D-III Baseball Team Will Play in World Series—for a College That Will Cease to Exist

The Panthers battled plenty of adversity, including multiple bouts of food poisoning on game day, on their way to the NCAA Division III championship bracket.
via NCAA

The Birmingham-Southern College baseball team is battling unprecedented adversity all the way to the NCAA Division III World Series.

Birmingham-Southern College, a private liberal arts college in Alabama founded in 1856, announced in March that it will close May 31 due to financial issues. Despite all that, the Panthers baseball team—the fourth-winningest baseball team in Division III since 2010—just keeps winning.

The Panthers won their regional bracket in Kentucky and advanced to a super regional against Denison this weekend. They swept Denison in two games, winning 10–1 and 7–6, to advance to the eight-team NCAA Division III championship bracket.

The first game of the D-III World Series is scheduled for May 31—the day Birmingham-Southern College will close. That means the Pirates will be trying to win a championship for a school that no longer exists.

But that's not all.

Nine players on the Birmingham-Southern College baseball team woke up Saturday morning with food poisoning. According to a Facebook post, two players had to be hospitalized and others were hooked up to IVs behind the dugout to aid hydration during the game.

To top it all off, Drake LaRoche—the son of former MLB player Adam LaRoche—is a pitcher on the Panthers' staff. Adam LaRoche, who played 12 MLB seasons, famously retired from baseball in March 2016 after White Sox president Ken Williams told him that he had to limit the time his 14-year-old son Drake spent with the team.

After getting past food poisoning and their impending school closure, the Panthers might just be the team of destiny this spring.

Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.