Five sides to this baseball diamond

Paul Martucci

It was 50 years ago when Pennsylvania schools La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova came together and agreed to create the Big 5, a city rivalry that has provided excitement to Philadelphians of all ages. Today, inspired by the positive attention the Big Five has received, these five schools have again teamed up. But this time, the result was the Philadelphia Diamond Five.

The Diamond Five, however, will differ from the purpose of the Big Five. The Big Five is a round-robin tournament in which every team plays each other once and the team with the best record wins. Baseball, on the other hand has the Liberty Bell Classic, a season-long tournament where the team with the best record is declared champion.

So, instead of creating a tournament, the Philadelphia Diamond Five will serve the primary function of creating exposure for its baseball athletes. Rob Valli, head coach of Temple, was thrilled about the creation of this new opportunity.

“We’re extremely excited about the Diamond Five,” he said. “Our ability to unify Philadelphia college baseball will allow us to increase the level of exposure for our players and improve community outreach.”

Villanova head coach Joe Godri, after the organization’s founding, said, “The creation of the Diamond Five represents natural movement forward for college baseball in Philadelphia.”

The most significant reason the Diamond Five will not imitate the Big Five in game play is the fact that these Philadelphia ball games already take place. The annual Liberty Bell Classic showcases all five Philly Division-I programs each season.

In response to the deal being struck, Godri couldn’t retain his excitement.

“The announcement made today will go a long way toward making college baseball in our region as competitive as any place in the country,” he said.

With season opening wins in two out of three games for the ‘Cats against Norfolk State, Villanova now heads to No. 7 Texas for a three-game series this weekend.