Dropped sports leave legacy

Softball to be added to EWU sports in 2017

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer



Photo by Aaron Malmoe Logan Goulet bats during a game against Seattle. EWU baseball continues as a club after being dropped as a sport.
Photo by Aaron Malmoe
Logan Goulet bats during a game against Seattle. EWU baseball continues as a club after being dropped as a sport.

With softball making an official arrival during the 2017-2018 year, where does that leave baseball?

The history of baseball at EWU started in 1917 with a few games played. The overall record for the EWU baseball team at that time was a measly 0-2. There were no games played the following years of 1918-1919.

From the 1920s throughout the 1930s, there were very few games played. There were no games played from 1932-1946. It was not until the 1950s that a reasonable amount of games started being played. The best records that the EWU baseball teams had back then were in the 1980s.

In 1981, the EWU baseball team went 32-20, and in 1984, the team went 30-23. During the year of 1985, the baseball team had their best seasonal record in school history at 42-24.

Before the end of varsity baseball at Eastern, there was a push to try to get baseball into the Big Sky conference. “It was mid ’80s when we made our pitch to try to get into the Big Sky. It was [1987] when we finally did,” Sports Information Director Dave Cook said.

After seven decades of baseball, the program ended in 1990. A news release in 1990 from EWU stated that baseball and wrestling were going to be discontinued starting in the fall of 1990. This announcement was made by Darlene Bailey, who was the athletics director at the time.

There were people that did not agree with the end of baseball. “There [were] a lot of upset people,” former EWU baseball athlete Kerry Pease said. Pease played four years of baseball at Eastern during the late ’70s. Pease explained that James Wasem, the coach at the time, wanted to go out with the team and get their own funding in order to avoid the program getting cut as a sport.

Eastern also had a softball team, but it was also discontinued due to the economy. “We had softball for a short period of time, and then we discontinued it. If you look back, over a 20-25 or even a 30 year period, you’re [going to] find the economy has good times and bad times, and in bad times, sports got discontinued,” Director of Athletics Bill Chaves said.

Another reason for the absence of softball and mostly baseball is because of the climate in the Northwest. Compared to the southern states in America, Washington does not have the weather to deal with a full baseball season.

Also, due to Eastern’s student composition and Title IX, baseball would not be an option because the school had to maintain a gender balance of sports teams. “There [are] certain lenses you need to check off from a Title IX perspective, and to add another men’s sport, we probably would have to add three women’s sports to balance it out,” Chaves said.

“For a college of our size, it has a lot to do with what you can support. At the time, the baseball club, the wrestling team, they became expendable because they weren’t official sports in the Big Sky, and they were also male sports and we had to get closer in gender [equality] with our female sports,” Pease said.

Cook also looks at gender equality as one of the main reasons of why we do not have a baseball team at Eastern. “That’s the biggest issue right now with trying to add baseball back, but again when you look at weather and some of those considerations, it’s a tough sport to add,” Cook said.

Chaves expects the EWU softball team to start competing during the spring quarter of 2018 . “We have the expectation of our first regular spring season would be spring of 2018,” Chaves said.