South Christian looks to repeat O-K Gold success with experienced softball squad
By Jonathan Kollnot | Advance Newspapers
CUTLERVILLE – The Sailors have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this spring, based both on the past accomplishments and their future promise.
South Christian’s softball team enjoyed a terrific conference season in 2013. The Sailors tied for first place in the O-K Gold with Wayland and finished with a 9-1 conference mark (22-9) overall.
Now the Sailors return 10 players from that league co-champion team and are looking to challenge a Wayland team that is a frequent competitor down in Battle Creek.
The Sailors feature eight seniors, including Danie Oeverman. The third-year varsity player is South’s top pitcher. Junior Abby Colon also returns to share starting pitching duties.
Senior catcher Amanda Nichols is another three-year varsity player who brings experience behind the plate. Nichols is a solid leadoff hitter with speed and is a great senior leader.
Another returning senior, Megan Doornbos, is switching from the outfield to shortstop. She possesses a very strong throwing arm and is a big hitter.
Third-year varsity player Maddie Smith brings speed, a strong arm, and plenty of softball knowledge at third base. New to the lineup is senior Sarah Austin, who transferred in from Caledonia. Austin is a big hitter who has range at second base.
Returning to the outfield are third-year varsity center fielder Megan Dykstra and junior right fielder Anneca Teitsma.
South Christian coach Tara Schreur is hopeful about her team’s prospects and how their experience should help them compete for another league title.
“We have a lot of talent coming back and just have a great bunch of girls,” said Schreur. “They all gel really well, they’re working hard and doing well in practice, and we’re looking forward to getting the season started. We have a tough schedule this year, but we’re looking forward to it.”
South Christian baseball squad gearing up to defend league title
By Greg Chrapek | Advance Newspapers
GRAND RAPIDS – The South Christian baseball team turned in a solid season last spring and while some key members of that team have moved on, the Sailors return plenty of talent to make another run at a big season this spring.
South Christian turned in a 24-6 record last spring. The Sailors captured the O-K Gold title and then added a district championship. A number of key players are gone from that squad including Austin Diekevers, Cody Boomsma, Matt Teitsma and Kevin and Kyle Doornbos.
While those players have moved on, the Sailors return some key players off that squad. Seniors Sam Memmelaar and Steve Springvloed head up the Sailor pitching staff. Memmelaar will also play first base while Springvloed will also start at shortstop. Senior Zack Brinkert and Taylor Meyering will both platoon at catcher and play the outfield. Senior Kyle Boes returns to the outfield while senior Zak Hulst is back at third base. Junior Kurtis Post is a returning pitcher and can also play first base.
“We had a strong junior class last year who are now seniors and have gained valuable playing experience,” South Christian coach Rick Hapner said. “We are returning a lot of the pitching staff and infield. Every player on the team has a love for the game and come to practice willing to learn and work hard.”
A number of newcomers will be added to the mix. Junior Jake Wierenga will play second base and also pitch. Junior Trevor Sisson will also pitch and play the infield while junior Ian Elgersma adds to the pitching depth.
Staying focused is a key to success this year for the Sailors.
“The correct mindset and discipline to practice hard and be in the games every single pitch will be key,” Hapner said. “Being inside a gym the first three weeks of season is not easy, being able to use that time wisely and put in good work will help for remainder of the year.”