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Speedy outfielder adds depth to lineup
By Drew DeVries

Alex MarcusBehind the bat and speed of Alex Marcus, Calvin's baseball team finished fourth in the MIAA this season. Marcus transferred from Wheaton College to Calvin the second semester of his freshman year, after playing a season of football in Illinois. He emerged into the lineup as a part-time starter in 2005 and quickly stepped into a starting role as a sophomore playing right field the following year.

He grew up in the small, rural town of Wilmar, Minn. For Marcus, Calvin seemed like a good fit, and the transfer from Wheaton has been beneficial, according to the outfielder.

“Most of my family has gone to Calvin,” Marcus said. “I liked the idea of a private college that offers strong academics and the opportunity to play sports. Calvin had all those things to offer, so it seemed like a good fit for me.”

The move to Calvin has not only been a good fit for Marcus, but the baseball team couldn't be happier with the threat he poses in the lineup. His role increased this season where he filled the No. 3 slot in the batting order and earned All-MIAA second team honors, hitting .330 while scoring a team-leading 34 runs. Marcus also led the team in extra-base hits with 14 and was named MIAA Player of the Week once.

Although Marcus had a successful season, he felt that his team was not as consistent as it should have been.

“We definitely had our ups and downs this past season,” he said. “Depending on how we played, we were able to beat the best teams and compete with the top teams in the conference.”

The Knights defeated an Adrian team twice that finished second in the conference; they also gave first-place Hope all it could handle before dropping the game in extra innings.

“We were two different teams this season, where we would sometimes play right or we come out flat,” Marcus said. “It was always one way or the other going back and forth a lot.”

As he already has worked himself into a leadership role on the team, Marcus has high expectations for the upcoming season.

“Our expectations are high because we got a good core group of guys coming back next year,” he said. This season, the Knights boasted seven all-conference players and will return six of them next season. “We also have a lot of good players coming off the bench that didn't play a lot last year but will be good contributors next year.”

But there will be more changes with next season's ball club than with just the lineup. The Knights will also feature a new head coach in John Sparks.

“A lot of us had the chance to meet Coach Sparks and are all really excited about the guy that was picked for the job,” Marcus said. “I know he is also really excited, and he's been trying to get things rolling by calling a lot of the guys on the team.”

While Marcus prepares for the new season, he'll pay close attention to how his favorite major-league team, the Minnesota Twins, is playing and approaching the game.

“I've always loved the way the Twins play the game,” he said. “They play scrappy and fundamental baseball with lots of hits and runs, which is how I like to play and approach the game.”

As an engineering major with civil concentration, Marcus hopes to try graduate school after his 2008 graduation.

“My tentative and short-term plan is to work somewhere in construction,” he said. “But looking long term, I'd like to head back home and work for the family construction business."