October 13, 2010
|Photo cutline: Northeastern Junior College is bringing women’s fast pitch softball back as a varsity sport starting the fall of 2010. Coach Brock Baseggio holds the ball bearing signatures of the last team to play at NJC in 2003 and has another blank ball ready to record the names on the newest roster. Player recruitment efforts are already underway. (Courtesy Photo)
Recruitment underway to build new team starting Fall 2011
By Barbara Baker
Economic times are tough, but with a little help from its friends, Northeastern is pleased to announce that it is bringing women’s fast pitch softball back as a varsity sport starting next fall. Men’s soccer is also going to debut at the same time. Women’s softball will have its first official season again in National Junior College Athletic Association Region IX competition in the spring of 2012. The last time NJC had women’s softball was in 2003.
“Softball has potential to bring in students and help build enrollment, much like baseball does,” says Dr. Lance Bolton, president of the college. “We have a new dorm coming up that can help us accommodate these student athletes. We’ve had many requests to bring this sport back and now we’ve been blessed with a gift that is going to help make it happen.”
Bolton is referring to a softball scholarship fund which has been gifted to the college by Brett and Tina McEndaffer and their two daughters, Brit and Blair.
“It takes scholarship money to recruit players and the McEndaffers have generously stepped up to help make the return of a softball program possible,” Bolton notes. Brit and Blair were both exceptional softball players for Sterling High School and both would have loved to have played at NJC had the program been available. The twins went to Western Nebraska Community College to play and then continued on at Chadron State College to finish out their collegiate playing careers.
Coaching the returning softball program will be Brock Baseggio, an NJC alumni who is currently the manager of the NJC Book Store. Like many of the NJC employees, he will wear multiple hats starting next fall as he runs the women’s softball program in addition to his current duties. Baseggio, a self-proclaimed lover of anything involving a small ball and a bat, is a graduate of Sterling High School. He played baseball at NJC for two years and had hoped to go on to a four year university to play, but shoulder and elbow surgeries brought his college playing career to a halt. He does still play some competitive men’s slow pitch softball on an area team that travels throughout Colorado and has plans to compete in Las Vegas and New York tournaments next year. Baseggio has coached some baseball in the past and feels very competent at his ability to coach fast pitch softball. “It’s the same sport for the most part,” he notes, adding “next year Brit McEndaffer has agreed to come on board as a volunteer-assistant and I know that she really knows the game so she will be a huge help.”
Baseggio, who worked for two years in the admissions office as a recruiter, is in a great spot to begin his recruitment for softball. “I was a road warrior for NJC for two years, out talking to students and counselors and coaches all over the state,” he says. “In many of the schools out there, the high school counselor might also be a coach of one or more sports, that’s just how it works. They wear multiple hats, too. I have made many contacts at schools all over Colorado and so I will be able to call back now and get connected with coaches and players.”
Baseggio says he plans to get 24 letters of intent signed going into the fall semester of 2011 and will probably end up with 25-30 players on an active roster.
What kind of players will he be recruiting? “ Well, NJC’s approach has always been that we look for student-athletes, not athlete-students,” he said. “I will follow that philosophy as I want players who want to excel in the classroom as well as on the field.” Baseggio said he is already working his high school contacts hard to make sure he is getting the word out that softball is returning to NJC. The college had the option of restarting the program as a club sport, but Baseggio decided not to do that, but to go right into varsity play instead. “I’ve been doing some scouting out and around at some of the high school games and we have some great players right here in this area. I will be working to recruit some of them and of course I know there will be interest from players from other areas once they know we have brought the sport back.”
Anyone wanting more information about softball, or who would like to be on Baseggio’s recruitment radar screen, should call him at (970) 521-6623 or 1-800-626-4637.