The Last Hurrah: Senior plays his first and last season with the Hawks to end his collegiate career

Brett Johnson, Sports Editor

When the baseball team celebrates the 2019 graduates this season, they will also be recognizing a senior who has only been on the squad for a few months.

Eric Damphousse’s journey to finishing his collegiate baseball career with the Hawks has not been easy, but he is grateful that he gets to play competitively for one final season.

“[The senior class has] been playing together for three years and I’m kind of walking in on their last hurrah, but they’ve been very, very welcoming and accepting,” Damphousse said.

Damphousse grew up playing both soccer and baseball, and had to make a difficult decision his senior year of high school of choosing which sport to pursue in college.

“Soccer is a lot different, it’s a different style. I feel like you’re much more involved in a baseball game,” Damphousse said. “You’re always in the game. You’re always doing something. I never got bored.”

He signed up for two collegiate baseball camps — one at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and the other at RWU.

RWU was his first choice when he was originally applying for schools, but he got hurt right before the camp and did not want to go through the tryout process. So he decided to attend Skidmore.

Damphousse had successful freshman and sophomore seasons in Sarasota Springs, and started 37 games during those two years. He hit .271 his freshman year, and an impressive .344 his sophomore year. But in late April of his sophomore year, he decided he wanted to transfer.

He became best friends with 2018 graduate Shane Nowak in third grade, who he played together with at Bishop Guertin High School, so coming to RWU was an easy decision for him.

But because of his late decision to transfer, he had to take the 2016-17 academic year off and do online courses from his home in Litchfield, N.H. When he could finally attend RWU, he roomed with Nowak, who tried to convince him to try out for the team, but Damphousse thought his collegiate career was over.

But then he caught the baseball bug.

“I got a feeling living with Shane and seeing him going to practice every day and by going to a few of their games,” he said. “Last spring, I just missed it, especially being on the other side of the fence. I was so used to being on the field and with a team.” 

He decided he was going to try out his senior year, and began rigorously training.

“Luckily for me, it was like riding a bike. I took two years off, but I kind of just got back into it,” he said. 

To get ready for a potential final season, Damphousse played in a summer league in 2018, but almost saw his chances of trying out in the fall snatched from him. He tore his hamstring and was told the recovery process was going to be tough, and he might not be ready for tryouts.

But he did not let the Grade 2 tear stop him; he was determined to play one more season. He told Head Coach Jason Tower that he was injured, but still wanted a shot at making the team. 

“I went in with a mindset of ‘worst I can hear is no,’ and I kind of accepted that,” Damphousse said. 

But Coach Tower decided to keep the senior. Damphousse said that Tower told him he was not sure what his role was going to be, but Damphousse was just thankful for the opportunity. 

“I called my parents right away and I was like, ‘We get one more year of this,’” he said. “It was exciting.”

As of April 1, Damphousse has only gotten one at-bat so far, but he is not worried about how much he plays this season.

 “If I ever get a chance, I’ll be ready, but honestly, it’s just mainly helping out in any way I can,” he said.