Victor Herrera-Ramirez, Staff Writer, Lake Worth Campus
On September 18, after the conclusion of the second day of club rush at the Lake Worth Campus, a ring ceremony was held in honor of Palm Beach State’s baseball team for their outstanding year. The men’s team finished in second place in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series, the first time since 1984 that the Panther’s baseball team has participated.
Each of the players and the assistant coaches received an exquisite ring for their hard work, dedication, and the commitment they have shown to the athletic and academic life of Palm Beach State College.
Dr. Dennis Gallon, the president of Palm Beach State College and the master of ceremony, spoke highly of team work displayed on the field and its importance. “Working as a team is a principle that contributes to your life…The qualities shown on the field can be taken and used in real life.”
Head Coach Kyle Forbes echoed those sentiments, “whether or not they play in the big leagues or not, I am positive that they are winners in life.”
The baseball players were winners on the field, and in the classroom. In their academics, 14 of the 22 players had a 3.0 g.p.a. or higher, making the men’s Baseball team an All-Academic Team.
The whole team had various achievements to be congratulated for this past year, but one player in particular stood out, John Underwood. He was both Pitcher of the Year, and Athlete of the Year last season, and is continuing to excel. Last season, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 5th round of the Major League Baseball draft. An event his mother, Christine Underwood, was extremely proud of.
Christine received her son’s ring for him, smiling throughout the event and later, as she recounted her son’s life-long devotion to the sport since the age of four. “It was his favorite sport, he played other sports like soccer, but he always came back to baseball.”
Coach Forbes also had praise for Underwood, “could you believe that when he first started off, we had him as a first basemen? But we soon moved him to become the star pitcher that he is now.”