The Grand Rapids Community College baseball team won both of its games in a doubleheader against Kalamazoo Valley Community College 5-2, 11-5 on Tuesday.
The Raiders have won six of their last eight games, and improved to 7-3 in conference play and 11-16 overall.
GRCC coach Mike Cupples said despite winning both, there is still room for improvement heading into the coming games.
“We made all the big pitches and swung the bat when we needed to, but we still made too many errors,” Cupples said. “We need to put a lot more focus into the coming games this week.
“We’re playing some good teams and they will take advantage of those errors.”
In Game 1, Same Traver (3-2) pitched outstanding, going seven innings and gave up two unearned runs on six hits. Traver now leads the team in earned run average at 2.91.
“I felt really good out there tonight, everything just kind of fell into place,” Traver said. “I’ve been able to locate my pitches lately and it’s made a big difference.”
Jalen Cox had a big Game 1, going 2 for 4 and had two runs batted in. Dalton Phillips also went 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
Jason John got the loss for the Cougars after pitching 3.1 innings of work and only giving up one earned run.
In Game 2, GRCC had the bats going strong all game long, and it was nice for Cupples to see the team get off to a fast start.
“We hit extremely well early in the game and never really had to look back,” Cupples said. “We just have to yet again look at our defense and make sure we minimize mistakes because we probably could have shut them down to even less runs.”
Shane Odzark (2-1) got the win for the Raiders, going six innings while just giving up three earned runs on four hits. Odzark did have six walks but struck out eight. Jackson Shaver closed the game out with a solid inning, giving up no runs and added a strikeout.
Zane Gonzalez picked up the loss for KVCC, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits in just 1.1 innings of work.
“(Jalen) Cox and (Will) Harris had a nice game hitting the ball and continuing to see the ball well,” Cupples said. “(Brendan) Johnson is also really having a great season, and it’s nice to see the power continue.”
Harris went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored plus a walk. Cox went 2 for 5 with three RBIs and a run scored. Johnson, who now leads the team in average (.403) on base percentage (.476) and home runs (3), went 2 for 4 with RBIs, two runs scored, and a home run.
Traver talked about how his team’s been getting the job done lately compared to earlier in the year.
“Our offense has been getting there, we have timely hitting and score enough runs to win,” Traver said. “We still need to figure some things out on defense but we have been playing well lately regardless.”
The Raiders will be challenged in their upcoming games, and Cupples knows that the team needs to be prepared to be at the top of its game.
“We have some of our most important games coming up here in the next week or so, and we need to be ready from the start,” Cupples said. “It’s been nice to get some wins lately, but we really need to buckle down and play our best baseball starting Thursday.”
The Raiders play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. today, at Belknap Park against Kellogg Community College, who is second place in the MCCAA standings at 8-2, one spot ahead of GRCC.