|Spoelstra siblings are diamond duo
By Derek Neice
The Spoelstra siblings grew up in a sports-minded household. Their father played baseball and now plays softball. “Right off the bat my dad was really into us playing sports,” said Calvin freshman Lauren Spoelstra. “Our dad basically taught us everything that we know.”
It’s no surprise then to find both Lauren and her brother, Keith, taking to the diamond as Calvin Knights. Graduates of Eastern Christian High School in North Haledon, N.J., both have made key contributions to the baseball and softball teams at Calvin.
Keith was the first to come to Calvin, deciding to become a Knight a bit by default. After coming his freshman year and being a part of the MIAA championship team Calvin put together that season, he knew he had come to the right place.
“It was kind of a last minute thing in deciding to come here,” said Keith. “I applied really late and got in, and then after my first year I didn’t want to leave.”
Statistically, he is a clear leader on the young Knight team. Keith’s 1.99 ERA led the MIAA as did his opposing team’s batting average of .224. He also had a teamhigh and MIAA fourth-best six wins on the season. For his efforts, he was named to the All-MIAA first team.
“It had its highs and lows,” he said when asked about this past season. “Overall there are a lot of good things we’re seeing, so I look forward to see where we go from here especially next year with three senior pitchers on the team.”
Academically, Keith is an international relations major, and he plans on extensive traveling after graduation, a dream of his since he was young.
“We did a lot of traveling growing up,” said Keith. “I’ve always wanted to travel, so I figured I’d pick a major that allowed me to travel a lot.
“After graduation I’m not exactly sure what I want to do, but I’ve been looking into something like the Peace Corps or other organizations like that,” he continued. Keith will be back for a final year at Calvin, hoping to boost the team to MIAA dominance once again.
Keith’s younger sister, Lauren, completed her first season in softball at Calvin this year, experiencing all of the ups and downs first-year players do as coaches try to find what best suits them position-wise.
Lauren was a platoon player for the Knights this season, as they worked to improve on last year’s record. Moving around from catcher to the outfield to designated hitter, Lauren played a variety of part-time roles for the rebuilding team.
Her biggest contribution came April 3 against Olivet in a 5–4 Calvin win as she knocked in two RBIs, including the game winner in the top of the seventh.
“It started off pretty rough because getting into the swing of things with a different team was confusing,” said Lauren about this season. “It was kind of exciting though to get moved around and know that my coaches trusted me to play different positions that most people wouldn’t be okay with getting thrown into.
“I feel like the season was good overall considering last year’s record,” she continued. “I think we really stepped it up and pulled through, proving that this team could really do something.”
Lauren, an elementary education major, hopes to teach middle school science in the future.
Living in New Jersey, the Spoelstra parents were able to see the two play on various occasions. Even though they’re in the same town, it was tougher for Keith and Lauren to see each other play because of conflicting schedules.
“It was hard because our games are on the same days or practices, so I wasn’t able to see her play a whole lot,” said Keith. “I talked to my coach about being able to go to a game early on and then come to practice late so that was pretty cool to see her play.”
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