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University of Saint Joseph to Add Baseball as Varsity Sport

University of Saint Joseph. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford is planning to add baseball as a varsity sport for the 2023-2024 academic year.

By Ronni Newton

The University of Saint Joseph announced Monday that baseball will be added as a varsity sport, and President Rhona Free and Director of Athletics Amanda Devitt said a search has been launched to hire a head coach.

With the addition of baseball, USJ will bring its total number of varsity sports to 16. Baseball is scheduled to begin as a club sport in 2022-2023, and become a varsity team in the 2023-2024 academic year.

“We know that there are a lot of high school students who want the type of education they will get at USJ – rigorous training to prepare for professions; internships and clinical experiences with nearby major employers; the personal attention of a small college environment – and who also want to keep playing the sport that they love,” Free said in a statement. “There are more than 500,000 high school students who play baseball in this country each year, many of whom aspire to play in college. USJ can offer some of them the perfect opportunity for success.”

Devitt said she is excited add another athletics program as USJ continues its growth. “Baseball is a natural fit and will continue our tradition of Blue Jay Athletics. We look forward to welcoming more quality student-athletes to our campus,” she said.

USJ began admitting men as undergraduates in 2018, with an initial focus on recruiting student-athletes to compete on  men’s Division III teams in soccer, basketball, cross country, and swimming and diving. Since then men’s lacrosse has been added, and tennis is currently a club sport and will compete a varsity team in the spring of 2023.

The Blue Jays currently have nine varsity women’s sports with field hockey competing its inaugural varsity season this fall. USJ also offers women’s teams in basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, and volleyball.

When the USJ baseball program begins varsity competition in the spring of 2024, it will become part of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, competing alongside 11 other baseball programs in the league: Albertus Magnus, Anna Maria, Colby-Sawyer, Dean, Elms, Johnson & Wales, Lasell, Norwich, Rivier, and Saint Joseph’s (Maine). The conference champion earns an automatic bid to compete in the Division III NCAA Tournament each year.

Any current student-athletes or prospective student-athletes interested in joining the baseball program please reach out to USJ’s Recruiting Coordinator Andrew Fink at [email protected] or 860.231.5667. Prospective student-athletes are also encouraged to complete the baseball recruiting questionnaire, which can be found here.

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