The Grand Rapids Community College baseball and softball teams both played their final games of the season over the weekend.
Unfortunately for the program, both teams missed out on bids to play in the postseason. Despite that fact, each team showed improvement from the 2018 seasons.
The Raiders’ baseball program came into the year under new management as longtime head coach Mike Cupples stepped down to an assistant role and allowed Mike Eddington to take over as the Raiders’ new skipper.
Eddington said he is proud of the way his team played this year and addressed what he is most proud of as well as what he’ll miss most.
“Obviously we wish we were still playing,” Eddington said. “(I’m) most proud about all 14 sophomores who will continue with their education and probably 11-13 will continue playing baseball at the college level… The majority of them will receive academic and athletic scholarships. We’ll miss the relationships developed from the sophomores.”
Sophomore shortstop Brady Paganelli enjoyed success in his two years at GRCC. He talked about his teammates and the fun he had in his two years with the Raiders.
“The team we had this season was really fun to be apart of,” Paganelli said. I thought we all got along and we all like playing with each other. I think I’ll miss the coaches and the friendships that came along with playing at GRCC the most.”
The highlight of the Raiders’ season came when they beat the then No. 1 ranked Sinclair Community College team 3-2. The Raiders did manage to go out on a high note winning their final game of the season over the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Cougars on Saturday 3-2.
The Raiders finished the season with a 16-10 record in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference and an overall record of 21-22. Their 16-10 conference record was a one-game improvement over their 2018 season.
The GRCC softball came into the 2019 season with most everyone underestimating them. In 2018, the Raiders finished with an underwhelming 4-24 record in MCCAA play. The Raiders showed vast improvement this season by more than doubling their conference wins from a season ago.
Sophomore second baseman Andi Chipman talked about the team’s talent and how that helped them surprise a lot of teams this season.
“The team we had this year was very talented and obviously we improved a lot from last year,” Chipman said. I think a big part of that came from having five sophomores return to help lead the team and to set an example for the freshman.”
Like Paganelli from the baseball team, Chipman’s time at GRCC is over and she reflected on her two years as part of the Raiders’ softball team.
“What I will miss the most will definitely be seeing the girls everyday and just playing the game I love,” Chipman said. “GRCC’s program has created a new appreciation for the sport for me and has really pushed me to be the best player that I can be and I can’t be more grateful for that.”
The Collegiate reached out to the Raiders’ softball head coach Brian Skudre for comment on the season, but did not hear back from him.
The Raiders finished the season with an 11-20 record in conference play and 12-28-1 overall.