The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Birmingham Southern College Closes, But It’s Baseball Team Plays On

Another consequence of college closures
The home baseball field of the Birmingham-Southern Panthers

On May 31st, 2024, Birmingham Southern College officially closed its doors. It was a sad day for both the current attendees and former alumni of the college. However, all the baseball players were very confused. Despite their college shutting down, they were still going to the D3 college baseball world series with a chance to win a title for a college that doesn’t exist anymore.

At the end of their season, Birmingham-Southern had a 33-16 record and were placed in the four-team regional. They won out in the regional and advanced to a 3-game series against Denison University in the super regional. It only took Birmingham-Southern 2 games to win out and advance to the D3 college world series.

Their first game came on May 31st, the day their college officially closed their doors. They played at Salve Regina University. Despite a four-run rally in the eighth, Birmingham-Southern lost 7-5. However, the college World Series is a double-elimination tournament, which means you get two losses before you’re out.

Their next game came against Randolph-Macon College, where Birmingham-Southern came out to an early 4-0 lead. However, it looked as if the storybook would close and they would be sent home early as Birmingham-Southern were down 7-4 in the bottom of the 8th inning. However, they would rally back with a 2-RBI triple from Jakob Zito and an RBI single from Grant Morgan to tie the game up at 7-7. 

After a scoreless top of the 9th, Andrew Dutto led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk. With no outs and a chance to walk it off, Jackson Webster swung at the first pitch. He missed and swung so poorly that he apologized to his coach from the batter’s box. However, his next swing was perfect as he homered off a hanging curveball to walk it off and continue Birmingham Southern’s magical run.

Their next game was against Wisconsin Whitewater. Towards the end of the game, it looked like Birmingham Southern would continue their run as they led 10-7 in the bottom of the eight. However, Wisconsin Whitewater rallied for three runs to tie the game up 10-10. After a scoreless top of the ninth, Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Sam Paden led off the bottom of the 9th with a walkoff homerun. 

As the ball cleared the wall, many of Birmingham-Southern’s players watched in disbelief, almost frozen. After the fact, they tipped their caps as that was the last baseball they would play as a Birmingham Southern Panther. This was an emotional moment for both the players and their coach, Jay Weisberg.

“What a beautiful place it is … was,” said Weisberg before he broke down in tears when he was asked what he hoped was the final message of Birmingham-Southern.

What a beautiful place it was, a beautiful place for Birmingham-Southern to end. Despite their confusing journey to the playoffs.

Weisberg summed it up best by saying, “Either way, win, lose or draw, what they’ve done is incredible.”

What they’ve done is provide an excellent last memory for current attendees and former alumni of Birmingham-Southern and opened lots of peoples’ eyes across the country to the local colleges shutting down near them.

Birmingham Southern College is not the first college to abruptly close its doors. In recent years colleges have been dropping like flies due to financial trouble. This has left countless students dumbfounded, set back, and struggling to find a transfer spot after applications had already closed. Just recently Pennsylvania’s University of the Arts shut down as well, much to the shock of students and residents. Hopefully, in coming years colleges on the brink of financial ruin will be more transparent with their communities and proactively try to prevent closures from happening at all.

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About the Contributor
Desmond McCue
Desmond McCue, Staff/Sports Writer
Hi, my name is Desmond McCue, and I am a writer for The Chomp. I am a freshman, and my hobbies consist of playing the guitar, listening to music, and playing sports. I am also thinking of joining either the Gateway baseball team or golf team come spring.
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    Bridget McCueJun 9, 2024 at 2:58 pm

    Well written article that helps shed light on a growing problem.