GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) announced its Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2012-13 academic year and Gallaudet University baseball senior Tommy Barksdale (Brookeville, Md.) was selected as the Individual Sportsmanship Award winner. Lancaster Bible College women’s soccer team earned the Team Sportsmanship Award.
Barksdale is the first Gallaudet recipient to receive the NEAC Individual Sportsmanship Award since the Bison joined the conference in 2010-11.
“I am extremely proud of Tommy. He is very deserving of this honor,” said Gallaudet coach Curtis Pride. “He is the type of player that every coach would want on his team because he always puts the team first and never gives less than 100 percent effort. I have been very fortunate and privileged to have him play for me for the past four years.”
Barksdale was selected to receive the NEAC Individual Sportsmanship Award for his actions following the final game of his outstanding career for the Gallaudet University baseball team. Barksdale, who is hard of hearing, helped guide the Bison to a share of the NEAC regular-season title and the right to host the NEAC tournament. The All-NEAC first team shortstop and conference player of the year nominee had a tremendous senior season.
The outcome from the championships was not what Barksdale was hoping for, however, as he and the No. 1 seeded Bison were ousted from the double-elimination tournament after dropping their first two contests. Despite this, Barksdale, who was a team captain for both his play and his exemplary attitude, stuck around to watch the next game between Penn St.-Berks and Penn St.-Abington, which had just eliminated the Bison from the tournament. After Berks won 4-3 and ended Abington’s playoff run, it was Barksdale who was walking around hugging, shaking hands and offering words of support to the Abington seniors, including NEAC Player of the Year Bill Parave.
Abington head coach Joe Pavlow took notice of the kind act and was so moved by it that he sent Gallaudet University Athletics Director Michael Weinstock an email shortly after the tournament to express his gratitude. The email read like this:
“I just wanted to make you aware of the class and sportsmanship demonstrated this weekend by Tommy Barksdale. At the conclusion of our game on Saturday, when we were eliminated, Tommy made his way around and shook hands with, hugged, and offered very kind words to all of my seniors who were playing their last NEAC game. I am writing this email because this show of sportsmanship is what college athletics is all about, and I didn't want this type of exemplary behavior to go unnoticed. You have a very classy baseball program, and Tommy is a wonderful ambassador for your university.” - Joe Pavlow, Penn St.-Abington head coach
The kind act was one of many fine moments that can be found throughout the four-year collegiate career of Barksdale, who started off as the first recruit for Coach Pride and finished as one of the most accomplished and well-decorated players in program history, both for his skills and his lead-by-example attitude.
Barksdale finished his season being named to the second team of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings Division III All-South region team and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Baseball South All-Star team. He ranked fifth in the nation for triples (seven) and 15th for triples per game (0.17) as the Bison rank 13th as a team for triples (20). Barksdale was fourth in Division III for walks (34) and seventh for walks per game (0.83), 21st in on base percentage (.509) and 35th in slugging percentage (.654). He led the NEAC in triples, walks, total bases (87), on base percentage, is second in runs (39), third in RBIs (40), slugging percentage, fourth in doubles (10), assists (102), fifth in hits (51), sixth in home runs (four), plate appearances (171), stolen bases (16), eighth in batting average (.383) and ninth in games (41). Barksdale started all 41 games for the Bison (20-21). He had 14 games with two or more hits and drove in two or more runs in a game on 10 different occasions.
The NEAC Sportsmanship Award is presented annually (if applicable) to at least one female student-athlete, male student-athlete, female team, male team, and/or one institutional winner. The winning selections have consistently demonstrated good sportsmanship and ethical behavior in his/her/their daily participation in intercollegiate athletics. They have exemplified the values of respect, caring, fairness, civility, honesty, integrity and responsibility, while also demonstrating good citizenship outside the sports setting.