The brothers of Beta Theta Pi fraternity hosted a batting competition Sunday on Fraternity Row, honoring and raising awareness for their late brother Lowell Ensel, who died unexpectedly of testicular cancer in 2015.
Ensel was a straight-A government and politics major at the University of Maryland under the Banneker/Key Scholarship. His love for baseball inspired Beta members to create the event Homeruns for Lowell last year.
“He was very outgoing and open to including people in everything,” senior environmental science major and lifelong friend Trevor Gibson said. “He was always laughing, smiling, trying to have a good time.”
On May 11, 2015, Ensel was on a UMD shuttle bus when he became short of breath and stopped breathing. It wasn’t until a month later his family learned that Ensel was suffering from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs, according to Gibson.
Multiple fraternities and sororities on campus created teams to compete against each other in the batting tournament. Fraternity brothers from Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Delta Theta and Phi Kappa Tau competed in the first round, then sorority sisters from Sigma Kappa and Delta Gamma competed after.
One person from each team had 45 seconds to hit as many home runs as possible, and the winners received an R. J. Bentley’s gift card.
Ensel’s father Fenwick Anderson also brought pamphlets on testicular cancer to the event to hand out to students.
“Had Lowell read [pamphlets] years ago he would probably still be alive today,” Anderson said.
Anderson spoke to the students at the beginning of the event, thanking them for coming out to support the cause and encouraging them to vote in the upcoming presidential election, as Ensel would have, he said.
“We deeply appreciate your honoring Lowell,” Anderson said. “Especially by promoting research and public awareness to combat testicular cancer.”
Gibson, who had known Ensel since they were 3 years old, coordinated the event and has helped promote it and run it through the past two years. The two had been best friends who played baseball and joined Beta together, Gibson said.
“Lowell was a great example of a person in our fraternity,” he said. “He was an upstanding person who was going to go places.”
While Gibson was impressed by the turnout, the second year of the event was more difficult as the fraternity has grown and changed since Ensel was a member, he said. Philanthropy chair Malivai Razafimandimby, junior accounting and finance major, helped coordinate the event.
“I would hope that even though I’m a senior the guys in Beta continue to honor Lowell through this event,” Gibson said. “I think it’s a great event even if they don’t necessarily know him. The goal is to keep his memory alive.”