For The Love Of The Game

By Greg Dudek

Comment Staff

There is more to life than playing baseball.

For senior Matt Barsaleau, a stint overseas in the United States Navy, has served as a constant reminder that baseball is just a game.

“Nothing that can happen in this game is pressure,” Barsaleau said. “It’s just fun. It’s fun to be here and I appreciate being able to play baseball every day.”

Barsaleau’s journey started in 2008 when he decided to join the military after attending Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester.

In February of the same year, Barsaleau was deployed to Kuwait where he served on a contingency construction operations team for three months. He then spent another three months carrying out a mission in Afghanistan. His time in the military served him well, as the experience is something he wouldn’t take back.

“I always wanted to serve,” Barsaleau said. “Instead of taking a step back and leaving school because I couldn’t afford to go anymore, I just wanted to keep moving forward and I wanted to serve my country.”

Now 26-years-old, Barsaleau has traded in his military uniform for the Bridgewater State University baseball uniform.

Matt Barsaleau during his service in the US Navy. Matt Barsaleau Photo.
Matt Barsaleau during his service in the US Navy. Matt Barsaleau Photo.

Barsaleau came to Bridgewater State in the fall of 2010 after spending some time at Worcester State University. He was able to win a spot on the baseball team during tryouts and has become an integral part of the team from there on.

Bridgewater State head coach Rick Smith said Barsaleau plays a big role on the team as a leader and can fill many positions when called upon.

Having someone who served in the military on the team is an advantage for the Bears. Both coaches and players look up to Barsaleau.

“The thing that comes to mind with Matt is he is a leader,” said senior catcher Keane Costa. “He shows up and works his butt off. He does what you want any teammate would do. He always has your back.”

Barsaleau is one of the more respected players on the team, as his drive to serve in the Navy and then come back to continue his education is noticed amongst the team.

“They respect his service for our country,” Smith said. “But they also respect his commitment to serving and coming back to finish his education.”

“They respect his service for our country,” Smith said. “But they also respect his commitment to serving and coming back to finish his education.”

Senior Matt Barsaleau stretches his arm out as he slides into home. Barsaleau came to Bridgewater State in the fall of 2010 after spending time in the United State Navy. Nick Todd Photo.
Senior Matt Barsaleau stretches his arm out as he slides into home. Barsaleau came to Bridgewater State in the fall of 2010 after spending time in the United State Navy. Nick Todd Photo.

As a role player for the Bears, Barsaleau has seen limited game action this year playing in nine games. He provides versatility for Bridgewater State as he backups at a few different positions, mainly catcher and third base.

Despite the lack of playing time, Barsaleau provides steady leadership and is one of the captains on the team. His ability to lead the team is an asset the team does not take for granted.

Costa said many of the younger players look up to Barsaleau and thought his discipline is key for the team.

In nine games played, Barsaleau has hit .241 with one home run and eight runs batted it. Even though the statistics don’t show it, he is a key member of the team. .

“I’m not the most talented guy here,” Barsaleau said. “I try my best and that’s all I can bring to the table. I try to show that you can play hard and just do whatever you can to help the team out in any capacity.”

A few years ago it never seemed possible Barsaleau would land at Bridgewater State and contribute on the diamond.

Serving in the Navy and having missions in two different countries overseas, his journey has been long and it is still not over. He has one last mission to carry out, play the game of baseball, for the fact that win or lose, it is just a game for him.

Greg Dudek is the Comment’s Managing Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @gdudek10 or email him at gdudek@student.bridgew.edu.

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