By James Herold
On Thursday, May 11, on a beautiful 80° sunny day with no clouds in the sky, the Grand Rapids Community College Baseball team played a doubleheader and won both games to advance to the regional playoffs next Thursday. Today they played against Ivy Tech Community College- Fort Wayne at Belknap Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. GRCC came into Game 1 with a record of 33-12 in regular season play after losing their previous game, a 22-12 loss to No. 4 ranked Lansing Community College. The two teams played in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Playoff Tournament Thursday afternoon.
GRCC won the first game, 12-2 in eight innings as the game was called due to the mercy rule. In the first inning, Trevin Lamming homered on a solo shot to put the Raiders up 1-0. In the fourth, Joe Hoeks singled to left, sending Zacarias Salinas home to score putting GRCC up 2-0. In that same inning, Trevin Lamming singled in a run, bringing home Tommy Reid, 3-0 Raiders. But in the seventh, Ivy Tech answered back, Hayden Lowe singled to left bringing in Zachary Green, 3-1 Raiders. In the bottom of the seventh, GRCC’s Zacarias Salinas singled to right field bringing in Fernando Rivera-Calderon to score, 4-1 Raiders. Also in the seventh, GRCC’s Tommy Reid singled to right field bringing in Zacarias Salinas to score, 5-1 GRCC. In the eighth, Ivy Tech responded back, Will Johnson singled to single, bringing in Noah Matheson to make it 5-2 Raiders. In the bottom of eighth inning, GRCC’s Jacob Guminey left field, allowing Joe Hoeks to score, 6-2 Raiders. Later, Zacarias Salinas walked allowing Trevin Lamming to score, 7-2 Raiders. Then, Guminey scored on a passed ball, making it 8-2 Raiders. Also in the eighth Rivera-Calderon doubled to center, bringing to two runs as Salinas and Xander Reisbig scored, 10-2 Raiders. Then, Hoeks singled to center field, scoring two runs as Rivera-Calderon and Dylan Chargo scored, 12-2 Raiders.
Starting Pitcher Jerad Berkenpas had a solid six innings scoreless start for the Raiders.
“I mean, we don’t expect anything less from Jerad, he’s been doing it all year”, said first-year GRCC assistant coach Brady Owen. “He’s an All-American, he will probably be again soon. Just the way Jerad goes.”
GRCC had a great offensive game especially in the eighth inning.
“We really picked it up there at the end, big lead off home run by Trevin Lamming, Joe Hoeks had a good day, good defensive play, to get us into, get us up to bat again, in the bottom of the eighth, and got two hits, and the one that ended it, so couple big performances there, but a good team performance as well.”
In game two of the doubleheader, GRCC played as the away team due to a weather-related cancellation against Ivy Tech on April 7. In the first inning, GRCC Pitcher Lucas McKinney pitched out of a bases loaded jam. In the second inning, Zacarias Salinas singled to center field bringing in Fernando Rivera-Calderon to score, 1-0 Raiders. In the third, Jacob Guminey flew out on a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Joe Hoeks, GRCC up 2-0. In the sixth, Fernando Rivera-Calderon singled through the left side, scoring Trevin Lamming, GRCC led 3-0.
In the seven innings played, GRCC won 3-0. Pitcher Lucas McKinney had a strong start in game two. “I like how he battled, got in some trouble, and just competed, and worked himself through it.” said fifth-year GRCC Head Coach Mike Eddington. GRCC held on for a 3-0 victory despite Ivy Tech being loaded on the base pads. “I thought it was really good, and I thought Ivy Tech played a good game.”
In both games, GRCC pitchers Jerad Berkenpas, Caden VanDeBurg, Lucas McKinney and Ethan London allowed just two runs. GRCC advances to the final four of the regional baseball tournament to face either Jackson, Henry Ford, or Lansing on Thursday, May 18.