By Zack Peñalva, Sports Editor
For those in the need of Friday night plans, there’s no need to look any further than the Kirkland Complex. Tonight at 5 p.m. is senior night for the Eagles’ baseball team as well as the first ever Campus Night for Asbury students.
The baseball team has been enjoying one of their best seasons in the past several years, and head coach Manny Cervantes hopes that tonight serves as a way of honoring the team’s seniors and growing support for the baseball program on campus. “It’s a way for the program to say thanks to those guys and recognize their efforts as far as combining being both a student and an athlete,” Cervantes said.
Many on campus have never been to watch an Eagles’ baseball game, and the Campus Night will potentially draw in some of those that may have not had interest to come out for a night. Asbury president Dr. Gray is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and free hotdogs will be given to all Asbury students, faculty and alumni.
But besides the promise of free food, maybe the quickest way to a college student’s heart, Cervantes hopes that the campus will show up to show its support for seven seniors that he affectionately called “great dudes.”
“I think it’s a big credit to them,” Cervantes said. “Those guys bought into the things we were doing, were team guys…and have been really good representatives of not only the baseball program, but Asbury in general.”
The pressures of being a student-athlete can sometimes be forgotten, but Cervantes pointed out that what these seniors, and their parents, have done during their four years at Asbury is worthy of at least one night of ceremony. “It means a lot to those families,” he said. “It’s a big commitment and sacrifice to have their son or daughter come to Asbury.”
Even if fans can’t stay for the whole game, Cervantes was still hopeful that fans could least show up at 5 p.m. when the festivities honoring the seniors kick-off (and who would want to miss Dr. Gray’s pitch?)
Win or lose tonight, Cervantes was clear that he expected the best baseball his team could produce for the players, families and campus as a whole. “To be able to honor them and recognize them after they’ve been here a number of years…It’s a good thing for us to do, to say thank you.”