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Spring 2012 Sports Recap

Friday, June 01, 2012

The baseball team under the direction of head coach John Sparks posted an overall record of 15-25 and finished tied for sixth place in the MIAA standings with a 9-19 conference record. Calvin posted a 5-5 record on its spring trip to Tucson, Ariz., but then suffered a seven-game losing streak in mid- April. Calvin rebounded to win four of its final seven games, including a combined no-hitter between senior Joe Lambers (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and freshman Nate Schepers (Holland, Mich.) in a 6-2 win over Albion. Lambers was later named MIAA Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.

The no-hitter by Lambers and Schepers was the first by a Calvin baseball team in an MIAA contest.

At the conclusion of the season, junior third baseman Ben Cok (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA first team. Cok batted .321 in 28 league games this spring while driving in 17 runs and scoring 18 runs. He was credited with nine extra-base hits, including three home runs. He had a slugging percentage of .526. He was also 11-for-12 in stolen-base attempts. Cok finished tied for second in the MIAA in home runs, tied for sixth in runs scored, tied for fourth in runs batted in, tied for fifth in total bases and tied for second in stolen bases. He also led the MIAA in walks (16) and was third in on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage. Freshman Grant Van Putten (Holland, Mich.) also set a new single-season standard during the spring, stealing 21 bases, breaking the previous Calvin single-season school mark of 19. Van Putten was 21-of-24 in stolen base attempts during the spring.

The softball team led by head coach Sharon DeKleine finished with an overall record of 15-21 and a conference record of 6-10. The Knights were picked to finish eighth in the MIAA preseason coachesí poll but finished in a tie for sixth place with Olivet. Calvinís overall-win total also marked a ninegame improvement from the year before.

A youthful Calvin team finished the year strong, winning 10 of its final 16 games, including victories at regionally ranked Adrian and Alma. Calvin also reeled off a six-game win streak during the late-season surge, which marked its longest win streak since 2004.

Senior Marie Prins (Hudsonville, Mich.) and sophomore Lina Avila (Lakewood, Calif.) were catalysts in Calvinís improvement this spring. Both players were named to the All- MIAA second team with Avila later earning a spot on the Division III All-Central Region second team as selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Prins batted .352 in league play this spring with 12 runs scored, 10 runs batted in and three home runs. She also had an on-base percentage of .435 and a fielding percentage of .972 while playing first base. Avila meanwhile finished the 2012 season with an overall .321 batting average with 13 home runs and 38 RBIís. Her homerun total is a new Calvin single-season record while her RBI total matches the Calvin single-season record originally set by Abby Konyndyk in 2005. Avila also collected 11 doubles and a pair of triples for a slugging percentage of .830. Avila also finished among the nationís leaders in home runs.

Avila shared the primary pitching duties with freshman Trista Brownlee (Saginaw, Mich.). Avila was 8-10 in the pitcherís circle with a 3.64 earned run average while Brownlee was 7-11 with an earned run average of 3.71. A highlight for Brownlee was a 2-1 win at Alma in which she pitched all 11 innings. As a team, Calvin belted 23 home runs with Avila, Prins (4), junior Hannah DeWeerd (3) and freshmen Merin Cok (1) and Catherine Hilbrands, all of Grand Rapids, and freshman Nicole Weener (1), of Zeeland, Mich., all belting long balls during the year.

The menís tennis team led by head coach John Ross hit the double-digit plateau in victories for the 10th consecutive year, finishing 11-9 overall in dual match play. Calvin took second place in the MIAA regular season standings with a 5-1 conference record. The Knights then advanced to the four-team MIAA tournament, defeating rival Hope 5-4 in the semifinals before falling to Kalamazoo 5-1 in the MIAA tournament finals.

Calvin edged Hope by 5-4 decisions twice during the year, including a lateseason regular season match at Calvin that clinched second place in the league standings for the Knights.

Junior Brian DeMaagd (Grandville, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA first team for Calvin after compiling a 3-3 league record at No. 1 singles. Junior Preston Phillips (Bexley, Ohio) was named to the All-MIAA second team after posting a 5-1 league record at No. 2 singles.

Phillips and junior Philip Reinken (Morton, Ill.) led Calvin in singles victories during the year with 15 wins apiece while sophomore Loukas Peterson (Brentwood, Tenn.) had 14 singles wins and junior Jarrod Brower (Holland, Mich.) had 13 singles wins.

The womenís tennis team was led by head coach Jerry Bergsma. The Knights posted an overall record of 7-13 and a league mark of 5-3 that was good for fourth place in the MIAA regular-season standings.

Without a senior on its roster, Calvin qualified for the four-team league tournament for the sixth consecutive year. In the MIAA tournament semifinals, Calvin was defeated by eventual tournament champion Hope 5-0.

Freshman Megan Visser (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA second team, as she posted a 3-5 record against league opponents at No. 1 singles. She was also 4-4 at No. 1 doubles in league competition.

Another freshmanóAli Roode (Hudsonville, Mich.)óled Calvin in singles victories, compiling a 16-3 record at No. 6 singles during the season. Calvinís top doubles tandem was the duo of junior Jordan Ipema (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and sophomore Lauren Schlagenhauf (Fort Wayne, Ind.) as they went 8-6 during the season, playing primarily at No. 3 doubles.

The menís track and field team was led by third-year head coach Bret Otte and finished in second place in the final MIAA regular season standings. Calvin took second at the MIAA Jamboree in mid-April and then took second at the MIAA Field Day with a team score of 170 points, finishing 36 points behind first-place Hope.

At the MIAA Field Day, Calvin took first place in eight events with junior Aaron Meckes (Bay City, Mich.) winning the discus (152-3) and shot put (54-8). Other individual winners included senior Dan Kerr (Petoskey, Mich.) in the 10,000 meters (32:40.12), senior Nick Kramer (Dyer, Ind.) in the 5,000 meters (14:56.57), senior Justin Kremers (West Chicago, Ill.) in the javelin (185-3), sophomore Matt Christians (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the high jump (6-7), sophomore Evert Geerlings (Kentwood, Mich.) in the pole vault (13-10) and junior Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor, Mich.) in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:31.81). At the Hillsdale Gina Relays in late April, Kramer shattered the Calvin record in the 5,000 meters, clocking in with a time of 14:12.39, breaking the previous Calvin record by 10 seconds.

Named to the All-MIAA team from Calvin were Kramer, Kerr, Christians, VanderRoest, Meckes, Kremers, Geerlings, and sophomore Sam Kerk (Hartland, Wis.).

Calvin then sent five individuals to the NCAA III Championships in Claremont, Calif., as Meckes competed in the shot put, Kramer, Kerr and VanderRoest in the 5,000 meters, Kramer in the steeplechase, Kerr in the 10,000 meters and junior Greg Whittle (Galesburg, Ill.) in the 1,500 meters. Kramer won the national championship in the steeplechase with a school-record time of 8:51.01 and was an All-American in the 5,000 meters with an eighth-place finish. Kerr earned All-American honors in the 10,000 meters, posting a fifth-place finish.

Distance coach Brian Diemer also received a notable award at the conclusion of the regular season as he was named the Great Lakes Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in menís track and field by the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association.

The womenís track and field team was also led by third-year head coach Bret Otte. The Knights shared the final MIAA title with Hope as Calvin finished behind Hope at the MIAA Jamboree by 13 points but then came back to win the MIAA Field Day in convincing fashion with 273 points, nearly 120 points ahead of Hope. Calvin has now claimed at least a share of 23 MIAA titles dating back to 1990. The streak is the longest active championship streak in MIAA womenís athletics history.

At the MIAA Field Day, Calvin took first place in eight events. Senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, Ill.) was a double winner, taking first place in the 1,500 meters (4:37.00) and 5,000 meters (18:09.40). Other individual winners included senior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia, Mich.) in the 800 meters (2:17.79), junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (11:03.02), junior Carissa Verkaik (Holland, Mich.) in the high jump (5-3 ĺ), sophomore Hilary Banning (Whitinsville, Mass.) in the triple jump (36-4), sophomore Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland, Mich.) in the 10,000 meters (37:52.37) and the Calvin quartet of sophomore Stephanie Bennett (Rockford, Ill.), freshman Breanna Verkaik (Holland, Mich.), sophomore Olivia Butler (Grant, Mich.) and freshman Jordyn Platt (Wood Dale, Ill.) in the 4x400-meter relay (4:00.80).

Named to the All-MIAA team from Calvin were Diemer, Hoekstra, Michmerhuizen, Penning, Banning, Verkaik and senior Lindsay VanderBrug (Elmhurst, Ill.) and sophomore Julie Busscher (Hudsonville, Mich.).

At the Hillsdale Gina Relays in late April, Jodi Hoekstra established a new Calvin school record in the 5,000 meters, clocking in with a time of 16:40.25, breaking the previous Calvin record by 14 seconds.

Calvin then sent five individuals on to the NCAA III Championships in Claremont, Calif. Representing Calvin were Hoekstra in the 5,000 meters, Michmerhuizen in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, Penning in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Kaitlin Diemer in the 1,500 meters and Carissa Verkaik in the high jump.

Penning was Calvinís top finisher with a fifth-place All-American finish. Hoekstra was an All-American in the 5,000 meters, finishing eighth.

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