By Jim Hague
Bubba Jasinski had two solid years of college baseball at Misericordia University in Pennsylvania before he had to face a major dose of adversity.
The Lyndhurst native Jasinski suffered a severe herniated disc in his back that required reconstructive surgery.
“I had three MRIs and nothing came up,” Jasinski said. “I thought it was in my hip more than anything. I didn’t know it was my back. I tried to play with it and I couldn’t. The pain was too much. I didn’t know how bad it was. I have no idea how it happened. Maybe it was just the wear and tear. But I didn’t know if I could ever play baseball again and that was a scary thought.” After Jasinski went through the back surgery and the intense rehabilitation, he had to sit out an entire year at Misericordia.
“I’ve been playing baseball every year since I was a little kid,” Jasinski said. “To have that taken away just like that was horrible. There was no other feeling like it. I realized that I can’t take anything for granted.”
Jasinski worked all last summer in rehab to get his back in gear.
“It was two full months of rehab,” Jasinski said. “That’s all I worried about was getting back to playing baseball again.”
Jasinski returned to play for Misericordia during the fall season.
“I couldn’t wait for that,” Jasinski said. “I was excited and antsy. When you sit out for a while and have to watch everything, you can’t wait to get back.”
Jasinski said that he felt pretty good coming back.
“Once I took that first swing of the bat, it put a smile on my face,” Jasinski said. “It was great getting back onto the field. It felt great to be throwing and running again. Everything came back to me easily.”
Misericordia enjoyed another great season, posting a 36-10 record and winning the Freedom Conference championship for a second straight year. The Cougars then qualified for the NCAA Division III Eastern Regional tournament, where they traveled recently to Farmingdale, Long Island for the first round.
Unfortunately, the Cougars lost to Ithaca, 2-1, and Cortland State, 7-2, to get eliminated from the tourney, but it doesn’t downplay the excellent season the team had Jasinski, who was a standout on the Lyndhurst High School team that captured the overall Group I state championship in 2008, was a mainstay at both third base and designated hitter this season. He played in 42 games, starting 37 of those, hitting .291 with one homer and 21 RBI. He had 37 hits. Not bad for a guy who missed an entire year with the back injury.
“The season started off well, then we won all eight games in Florida and just kept on rolling from there,” Jasinski said. “Winning the conference again was huge. The season turned out very well. I wish we could have stayed longer in the NCAA tournament, but getting there again was great.”
Jasinski wasn’t overly pleased with his season.
“I’m not what I was, but I’ll defi nitely take it,” Jasinski said. “Considering I was coming off surgery, it’s a great accomplishment.”
Jasinski is majoring in sports management and will return to Misericordia for another year. He’s 12 credits shy of his degree, but has another year of eligibility remaining after missing last season.
“I plan on applying to graduate school once I get my degree,” Jasinski said. “But I plan on sticking around. I want to be able to come back next year even better.”
Jasinski will play summer baseball locally for the Bergen Bullets, a semi-pro summer team that features several local talented players.
All in all, it was a solid comeback year for Jasinski, especially since there was some thought that he would never play again.
“I really can’t complain about it,” Jasinski said. “I just want to come back next year and have my best year.”