They don’t hit, run, or pitch, but a score of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity stu­dents play an impor­tant role in the Mis­sion Hill Little League pro­gram, coaching and men­toring dozens of bud­ding ballplayers.

North­eastern stu­dents are a major part of our pro­gram,” said league pres­i­dent Adabel Romero, noting that at least one stu­dent is assigned to coach each team.

They work very well with the kids and keep them focused on the game,” added Romero, whose 12-​​year-​​old son, Anthony, plays shortstop.

The majority of vol­un­teers are brothers in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fra­ter­nity, which formed a part­ner­ship with the little league pro­gram eight years ago.

Nick Bar­tolone, the fraternity’s out­going pres­i­dent, is one of three North­eastern stu­dents who coach the Cubs, which won last year’s league championship.

He noted a stark trans­for­ma­tion in the behavior of the little lea­guers between the begin­ning and end of last season. “At the start of the year, some of the players showed up late and didn’t always play nice,” he explained. But as the season wore on, he said, “they came together as a team and learned how to work cohesively.”

Brett Kelly, another fra­ter­nity member who coaches the Cubs, agreed with Bartolone’s assess­ment of the young ballplayers, saying, “Their faces light up once they get a hit or get an out.”

Working as a summer camp coun­cilor taught Kelly a thing or two about men­toring his little lea­guers. “You get to know a lot about each player’s life,” he explained, “and you approach each one with a dif­ferent style in order to help him improve both on and off the field.”

Most games are played at Killilea Field on Mis­sion Hill’s McLaughlin Play­ground. Northeastern’s Office of City and Com­mu­nity Affairs donated $20,000 to the neigh­bor­hood last year to install a drainage system in the field, which was put in place shortly before Opening Day on April 20.

It’s working great,” Romero said. “It rained the night before Opening Day, and there were no pud­dles next to home plate. Before the drainage system was installed, we had to pump the water out by hand and reschedule a lot of games.”