Home News Birmingham-Southern in D3 World Series as school sets to close

Birmingham-Southern in D3 World Series as school sets to close


CLEVELAND — The baseball team soon to be without a school has a growing fan base.

Birmingham-Southern’s inspiring, unexpected journey has won over some hearts.

The Panthers, who have kept their season alive as their school is on the brink of shutting down for good Friday, have captured interest with supporters raising more than $100,000 to enhance their trip to the Division III World Series.

By Tuesday afternoon, a GoFundMe page had exceeded its initial $100,000 goal and still is climbing.

Trey Hines, the sports information director for the school from Birmingham, Ala. — for at least a few more days — said the support has been overwhelming.

“It’s been crazy,” Hines said by phone.

Hines said before leaving for Cleveland on Wednesday the team was having a send-off party and being honored before the first pitch of Tuesday night’s Birmingham Barons game.

Birmingham-Southern advanced to the World Series in Eastlake, Ohio, on Saturday despite the team being flattened by food poisoning, with two players hospitalized and others receiving fluid intravenously behind the dugout during a win over Denison.

The NCAA is paying the team’s travel expenses to get to Ohio and home, but the added money can go toward other expenses such as rings to honor the Panthers making it out of the super regional. They beat Denison 10-1 on Friday and then rallied to win 7-6 on Saturday despite the widespread illness.

On Friday, Birmingham-Southern will play on the same day that the private liberal arts college, founded in 1856, closes because of financial problems. Unable to secure a $30 million loan, school officials voted in March to shut down.

The Panthers have been swinging since — going 18-4 since the decision — and if they keep winning, they’ll be the only thing keeping Birmingham-Southern in existence.

They’ll open the double-elimination tournament Friday against No. 2 seed Salve Regina (Rhode Island).

The Panthers feature a familiar name to Chicago baseball fans in starting pitcher Drake LaRoche (8-3, 3.21 ERA). The junior right-hander is the son of former big-league first baseman Adam LaRoche and was at the center of a controversy on the 2016 White Sox when the then-14-year-old Drake’s clubhouse privileges were restricted, leading his father to retire during spring training.

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