MCC baseball team looks to ‘great’ year; coach IDs several returning strengths

By Amy Huber, Editor –

Greg Guzman, coach of MCC’s baseball team, anticipates another great season. While

he considers every team he has coached at MCC outstanding, he sees great things happening

again in 2016.

“This year’s team is overall better from top to bottom,” he said. “More depth in the

pitching department, and better overall hitters offensively.”

Guzman feels that this year’s pitchers, Zach Vitkuske and Rhett Holwerda, are the best to

date. As any baseball aficionado can attest, a good pitcher is essential to a winning baseball

team.

This year’s team has more than just great pitchers going for it, though. Guzman says

there are several players to keep a watchful eye on: Robert Spencer at middle infielder and Ryan

McClelland, right handed pitcher/first base, have already signed to continue their baseball

careers at Northwood University. He also gave a nod to Mitchell Reyes who he said is “fun to

watch in the outfield.”

While the starting pitchers seem to show a lot of promise, the closing ones may need a

little more time to develop finite skills.

“Our best strength is our team defense,” he said. “Offensively we have pretty good team

speed. Our weakest part of our team is our bullpen.”

As in any good sport experience and practice are key. Working with new players always

takes some time to get the players to jibe with each other.

“The returning players bring valuable experience on showing the freshmen how thing are

supposed to be done,” Guzman said.

Every college baseball player dreams of one day hitting the big leagues. Could Guzman’s

players potentially end up playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps, or the Detroit Tigers?

“I would like to think we may see McClelland, Vitkuske, Spencer, or Reyes possibly

playing professionally somewhere, although the Tigers might be a stretch,” he said.

Many major league ballplayers have said that catcher could perhaps be the toughest

position to play on the field. MCC’s catchers do not have a lot of experience at that position.

“Both of our catchers are relatively new to the position,” Gutzman said. “Our #1 Ryan

Beffrey started catching his sophomore year of high school, and our #2 Carson Hopman just

converted over this past fall,” said Guzman.

Starting line-ups can also play a key role in winning games.

“Our starting four – Rhett Holwerda, Zach Vitkuske, Brian Erndteman, and Ryan

McClelland – are pretty good,” he said, “but we need some freshmen to step up for us to be

successful.”

Guzman compared this year’s team to MCC’s 2010 team, which won 46 games. He

anticipates a good year once conference play begins in early April..

“Our best highlight was Jordan Wahr threw a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts” Gutzman

said. Mitchell Reyes hit .435 on the spring trip. Overall it was just good to get outside and play,”

said Guzman. “I definitely foresee us in the playoffs, possibly conference champs, or better!”

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