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Spring sports recap: track teams win MIAA, women’s tennis comes close
(l to r): Terry O'Neal (Muskegon, Mich.), Mike Aggen (Evergreen Park, Ill.) and Josh Vriesman (Denver, Colo.)

Under the direction of veteran skipper Jeff Pettinga, the baseball team finished 15-25 overall and in sixth place in the MIAA standings with a 6-12 conference mark. Of Calvin’s 25 defeats, eight were by two runs or less.

A non-conference season highlight came on April 28 when the Knights met cross-town rival Aquinas College in a game at Fifth Third Ball Park – home of the Class A Minor League affiliate West Michigan Whitecaps. Aquinas won the game 10-8 but not before Calvin mounted a serious rally in the late innings highlighted by a booming three-run homer by sophomore Tyler VanEps (Denver, Colo.).

Calvin also used the long ball to win an exciting 1-0 nine-inning victory over league runner-up Adrian in the second-to-last weekend of the season as senior Darrell Heuker (Hudsonville, Mich.) belted a walk-off homer to lead off the ninth inning, allowing sophomore pitcher Jim Deters (Portage, Mich.) to collect his third shutout victory of the season.

Deters finished the season with a 5-3 record and landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team. Deters was named MIAA Pitcher of the Week once during the season and finished the conference season with a league-leading 50 strikeouts and 49.2 innings pitches. Of his three defeats, one was a 2-1 loss to rival Hope in 10 innings. Heading into next year, Deters has a career win-loss record of 18-5 including a 12-3 mark in conference games.

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were Heuker, junior Josh Vriesman (Denver, Colo.) and sophomore Mike Aggen (Evergreen Park, Ill.). A three-year starter for the Knights including a two-year starter behind the plate, Heuker batted .321 in league play along with three homers, nine runs scored and eight runs batted in. Heuker finished tied for second in the league in home runs and fifth in slugging percentage (.554). A three-year starter at shortstop, Vriesman batted .368 in league play with 11 runs scored, seven stolen bases and six runs batted in. He finished ninth in the MIAA batting race, sixth in base hits (21) and fourth in stolen bases. In overall games, he led the Knights in batting average with a .356 mark. Aggen served as a utility man for Calvin this spring, seeing time at the designated hitter spot, in the outfield and occasionally behind the plate. Aggen hit .328 in the league and finished third in the MIAA in base hits (22) and seventh in stolen bases.

Lea Bareman (Jenison, Mich.)

Led by head coach Amber Warners, the softball team finished 19-15 overall, good for third place in the final league standings. During the MIAA regular season, Calvin finished one game (11-3) behind first place Alma (12-2) to reach the four-team MIAA tournament for the third straight year. Calvin then bowed out of the MIAA tournament with losses to St. Mary’s and Hope.

During its annual spring trip to Florida, the Knights met eventual national champion St. Thomas of Minnesota and dropped a pair of close games, falling 4-2 and 3-1. During its conference campaign, Calvin picked up at least one victory against each league school including a 4-1 win over nationally ranked and eventual league champion Alma.

At the conclusion of the season, sophomore Jeanne Cole (Fountain, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA first team while juniors Kara VanKooten (Anchorage, Alaska) and sophomore Laurel Sands (Rockford, Mich.) were named to the All-MIAA second team. A shortstop, Cole batted .353 in 14 league games this spring and finished 10th in the league batting race. She also finished second in the MIAA in hits (18), runs scored (12), doubles (5) and sixth in total bases (23). In the field, she commited just three errors in league play and compiled a .941 fielding percentage.

VanKooten and Sands are both receiving All-MIAA second team honors for the first time. In league play this spring, VanKooten fashioned a 3-0 record with a 1.01 ERA. She was also voted MIAA Pitcher of the Week once during the year. A third baseman, Sands batted .318 in league games this year and collected six extra-base hits on the strength of four doubles and two triples. She led the MIAA in triples, was tied for second in runs scored (12), eighth in slugging percentage (.500) and 13th in batting average.

Junior catcher Angie Sietsema (Grandville, Mich.) was also voted to the NFCA All-Central Region third team at the conclusion of the season.
Sietsema led the Knights in hitting with a .326 average, collecting 31 hits in 95 at bats. She also picked up 10 RBI's and scored 12 runs. In addition, she produced a team-leading 12 sacrifice hits, often setting the table for Calvin's three, four and five hitters. In the field, Sietsema recorded a .964 fielding average, committing only five errors in 140 total chances. She also threw out eight base runners attempting to steal.

Junior Lea Bareman (Jenison, Mich.) also received post-season honors as she was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV second team. Bareman served primarily as Calvin's designated player this spring and batted .244 with 10 runs scored and four runs batted in. Bareman has a career batting average of .309, collecting 59 hits in 191 trips to the plate. An elementary education major with a minor in Spanish, Bareman carries a 3.6 grade point average and was named to the 2003 MIAA Academic Honor Roll.

Dan Volkema (Holland, Mich.)

The men’s tennis team was led by first-year head coach John Ross this spring and produced an overall record of 10-8 in dual match play including 2-3 in the MIAA. Calvin then took third at the MIAA championships with a team score of 54 points to finish in a tie for third place in the final league standings.

In singles, Calvin's top finisher was sophomore Ryan DeNooyer (Kalamazoo, Mich.), who reached the championship final at No. 6 singles before bowing to Luke Marker of Kalamazoo 7-5, 7-5. Junior Jon Miedema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) also took third at No. 2 singles while junior Kevin VanHaitsma (Hudsonville, Mich.) was defeated in the third-place match at No. 1 singles. Senior Mark Betten (Portage, Mich.) also fell in the third place at No. 4 singles while freshman Dan Volkema (Holland, Mich) was defeated in the third place at No. 3 singles. In addition, sophomore David Bratt (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was defeated in the third place match at No. 5 singles.

In doubles action, VanHaitsma and Volkema took third at No. 1 doubles while Miedema and Betten took third at No. 2 doubles with freshman David Sneller (Sheboygan, Wis.) and DeNooyer taking third at No. 3 doubles.

Calvin opened the year by winning just two of its first six matches but rebounded to win five of its final seven.

VanHaitsma led the Knights at No. 1 singles throughout the season and was named to the All-MIAA first team for the third straight year. Miedema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA second team and led Calvin in victories with a 15-6 record at No. 2 singles.

Amy Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.)

The women’s tennis team recorded an exciting 2004 campaign as the Knights finished 14-4 in dual match play, one victory short of matching a Calvin single-season record. In conference play, Calvin tied for first place in the MIAA dual standings with a 6-1 league mark and then took fifth at the MIAA championships with a team score of 58.5 points to finish third in the final league standings behind St. Mary’s and Albion.

Led by head coach Jerrry Bergsma, Calvin opened the year by splitting its first four matches of the season but rebounded to win eight of its final nine.

At the MIAA championships Calvin had two individuals reach championship finals in singles play: freshman Kari Lipinski (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was defeated in the final at No. 5 singles while sophomore Kim Bosscher (Grandville, Mich.) reached the final at No. 6 singles before falling. At No. 4 singles, freshman Allyson Logan (Fort Wayne, Ind.) took third place as did sophomore Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.) at No. 3 singles. At No. 1 singles, sophomore Amy Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.) took sixth while junior Rachel Pater (Byron Center, Mich.) took fourth at No. 2 singles.

In doubles play, Zeilstra and Pater took fifth at No. 1 doubles while Huizenga and Logan were fourth at No. 2 doubles. Lipinski and sophomore Kristina Plaisier (Kalamazoo, Mich.) took fifth at No. 3 doubles.

Zeilstra was named to the All-MIAA first team while Pater was named to the All-MIAA second team. Logan led Calvin in victories, finishing the year with an 18-3 singles record while Lipinski was second with a 16-3 singles mark.

Dave Haagsma (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Lead by seventh-year head coach Jong-Il Kim, the men’s track and field team etched its name into the MIAA record books as it captured a share of its 11th straight MIAA title. The championship streak matches the longest streak in MIAA men’s track and field history, originally established by (then member) Michigan State University between 1897-1907. During the MIAA dual-meet season, Calvin finished in second place with a 4-1 conference mark. Calvin’s only loss was a 101-91 defeat at Albion, which ended Calvin’s record MIAA dual-meet win streak at 43.

At the MIAA field day however, Calvin edged Albion for first place as the Knights posted a first place total of 219 points while the Britons were second with 199 points. The first-place finish allowed Calvin to share the final league crown with Albion.

During the non-conference portion of the season, Calvin took first place at the Emory Classic with 85.5 points in a field of 29 points. Calvin also took first place at the 14-team Millikin Classic with 145 points.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took first place in eight events. Winning individual titles for Calvin went to senior Matt Edwards (Grand Blanc, Mich.) in the 10,000 meters (time not official), sophomore Justin Grasmeyer (Norwalk, Calif.) in the discus (165’0”), sophomore Tim Zwiers (Pella, Iowa) in the triple jump (45’3 ½”), sophomore Chris Friebel (Shelby, Ohio) in the 200 meters (22.05), sophomore Brian VanDyken (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the 400 meters (49.26), junior Andy Yazzie (Rehoboth, N.M.) in the 1,500 meters (3:58.08), senior Kyle Carrick (Tokyo, Japan) in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:24.99) and senior Tim Avery (Rochester, N.Y.) in the 5,000 meters (14:49.60). All eight individuals landed spots on the All-MIAA team and were joined on the team from Calvin by senior Dave Haagsma (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and freshman Josh Meckes (Bay City, Mich.).

Meckes was named the MIAA’s Most Outstanding Field Performer as he took second in the shot put, third in the long jump and sixth in the javelin. In winning the award, Meckes became part of the first brother tandem in MIAA history to win the award as older brother Nate Meckes received the award in 2003.

Sue Abbring (Highland, Ind.)

The women’s track and field team was also led by head coach Jong-Il Kim. The 2004 season was a record-breaking campaign for the Knights as they captured their 13th straight outright MIAA title as well as their 15th consecutive outright league crown. The championship streak is the longest in MIAA track and field history. Calvin swept through the MIAA dual meet season with an unblemished 5-0 dual meet record to stretch its record MIAA dual-meet win streak to 71. During the non-conference portion of the season, Calvin took second at the Emory Classic with 147 points, trailing only NCAA Division I Georgia State University. Calvin then rolled to a first-place score of 195 points at the 14-team Millikin Classic.

Ranked among the top-three teams in the Division III Power Rankings sponsored by the M-F Athletic Company throughout the season, Calvin flexed its muscles at the MIAA championships by recording a first-place score of 262 points as the Knights took first place in 14 of a possible 19 events.

Calvin had a trio of multiple-event winners. Junior Sue Abbring (Highland, Ind.) repeated as MIAA champion in the 100 (12.17) and 200 (24.71) meters while senior Sarah Hastings (Traverse City, Mich.) repeated as league champion in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (10:45.86) while also winning the 5,000 meters (18:14.72). Abbring’s time in the 100 meters was a new MIAA record as was Hasting’s winning time in the steeplechase. Calvin’s other double-event winner was junior Laura Hamilton (Downers Grove, Ill.) who repeated as league champion in the 400 meter hurdles (1:02.92) while also winning the 100 meter hurdles (15.14).

Also defending MIAA titles for Calvin were senior Katie Corner (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the discus (158’3”, MIAA record) and senior Jodi VerMeulen (Holland, Mich.) in the 10,000 meters (38:12.99). Calvin swept the three throwing events as junior Lisa Nanninga (Grand Rapids, Mich.) won the shot put with an MIAA-record throw of 44’4 ½” while sophomore Christine Hendricks (Cincinnati, Ohio) won the javelin (118’11”).

Freshman Katie VanderLaan (Grand Rapids, Mich.) also picked up an MIAA title in the 400 meters (59.82) and then ran a leg on Calvin’s first place 4x400-meter relay team (3:58.35) that also included Abbring, Hamilton and freshman Jill Capel (Hudsonville, Mich.). In addition, Calvin’s 4x100-meter relay team of freshmen Meredith Homer (Charlton, Mass.) and Lisa Winkle (Grand Rapids, Mich.) along with Abbring and Hamilton took first place with a time of 48.30.

During the year, Calvin established six records. Individuals breaking records for Calvin included Corner in the discus (167-1), Corner in the shot put (45-1 ½), Hamilton in the 400 meter hurdles (1:00.70), Abbring in the 100 meters (12.08) and 200 meters (24.38) and Hastings in the steeplechase (10:45.86).