As the sun sets on the Edith-Robb Dixon Turf Field and the lights warm up, a player attempts to field a routine pop fly ball when it seemingly disappears, then drops to the turf.
“I lost it in the lights,” he explained as the rest of his teammates laughed.
Seven p.m. is not the most ideal time to start a practice, but for the Baseball Club, it is a way of life.
The club is entering its sixth year of existence, and is still in an uphill battle for official varsity status.
“When I was a freshman, I thought definitely by junior year, we would be considered varsity,” senior club president and human resources management major Bill Bacovin said.
“Now that I am a senior, I have to be realistic and say, maybe in five years, maybe in 10, but who really knows?”
With only a “club” tag, the team faces serious disadvantages.
“If we were varsity, we would have a group of coaches who are on us all the time,” Bacovin said. “We do not have an organized gym schedule where we go in the gym and lift, because we have no one specialized in that area.”
The club has gotten quite used to not having a field to call home.
“We play our home games mostly at Valley Forge, Upper Merion and Eastern,” Bacovin said. “Eastern is by far our favorite place to play because our fans can just walk across the street. It is a pretty good atmosphere, but we can’t play there for every home game because Eastern actually has a varsity baseball team that we compete with for time on the field.”
They settle for the obscure practice times of either 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. on the turf field, in the gym or at Radnor High School, depending on what is available.
The club must fend for itself to coordinate practice fields, as well as home game times and locations.
“We struggle so much with just having a constant field,” Bacovin said. “You don’t even know how stressful it is for me as club president to never have a field booked.”
The club’s home opener was to be played against Hofstra at Eastern, but was unfortunately rained out.
Rainouts seem to do everything short of giving Bacovin grey hair.
“I pray that we dont have rainouts,” Bacovin said. “I work real hard to get a field locked down for a weekend, and when it rains out I have to go through that whole process over again.”
“This is something that would not be done by me if we were a varsity team,” Bacovin said.
The club dreams of having a true home field.
Former president and alum Anthony Vellutato went as far as mapping out a diamond on the upper field on campus, currently used only as a practice field, but to no avail.
“It would be nice even to have a field somewhere off campus that is rented out just for Cabrini baseball,” Bacovin said.
Bacovin was sure to mention the shortcomings in the sheer number of players, mentioning that varsity teams on campus do have a type of recruitment process in place.
“If you recruit and you have people that want to come here just to play baseball, you’re going to have a much better team. We are just a bunch of guys who happened to have come to Cabrini and have some baseball talent.”
“We do the best we can, but a real team recruits.”
The club plays in the National Club Baseball Association and goes up against school club teams from giant division one universities including Hofstra, New York University, Rider University and the University of Connecticut.
“Those teams have about a hundred guys to pick from, when we have trouble just fielding a team some years,” Bacovin said.
Bacovin has taken great strides in order to create as close to a real varsity experience as possible.
“We have a contract now, which enforces our new 24-hour drinking policy, very similar to several other teams on campus. I don’t want to see my teammates drinking near a game. The contract also includes rules like how many times you are allowed to miss practice so this way the guys take this more seriously as the years go on.”
Despite the ever allusive varsity status, this club has still come a very long way from pick-up games on the softball field.
“When I first came here we were just a group of guys, we did not play in an organized league,” Bacovin said. “We didn’t have any games scheduled, we just went out there and played and thats how it started. “Just a bunch of guys that wanted to start a baseball club got out there and scrimmaged against each other.”
Of the schools competing in the Colonial States Athletic Conference, Cabrini remains the lone school not to offer a varsity baseball program.
“There is a thought that if we win, we’ll be closer to making it, but we were semifinalists last fall and the athletic department didn’t approach us and say, ‘oh you guys are close to becoming varsity now.’ It just doesn’t work that way,” Bacovin said.
“It would even be nice to get just a letter or a ‘hi’ from the athletic director once in awhile just to recognize us. I never got that.”
For more information on the Cabrini Baseball Club, log onto clubbaseball.org.