After two home game victories over Kalamazoo Valley Community College at Battle Creek’s Bailey Park yesterday, the Kellogg Community College baseball team has found itself ranked first in their 14-team Michigan Community College Athletic Association conference.
It’s no shock to head coach Eric Laskovy, who said this afternoon that “Our expectations are to be in first place and to finish there,” although with 10 league games left in the regular season he admits the team has a long way to go.
“We’ve gotta continue to play our best ball late in the season,” he said. “We gotta play consistent defense. Our Achilles’ heel has been too many errors.”
Working in the team’s favor, he said, is strong pitching. The team has three sophomore pitchers who have committed to play at four-year schools next year, including Caleb Vincent, of Marshall, who’s committed to play for Western Michigan University; Sean Clancy, of Sturgis, who’s committed to play for Grand Valley State University; and Colton Loomis, of Alma, who’s committed to play for Purdue University.
It’s sophomores like these who contribute to a team Laskovy said is likely even stronger than last year’s team, which won the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 12 Championship and finished fourth in the NJCAA’s Division II World Series.
“A lot of the guys that contributed last year are returning this year,” Laskovy said. “Does that mean we’ll make it that far? Who knows?”
Whether the team charges on to post-season glory or not, they certainly have things to be proud of. The team averaged higher than a 3.0 GPA in the fall, for instance, and includes eight players who have signed on to play with four-year schools in the future.
“We’ve been very proud of these guys, regardless of what happens on the field,” Laskovy said.
Highlights vs. KVCC, April 17, 2012
Among the highlights from yesterday’s games, Laskovy noted the following:
In game one (6-2), Loomis pitched a complete game, striking out 12 and allowing just three hits and no earned runs. Batting leaders included sophomore outfielder Chris McCoy, of Battle Creek, who hit one for two with a double, and sophomore pitcher/infielder Cam Bortell, also of Battle Creek, who hit one for three with an RBI.
In game two (5-4), freshman pitcher Bryan Stevens, of Portage, pitched for three and a third innings with no hits for the win in relief. Batting leaders included sophomore pitcher/infielder Seth Szafranski, of Coldwater, who hit two for three with a double and two RBI.
The Bruins play next against second-ranked Macomb Community College in an away double header beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, in what Kellogg Community College Athletic Director Tom Shaw called a “huge game towards Kellogg’s league championship run.”
The team’s next home game is a double header against Ancilla College that begins at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
For more information about the baseball program at Kellogg Community College, visit www.kellogg.edu/athletics/baseball/index.html.
For photos from a recent game against Kalamazoo Valley Community College — including the photos above — visit Kellogg Community College’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KelloggCommunityCollege/photos.