After months of preparation of hitting in the cage and throwing across the field, both the baseball and softball teams are on the brink of beginning their season. The baseball team is lead by head coach Jeff Schouten and the softball team is lead by Jeff Zomer.
Schouten’s squad consists of 41 members; 28 on varsity, and 13 on JV. The team hopes to build off of the experience they gained last year with six out of their eight field positions returning. Travis Dekkars, all time hit leader at Dordt, is the only player who graduated, and is now an assistant coach for Schouten along with Brian Engleman and Mitch Feller.
“It’s great for us that we are returning a lot of key guys this year. Defensiviely we have most of our positions back from last year. I feel really good about what we can do,” said Coach Schouten. “Offensively we have a lot of big hitters back this year, other than missing Dekkars. Pitching wise, we return the top three in our rotation with Lucas Carls, Jake Slings, and Ben Van Kekrix.”
While Schouten doesn’t designate specific players as his captains, he gives praise to his seniors for taking the reins during the preseason and displaying early leadership while his underclassmen have been responding well to the new challenges of college level ball.
Gameplay was scheduled to begin this weekend with two double headers against Manhattan Christian in Kansas, but due to weather, it will be pushed back to the following weekend.
On the other side of the spectrum, the softball team began practices last week. Coach Zomer sports a smaller squad of 13 with the help of assistant coach Ken Roseberry.
“Due to the underhand motion of pitching, the shoulder can take that stress every game,” said Zomer. “Only 13 players on our roster poses some potential problems, but when you only need one or two pitchers, the need for girls just isn’t as high.”
The strength of the team is going to come in the amount of offensive power they can bring night in and night out. Coach Zomer expects his team to be able to consistently put up a lot of runs.
Softball will be travelling to Sioux City this weekend for a number of indoor scrimmages before they start the season at the beginning of March in a tournament down in Kansas.
Both teams will be making a road trip to Arizona for a series of games over spring break. GPAC play will begin late in March.
Justin Pastoor, Sports Editor