By Connor Lannen
As the weather heats up in Southwest Michigan, the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team has done the same. After a shutout loss in the season opener to Aquinas Colleges JV squad, the Raiders have combined for 28 runs in their last two outings.
The Raiders have been a perennial powerhouse at the National Junior College Athletic Association level, boasting five National Championships, 20 Regional Championships, 16 Michigan Community College Athletic Association Championships, and 15 West Conference Championships.
The historic program looks to be turning things around after a 3-7 record in the 2020 season, prior to the COVID-19 nationwide sport cancellations.
On Wednesday, at Davenport’s homefield, Farmers Insurance Complex, the Raiders got the bats rolling quickly. Piling on five runs in the top of the first inning, freshman infielder, Aaron West, drove in the first run when he reached on a dropped fly ball hit to right field.
The scoring continued in the second inning as the Raiders added three more runs to launch the score to 8-0 by the middle of the second inning. A fourth inning balk by Davenport’s pitcher, Caleb Smith, bumped the score up to 9-0.
Davenport managed to show some life by scraping together runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings bringing the score to 9-2. Additional insurance runs from RBI singles by freshman infielder, Sam Schmitt, in the seventh and ninth innings, wrapped the win up for the Raiders.
Collin Bradley was in mid season form, surrendering just one hit and one earned run, while striking out four, over four innings pitched. After Bradley was pulled, Garrett Chelsek picked up right where Bradley left off and earned the win.
Chelsek pitched four innings and only suffered one run off of four hits, while striking out three. Drew Murphy came in and closed the game out in the ninth.
Schmitt and right fielder Fernando Rivera, led GRCC at the plate. Both freshmen went 3 for 5 on the day with Schmitt driving in two runs and crossing home once. Rivera drove in one run and scored two in the outing.
Head Coach Mike Eddinger has GRCC rolling through their last two games. The Raiders will next take the field for their home opener on Tuesday, March 23.
GRCC will play another doubleheader against Aquinas College JV, however, this doubleheader the Raiders will play on the comfort of their home dirt at Belknap Park.