This past weekend's series between Boston College and Virginia Tech featured a number of intertwining storylines ranging over a wide number of topics. From the ACC playoff race to the coaches in the dugouts, this series stood out for its ties between the two teams.
One of the more intriguing storylines that emerged throughout the weekend was the familiarity between the two clubs. Virginia Tech has six players originally from Massachusetts. Friday's Hokie hero, Joe Freiday, Jr, is a Raynham native who played his high school ball at Bridgewater-Raynham, while Saturday starter Packy Naughton is from West Roxbury, having matriculated from Boston Latin. In addition, Ryan Tufts and Phil Sciretta both started for the Hokies against their home state school, with Tufts coming out of the BC High program and the Duxbury native Sciretta having played at Noble and Greenough.
The sixth Massachusetts native was Logan Bible, who started for the Hokes on Sunday. Bible, a Framingham native, is the son of former Boston College football coordinator Dana Bible. Dana Bible coached the Eagles from 1999-2006 as part of Tom O'Brien's staff before leaving to go to NC State. He is now an offensive coach with the San Francisco 49ers.
"I played against and with a bunch of the guys (on Virginia Tech)," said BC shortstop Johnny Adams, a Walpole native. "They're a great bunch of guys. I know Coach Mason well since he's a Massachusetts guy, and it's always fun to get to play in the ACC - one of the best conferences in the country, so it's pretty fun."
The intertwining links highlight just how small the college baseball world can become. Hokies head coach Pat Mason is from Franklin, having graduated from Franklin High School in 1993. Following a playing career at Northeastern between 1994 and 1997, Mason spent a year at his high school alma mater as an assistant coach before joining the Boston College coaching staff in 1998, serving as an assistant both Moe Maloney for a year before Pete Hughes took over in '99.
Mason worked with the Harwich Mariners between 2003 and 2006, while also serving as an assistant coach to both Framingham State and Northeastern. An assistant for five years for the Huskies, he rejoined Pete Hughes at Virginia Tech in 2010, where he was an assistant and associate head coach until 2013. When Hughes left Blacksburg for Oklahoma, Mason received the job.
Pat Mason's roots in the Bay State link up with Boston College several times even when he wasn't as a player. Mason was on staff at BC when Mike Gambino was a player at BC, and he's been part of the BC's ties, with Steve Englert, for the Harwich Mariners.
If that weren't enough, there's the obvious tie between Gambino and Virginia Tech itself. After serving for a couple of years as the Boston College assistant coach, the Eagle alum joined Pete Hughes' staff at Virginia Tech in 2007, so there's a fondness for the school that runs deep into the maroon and gold blood currently running through his body.
"I think at this point it's probably more special for me than some of our guys," said Gambino, "but so many of our guys know and have played with those guys over the summer. They know how close I am with Coach Mason. I've known Pat (a long time) and I consider him a really good friend. When we're playing them, obviously we want to beat them, but having worked at Virginia Tech, I know how many quality people are down there. It's a great place, and knowing how close I am with Pat Mason, you take that onto a really good, competitive series - and then after that? You root for them again."