While we were away: Tufts delivers strong performances in summer postseason play

Infielder sophomore Ryan Daues is pictured at bat during Tufts' 24-6 win over Mass. Maritime on March 27. (Evan Slack / The Tufts Daily)

Baseball wins NESCAC Championship in midst of successful season

It was a summer of success for the Tufts baseball team, who was once again crowned NESCAC champion in an 8–3 game seven win over Middlebury on May 12. Coach John Casey added milestones to his already illustrious career, being inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Hall of Fame. In Casey’s 37th year leading the Jumbos, the team’s championship success last spring marked its third NESCAC title in the last four seasons. Needless to say, the Jumbos dominated the 2019 season, going 31–11 overall and 10–2 in conference with a stellar .312 team batting average.

Depth also played an important role in the team’s success. Athletes playing for their first or last time with the Jumbos stepped up in big ways. Sophomore infielder Peter DeMaria won the Rookie of the Year award for the NESCAC, hitting an impressive .361 on the season. DeMaria joined three other Jumbos making an All-NESCAC team, which included co-captain and pitcher R.J. Hall (LA’19),  senior infielder Elias Varinos and  senior outfielder JP Knight. 

DeMaria, who stands as the third Tufts player since 2014 to be named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, had nothing but praise for his team’s success last season.

“Everyone put in tremendous effort this year. We worked hard all the way through the winter,” DeMaria said. “Baseball is a team sport. Everyone was really well prepared. ”

Hall proved to be the perfect leader for the team with his work on the mound, going 8–0 with an outstanding 1.45 ERA

Although the Jumbos lost in the NCAA Regional tournament and came up short of making it to the NCAA championship tournament, ultimately the season saw many positives that the Jumbos will be sure to take forward as they work toward next season. 

Sorkin announced as an All-American

After another outstanding season at the top of the lineup for Tufts men’s tennis,  junior Boris Sorkin earned a spot on the 2019 NCAA Div. III All-American singles team.

Sorkin is the first All-American on the Tufts men’s tennis team since 2002, and he also became the first Jumbo to play in the NCAA singles tournament in 15 years. The St. Petersburg, Russia, native won his opening match at the NCAA Div. III singles championships before falling in the Round of 16.

Sorkin dominated at the No. 1 singles spot for the Jumbos, tallying impressive victories against several top players like Amherst’s Sean Wei and Wesleyan’s Andrew Finkleman . The  junior was previously ranked No. 1 nationally by the International Tennis Association (ITA), and he ended the season at No. 9 in the ITA Div. III final rankings.

During the 2018 fall preseason, Sorkin rallied hard for three titles and became the first Jumbo to win the 2018 ITA Cup Div. III singles national championship in Georgia.

Sorkin was also awarded a place on the NESCAC All-Conference first team in singles and finished with a 24-6 overall record for the 2018–19 season. The Jumbos will look to advance even further under Sorkin’s leadership in the fall preseason.

Three outdoor track athletes compete in NCAA championship

Three Jumbos from the women’s track and field team journeyed to Geneva, Ohio, to compete in the 2019 NCAA Div. III Outdoor Track and Field Championships from May 23-25. The University of Mount Union and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission hosted the championships.

Kylene DeSmith (LA’19) qualified in the heptathlon, Kelsey Tierney (LA’19) qualified in the 1500-meter run and senior Rhemi Toth qualified in the 800-meter run.

DeSmith accumulated 4,498 points in the heptathlon — good for 15th place setting a personal record in the shot put along the way.

Tierney and Toth raced in the preliminary rounds of their respective events, but neither placed high enough to qualify for the final race. Tierney finished  21st in the 1500 with a time of 4:54.08 and Toth took 21st in the 800 with a time of 2:21.60.

For all three athletes, this was their first time competing in the NCAA Div. III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Berube moves to Princeton, Jill Pace hired as replacement

After 17 years at the helm of the women’s basketball team, coach Carla Berube accepted  the head coach position at Princeton University.

Berube led the Jumbos to four consecutive NCAA Championship Final Fours from 2014 to 2017, two appearances in the NCAA Championship game in 2016 and 2017, and three NESCAC championship victories in 2014, 2015 and, most recently, in 2019. Overall, she amounted a 384–96 record (.800 winning percentage) during her tenure with the Jumbos.

With the move to Princeton, Berube will make the jump from Div. III to Div. I. Princeton is one of the stronger teams in the Ivy League, with back-to-back Ivy League championship wins in the last two seasons.

“I think that Tufts and the Jumbos, they are in a really good spot here,” Berube told the Daily in an interview in May. “It’s bittersweet, and it’s hard moving on. But I know that [the Jumbos] are right for a national championship. I think that it’s never an easy time or the right time, but I think it’s just the best time for my family and me.”

Replacing Berube will be Jill Pace, who previously served on Berube’s coaching staff as an assistant coach from 2014–16. Pace spent the last three seasons as the head coach of Pomona-Pitzer. Under her leadership, Pomona-Pitzer qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 last season.

Pace is no stranger to the NESCAC; in addition to her former role at Tufts, she played guard at Bowdoin, graduating in 2012. Hired at the end of June, Pace looks to continue the team’s success this winter.


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