This weekend marked the final series of the year for the University of Dallas baseball team. The team had the opportunity to make the conference tournament by sweeping Centenary College of Louisiana. Unfortunately, they only won two out of three games, with one run being the difference between making the tournament and going home for good. They won the first game 7-6, lost the second game 3-4 and won the third game 4-3. Both victories came in dramatic fashion, with each game extending to ten innings and being won with walk-offs.
The walk-off victories were not the only thrill of the weekend. Luciano Villanueva, senior outfielder, played all nine positions on Senior Day this past Sunday. When asked about this feat, Villanueva directed the attention elsewhere.
“Well, first off, it’s sad to see this year go,” Villanueva said. “We fought hard all year, but the outcome didn’t turn out how we wanted. To end my season on a high note, I asked Coach Myers if I could play all nine positions for Senior Day. He agreed to it. I just wanted to do it for the love and fun of the game.”
Villanueva played the positions in this order: catcher, left field, center field, right field, first base, third base, second base, shortstop and pitcher. His ability to play all nine positions in a single game serves as an excellent tribute to a spectacular UD career.
As the season concludes, the team bids adieu to three other seniors as well: Rene Vargas Jr., Brian Donley and John Howard. All three performed well, especially Donley, who pitched 8 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, three runs and tallying five strike outs. It was quite possibly his best career performance.
“A good friend once told me, this is a very simple game,” Donley said. “You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Today we just had to play them one inning at a time. I’m just happy to be here, and I hope that I helped the ball club.”
Donley’s remarks reflect an attitude toward the game that should serve as a testament to these seniors’ commitment and dedication to the game. While their four years here were not marked by an abundant amount of success, their love for the game remained strong and intact. Although the team will not be continuing to the playoffs, the players returning for next year hope to build upon these seniors’ love for the game, striving to stick together and grow in the years to come.