36 Holes, 16 Innings, 34 Hours: Tackett Had The Swings For The Spring

(Photos of Jordan Tackett by John David Tackett)
(Photos of Jordan Tackett by John David Tackett)

RUTHERFORD, N.J.Jordan Tackett is far from the first two-sport student-athlete at Felician College – there have been several in Felician's 18-year history of intercollegiate athletics. He is not the first Golden Falcon to participate in his particular combination of offerings – baseball and golf – and he is not even the first to compete in both sports during the same spring.

But what the senior from Fredericksburg, Va., accomplished on Apr. 8 and 9 was special. Taking advantage of beneficial scheduling quirks and a supportive family member, Tackett played both sports on the same day – twice in a row. He is believed to be the first Felician student-athlete to compete in more than one sport on the same calendar day.

Chestnut Hill College hosted the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) men's golf championship on Apr. 8 and 9 at Blue Bell Country Club in Blue Bell, Pa. On Tuesday the 8th, by sheer coincidence, the Golden Falcons were slated to play their regular-season baseball doubleheader against Chestnut Hill at 4 p.m. in Norristown, Pa. 

Armed with Google Maps on his cellular phone, and with his older brother, J.D. Tackett in town, he contemplated how he could give his full attention to his golf round but still arrive at the baseball field in time for some meaningful competition. Tackett was competing for playing time at third base, and his baseball teammates were in the midst of the CACC playoff hunt.

An early-afternoon tee time saw Tackett finish Day 1 competition at the golf tournament well after Game 1 of baseball had begun. With Jordan in the passenger seat, the Tackett brothers rode the five miles to Latshaw-McCarthy Field, to find the Golden Falcons and Griffins locked in a one-run game. Felician head baseball coach Chris Langan called on Tackett to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the Golden Falcons' 2-1 loss, then to start at third base in a 5-0 win in the nightcap.

"It was the longest day of my life, but it was a day I will remember forever," said Tackett, who was an all-conference selection in both sports at Stafford High School of Fredericksburg. "At my high school, golf was a fall sport, so the two never conflicted. That morning, I had been a little sick, and was nursing a high ankle sprain, and then to walk 18 holes on such a brutal, cold, windy day on such a long course was physically draining. When I got to the baseball field, my body was loose and ready to go, but I was very tired. I got back to the (golf) hotel at midnight and then had to be up for an 8 a.m. tee time (on Wednesday).

What little rest he obtained proved to be sufficient. After shooting 97 on Tuesday and standing in 44th place out of 49 entrants, Tackett put together a 77 for his 18 holes on Wednesday. It tied for the second-best round ever posted by a Golden Falcon in the CACCs. He ascended into a tie for 24th place, and was just two shots behind Felician's No. 1 finisher and season-long scoring leader, Andrew Geesey (T-20th).

"It was a really tough course, but the conditions were much better on the second day," Tackett said. "It was drier with not nearly as much wind. Even so, I hit the ball terribly on the (practice) range, but once the round started I hit my shots a lot better."

As fate would have it, the baseball team was hosting a 7 p.m. non-conference contest that night in Lyndhurst, N.J. Traveling with his golf teammates, he arrived back on Felician's campus in plenty of time for batting practice, and once again was inserted into the line-up at third base. Like the previous evening, he was lifted in the late innings after the game was decided, but in the space of 34 hours, he played 36 holes of conference championship golf and 16 innings of baseball in three towns.

While the golf team settled for ninth place at the CACCs despite Tackett's second-day heroics, he was a part of Felician history with his baseball teammates. After qualifying as the No. 2 seed and receiving an opening-round bye, the Golden Falcons went 3-0 in the CACC Baseball Tournament on May 8-10 in New Castle, Del., to capture their first conference crown. Tackett produced a 10th-inning walk-off single in the winners' bracket final against Dominican (N.Y.) College on May 9, and was chosen for the all-tournament team.

"It started out as a frustrating year with my health," Tackett said. "I tore my meniscus in the first intrasquad (baseball) game of the fall, had the same injury again when I got back, then finally got healthy and got a chance to play. So I was just trying to help both teams win as best I could, and trying to make this a season to remember."