Nine graduating members of the Westmont baseball team, who missed Baccaleaureate and Commencement while winning four straight games and capturing the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament, received a different kind of walk-off celebration May 7. “Pomp and Circumstance” played in the background as the players, wearing their graduation caps and gowns, received diplomas in front of more than 400 loudly cheering faculty and staff at an annual appreciation lunch in Murchison Gym.
Rob Ruiz, Westmont head baseball coach, read the names, majors and honors of each of the graduates as they shook hands with President Gayle D. Beebe and Provost Mark Sargent.
“We would like to express our gratitude to you for representing the college so well, sacrificing so much and making such a great contribution not only today in the celebration of the 2014 season but for restoring the reputation and great tradition of Westmont baseball,” Beebe said.
The players then marched out to the tune “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
The baseball team won one game in the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round before being eliminated by the host Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies. This was the program’s first appearance and first win in national tournament play.
The season marked several milestones for the program, including most wins in a season (39) and the first time in 26 years the was ranked in the NAIA National Coaches’ Poll.
Ruiz, hired in June of 2009, took over a program with a combined record of 66-286-1 (.188) over the previous eight years.