Rare disease helps Beverlin teach Wildcats value of never taking any opportunities for granted

Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel ran a great piece this morning about the life-threatening illness Bethune-Cookman Baseball Skipper Jason Beverlin battled in 2013.  His case is amazing, especially considering that he has no residual effects from the illness and is now back on the field for another season to lead the Wildcats.  I hope that you enjoy this piece.

Story by Shannon J. Owens
DAYTONA BEACH — He was fed up.

Bethune-Cookman baseball coach Jason Beverlin stopped practice when he saw the lackadaisical effort from his players a few weeks ago. He called them to attention and left them with a message.

“If today was your last day playing baseball, how would you want to remember it?”

Players knew just how personal that question was for Beverlin. Last spring, the 40-year-old coach was fighting for his life 100 miles away from Daytona at the burn unit of UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. A severe allergic reaction to a prescription medicine caused his body to burn from the inside out.

There are moments when players forget about their coach’s harrowing experience, but there are moments that remind them they can’t take any opportunities for granted.

“You have no excuse to say anything now,” said Josh Johnson, a senior outfielder for B-CU.

Beverlin’s nightmare started with either a cut or a bug bite. He’s not sure what caused the initial wound or when it happened. All he remembers is that his right arm almost swelled to the size of his calf by the time the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament rolled around last May in Virginia. A team athletic trainer taped it so he couldn’t touch what appeared to be an infected wound.

He went to the emergency room at Halifax Health Center in Daytona shortly after the team returned May 20 and was treated for cellulitis, a common skin infection. His family doctor prescribed a medicine called bactrim and that’s when his severe problems started.

By May 31, he returned to the hospital with a rash he says felt like the worst sunburn of his life. Doctors temporarily took him off bactrim to try a new round of medicine. It seemed to work and they put him back on his original medication, unaware that he was allergic to it.

Day by day, his condition deteriorated. The rash returned with a vengeance, covering his entire body. He experienced flu-like symptoms and his skin started to blister and shed.

“It almost felt like the flu, but [also] being put in the oven,” Beverlin said.

His illness reached its apex on June 5 when he laid on his couch unable to move. A neighbor, who was checking in on him while his wife, Heather, was at work, took him back to the emergency room.

Doctors finally discovered what was wrong — toxic epidermal necrolysis. The medicine was poisoning his body.

Roughly one in 1.4 million people a year are treated for toxic epidermal necrolysis, making it difficult to get an early diagnosis. Typically, patients who can contract the disease can lose up to 30 percent of their skin and there is a 30 to 40 percent mortality rate. Beverlin was losing all of his skin and doctors were unable to treat him in Daytona.

“There’s a number of medications that have been tried with TENs and Stevens Johnson Syndrome,” said Dr. Winston Richards, a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Florida. “But as a whole, I don’t think the medical field has enough patients or experience, say in a randomized or controlled trial setting, to determine if they work any better than an offending medication and topically treating the wounds and keeping them clean.”

Family friends watched Beverlin’s two sons — Cole, 14, and Lucas, 9, — as his wife got devastating news from an emergency room nurse.

“She said you need to bring the boys up to say goodbye,” Beverlin’s wife said, her voice cracking. “It was tough.”

Read on: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/os-bethune-cookman-baseball-shannon-owens-20140211,0,6561692.column?page=1

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(Baseball) Wildcats look to remain atop MEAC standings

Jackie Robinson Stadium

Jackie Robinson Stadium

Daytona Beach – A quick glance at the MEAC’s Southern division standings reflects Bethune-Cookman in a familiar position atop the table.  However, a closer look at the standings reveals a more telling story.  Two games in the loss column is all that separates first place BCU from 4th place North Carolina A&T.  Savannah State is a game better than the Wildcats in the conference loss column (but the Tigers have a lower winning percentage against conference foes) and North Carolina Central is just a single game behind the Cats.

Jason Beverlin’s squad will look to cushion their lead and maintain their stranglehold on the conference when they take on North Carolina Central in a three-game set beginning today at 1:00 PM at Historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Daytona Beach’s City Island.

BCU (20-17, 10-5 MEAC) has won a season high six consecutive games with five of those victories occurring on the road.  Anthony Stokes has paced the Wildcats offensively over the winning streak logging three home runs and 11 RBIs during the run.

The Wildcats defeated Jacksonville University 5-3 in their last outing (on Tuesday, April 9th).  David Lee recorded three RBIs in the win for the Cats.

NCCU (21-15, 9-6 MEAC), who enters the weekend just a game behind the Wildcats in the MEAC’s Southern Division, are 1-2 against BCU this season and 2-6 against the Wildcats since re-joining the MEAC.  NCCU dropped 2 of 3 games against rival NCA&T last weekend.

The pitching matchups are slated as follows:

Game One:  NCCU’s Junior righty Terry McNabb  vs. B-CU righty Scott Garner (3-4, 5.33 ERA)   Garner is coming off a complete game, 4-1 victory over Florida A&M in his last outing.

Game Two (doubleheader 7 inning contest):  righty Glenn Frye (3-3) against BCU lefty Ali Simpson (3-4, 5.77 ERA).  Simpson also pitched solidly in his last outing allowing no runs in seven innings of work against FAMU.  BCU won that contest 4-0.

Game Three (Sunday): Michael Romano (2-5, 5.43 ERA) vs. BCU right hander Montana Durapau (5-3, 4.07 ERA).  Durapau earned his 5th win of the year in his last outing against cross-county rival Stetson.

Live Stats will be available from the link.  Also, NCCU will provide live audio coverage of this weekend’s matchups on the  NCCU Sports Network .

(Baseball) Wildcats earn victory over #16 Arizona State

SONY DSCWhat a difference a year makes

In Jason Beverlin’s first year as skipper of Bethune-Cookman’s baseball team, the Wildcats looked overmatched when squaring off against Top 25 programs.  Such was not the case this past weekend when the Wildcats faced off against the 16th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, Arizona. 

Junior Righthander Montana Durapau gave the Wildcats a strong outing in Friday’s Opening Night contest.  Durapau yielded just three earned runs while striking out five in seven innings of work.  The Cats were 1 out away from winning Game One (and the series) but surrendered an unearned run in the bottom of the 9th that forced the contest into extra innings. 

The Sun Devils eventually prevailed 5-4 in the 11th inning.

The second game of the series saw the Wildcat bats heat up early but simmer down late.  ASU pulled away for a comfortable 15-7 win in Game 2. 

BCU (1-2) secured its first win of the 2013 campaign in the weekend cap upsetting the Sun Devils 7-6.  2011 MEAC Pitcher of the Year, Scott Garner (1-0) earned the victory going 6 1/3rd, striking out six Sun Devils batters, walking one, while allowing five earned runs.

Senior closer Jordan Dailey entered the contest with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th.  Dailey held ASU scoreless over the final 2.1 innings preserving the victory and earning his first save of the year in the process.

The Biocic brother’s Chris and P.J. scored a pair of runs each in the victory.

Sunday’s win was the Wildcats’ first victory over a Top 25 program since defeating Auburn in 2011.

Beverlin’s squad will look to carry the momentum of Sunday’s victory into Tuesday’s home-opener against the University of North Florida at Jackie Robinson ballpark.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

7th Heaven

Congratulations to Coach Jason Beverlin and the Fighting Wildcats baseball team for capturing their 7th consecutive MEAC men’s baseball title on Sunday afternoon by defeating Delaware State 8-3 at Marty Miller Field (Norfolk, VA).

BCU needed the second game of the championship round to secure its 13th title in 14 years.  Earlier Sunday morning, Delaware State defeated the Cats 3-2 forcing a “winner take all” final.  Sunday morning’s loss was BCU’s first tournament defeat since 2007.

But any notions of a hangover were quickly erased in the first inning of Game 2 against the Hornets when outfielder David Lee singled home Josh Johnson giving the Cats a 1-0 lead after the first frame.   Despite having only 1 ball leave the infield in the 3rd, the Hornets capitalized on 2 bunts, a walk, a hit batsman, and a throwing error to take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the third. 

Nick Johnson lead off the bottom of the 3rd for the Cats and was hit by a pitch.  Brandon Turner’s single to center field chased DSU’s starting pitcher, Jordan Elliot, and a double steal by Johnson and Turner set up runners in scoring position for BCU.  David Lee’s 2 RBI single to right field scored Johnson and Turner and tied the game at 3-3. 

Lee added another RBI single in the 4th this time scoring Carlos Delgado and putting BCU ahead 4-3.  The Cats added 4 more runs in the 5th to pad their lead 8-3.  Relief pitchers Bryan Rivera and Jordan Dailey held DSU both hitless and scoreless through the final 6 and 2/3rds securing the win for the good guys. 

David Lee finish the contest with 4 RBIs and was named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player honors.  BCU will find out their NCAA Regionals destination on Monday, May 23rd when the pairings are announced.

Congratulations to Coach Beverlin

New baseball skipper, Jason Beverlin

Congratulations to BCU’s new baseball Coach Jason Beverlin for securing the first win of his head coaching career on Friday night .  The Wildcats scored 7 runs in the top of the 7th inning and held on for an 8-6 victory over Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft Myers.

Sophomore Scott Gardner received the opening day nod on the mound.  The 6′ 2″ right hander struck out 6 of the 19 batters he faced and yielded 4 hits and 2 earned runs in 4 innings of work.  Corner outfielders David Lee and Josh Johnson led the Wildcats’ offensive charge.  Both Lee and Johnson went 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs apiece.

The teams play the second of their three game set tomorrow at 2:00 P.M.  You can follow the action live at the link below. 

 http://www.b-cuathletics.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1073261&school=beth&sport=mbasebl&

2012 Baseball Fan Appreciation/Kids Clinic

2012 Fan Appreciation

Ryan Gonzalez plays soft toss with 5 year old Dylan

12 year old Jeremiah trying to stretch a double into a triple

Freshmen All American signs autographs for fans
Not a bad view