BERKELEY (KCBS)- The UC Berkeley men’s baseball team will be eliminated next season and the players and coaches are officially on a campaign mission.
Just hours after university officials announced the cuts, players started showing up at Evans Diamond for batting practice, a true sign of the character of the squad according to head coach David Esquers.
Twenty-year-old Sophomore Tony Renda plays second base for Cal and said all the university did was wake a sleeping giant.
“We’re a dangerous team, we’re very good and we’re playing for ourselves,” said Renda.
KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:
Cal announced back in September that barring any special fundraising, five sports would be cut in order to help balance the books. Boosters then went out and raised close to $13 million leading the university to announce that three teams; men’s rugby, women’s lacrosse and gymnastics, had been spared. Baseball and men’s gymnastics were left on the outside looking in.
John Hughes played baseball at Cal, helped coach the team in the 70s and 80s and was behind the fundraising effort.
“We kind of feel like we got thrown underneath the bus a little bit,” said Hughes.
But the decision has been made and will mean most, if not all, of the players will transfer or move on to other schools in order to pursue their baseball careers.
Before they go, Coach Esquer foresees a magical year, noting that Cal is already ranked in the top 20.
“We do have that pipe dream of ending up in Omaha and saying, boy doesn’t that look bad that all of a sudden you have a college World Series team and they don’t have a place to play next year,” questioned Esquer rhetorically.
If he had to guess, Esquer said Cal baseball will be back, perhaps as soon as the 2013 season.
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