Stafford native helps lead UConn baseball to postseason

UConn designated hitter Luke Broadhurst blossoms in his return to the program that recruited him out of high school.
Luke Broadhurst is living his childhood dream of playing a big role for a UConn program with sights on a long postseason run.
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 4:19 PM EDT
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STORRS, Conn. (WFSB) - Luke Broadhurst is living his childhood dream of playing a big role for a UConn program with sights on a long postseason run.

“I would come to games when I was a younger kid with my dad and family. I’d be able to see what it was kind of like, and I loved it,” Luke said.

After making three all-state teams at Stafford High School, Broadhurst joined the Huskies’ baseball program as a freshman. But a shoulder injury hurt his chances for playing time on a team full of upperclassmen.

That led to a difficult conversation with Head Coach Jim Penders.

“He kind of told me, ‘Listen, man, I think you’re a really good player, and I think that you can go somewhere and do big things,’” Luke explained.

Penders understands that even though playing time is ideal for younger players, it may not always be possible on a UConn team that plays on a national stage.

“To see a freshman at our level make an impact, it’s very rare. We’ve got a couple, but it’s very difficult to do, so I’m having some really difficult conversations with some young men that are freshmen, some sophomores that it might benefit them to go somewhere else,” Coach Penders said.

So Broadhurst moved less than 8 miles away to Eastern Connecticut State, which competes at the Division 3 level.

Transferring down from a D1 school isn’t always seen as a good thing, but former Head Coach Brian Hamm sold him on joining a Warriors program with some history of its own.

“One of the things that I tried to show him is that he could be the cornerstone to the program that would one day win a national championship. What I didn’t realize is that he would be a part of it,” Said Hamm, Former ECSU Head Coach.

Broadhurst was a two-time all-American at ECSU, and his performance in 2022 paved the way for the Warriors to win the D3 college world series.

His drive to succeed paid off.

“Continuing to play with a chip on my shoulder, I think, was something that helped me a lot. Just wanting to continue to prove to people that I could play at the highest level,” Broadhurst said.

“Once he arrived, he really set the standard in terms of work ethic in practice and putting the effort in the weight room. Off the field aspects of his game that really led to his performance on the field,” said Hamm.

Because of the pandemic, Broadhurst still had a chance to play as a graduate student, and as a national champion, he could have gone anywhere. So how did he end up back at UConn?

“If I’m being honest with you, once I left here, I didn’t really necessarily envision myself ever having the opportunity of coming back. But when that opportunity came and Coach Penders called me, I welcomed it with open arms,” Broadhurst said.

“Luke’s a really quiet young man, but he plays really loud. When he hits the ball, it makes a different sound,” Penders added.

Broadhurst adds big power to an already deep lineup, he’s hitting well over .300 on the season, and his experience will help the Huskies on its march to something he has, and they don’t.

“He’s the only one in our dugout with a national championship, so we want to be like Luke. It doesn’t matter that it’s Division 3, he’s a national champ. There’s not too many of those guys in college baseball.”

As he reflected on his path, Channel 3 asked Broadhurst what he’d tell his younger self.

“I’d probably say, ‘I’m proud of you.’ It’s not always easy to deal with adversity, but I’ve had to deal with a lot of it throughout my career with injuries and some setbacks but I’ve just tried to keep moving forward and keep the foot on the gas,” Broadhurst said.