spaulding’s lifelong friend and recent Virginia Tech graduate, Evan Hughes, volunteered to announce at the Coastal Carolina game. Spaulding and Hughes’ friendship began when they were 9 years old. Hughes, who recently received his degree in multimedia journalism, mentioned that Jonathan’s love for baseball sparked his own passion for announcing.
“I was beyond ecstatic to hear about the team’s national championship, because I know just how much work that everybody puts into this. With the amount of fundraising and the amount of travel they had to do last year, plus the commitment during COVID when there were a lot of restrictions, shows that they were willing to go and do whatever they needed to do, ”Hughes said. “I have this distinct image in my head of Jonathan and I being 10-year-old kids in elementary school and I remember watching him play baseball, and now he’s a national champion.”
Throughout the morning it became clear that the team’s main goal is to have fun. Team members strive to hold one another accountable and to continually improve the culture within the group, and in the process, they’ve built unbreakable bonds with each other. Members noted that they’re a competitive group who play club baseball, not for a coach or a title, but for themselves.
Sport club teams represent Virginia Tech and play against other colleges and universities, but are not part of the university’s National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) athletics program. There are currently 29 sport club teams that are supported by Recreational Sports. Sport clubs are a great way to develop lasting friendships, leadership skills, and to have fun. You can follow the journey of the Virginia Tech club baseball team and other sport clubs on social media or learn more online.
Written by Tayten Allison