BLUFFTON UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES HOME OPENER FOR 2007 BASEBALL SEASON
Bluffton University announced today that its baseball team will open its 2007 season with a home contest against conference-foe College of Mount St. Joseph at 4 p.m. Friday, March 30. The two teams will meet up again on Saturday, March 31, for a doubleheader slated to begin at noon.
"After consulting with members of the team and their coaches, with bereaved families of the players, with Bluffton’s athletic department administration and with the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference of the NCAA, I can announce today that there will be a 2007 baseball season at Bluffton University," said Bluffton University President James M. Harder.
The team will be coached by assistant coaches Todd Miller and Jason Moore with oversight from head coach James Grandey as he continues recovering from his injuries. The athletes will wear all-black jerseys to honor their five teammates who lost their lives in the accident.
The baseball team’s future had been put on hold following a bus accident in Atlanta, Ga., March 2. The accident killed four student-athletes, the bus driver and the bus driver’s wife. A fifth student-athlete died a week later. Other team members continue to recover from injuries. A student-assistant coach remains hospitalized in Atlanta.
"After much discussion and reflection, the baseball players decided that with the consent of the families of Zachary Arend, David Betts, Scott Harmon, Cody Holp and Tyler Williams, the Bluffton baseball team would take the field this season," said Phill Talavinia, Bluffton University director of athletics. "As of yesterday afternoon, the team began practicing and will continue with daily practices as it prepares for the home opener."
Talavinia thanked a number of organizations for their generosity and support, providing the team with uniforms and equipment it had lost in the accident, including NIKE, Wilson Sporting Goods, Pacific Headwear, Team Sports, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians and the Florida Marlins.
"The members of this baseball team whose lives have been lost in the accident will always be embraced in Bluffton’s memory," said President Harder. "Indeed, that is one reason we are here today. Those who lost their lives were passionate about baseball, and in that respect we honor them best by playing good baseball at Bluffton University."
Jill Duling, public relations office, 3/20/07