posted May 16, 2007

NCAA Regional Baseball Game Notes

Flying Dutchmen at a Glance

NCAA Mideast Regional
at Strongville, Ohio - May 16-19, 2007

Probable Hope Starting Lineup
 1  Matt Sattler, cf              .301 / 24 RBI
 8  Mike VanderVelde, 2b      .391 / 21 RBI
 6  Brian Baker, ss               .426 / 32 RBI
23  Bill Lutke, c                   .301 / 16 RBI
18  Matt VanderVelde 1b      .422 / 29 RBI
17  Rich Burling, dh             .328 /  9 RBI
24  Scott Sommavilla, lf       .277 / 19 RBI
22  Matt Van Beek, rf          .314 / 15 RBI
 3  Joey Goeb 3b                .239 / 14 RBI                               

Starters
  4  Mike Rodgers                7-2 / 1.81 ERA
21  Dustin Wuis                  6-2 / 4.07 ERA
20  Brian Guerriero              4-2 / 2.36 ERA
27  Matt Richardson            2-0 / 2.64 ERA

Relievers
15  Robby Poll, p                 4-3 / 1 save / 3.12 ERA
  5  Kurt DeHorn, p              2-0 / 2 saves / 0.84 ERA

The Flying Dutchmen are appearing in the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in school history.  The last time was in 2003 when the Flying Dutchmen went 0-2 in a regional also played in Ohio.  In 2001 Hope went 1-2 in a regional in Illinois.  Hope's first NCAA appearance in 1998 was a 4-1 loss to Marietta.  Hope's alltime record in NCAA tournament games is 1-6.

Back in March during their annual trip to Florida, Hope played games against
Ohio Wesleyan and Otterbein, bowing to both Ohio teams in extra innings.  Each game lasted 10 innings, Ohio Wesleyan winning 6-4 and Otterbein by 8-7.

Hope won the championship of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic
Association with a strong finish.  Early in the season, the Flying Dutchmen were 5-3 in league games.  The team won 17 of their last 20 league games, including a string of 14 in-a-row.  The MIAA championship was Hope's 13th since 1985, the most of any league member, and the 21st in school history.

Hope's 28 victories has tied a school single season record. The team had two .400 hitters during its regular season. Shortstop Brian Baker of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), voted the league's most valuable player, batted .426 and first baseman Matt Vander Velde of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS)  hit .422. Matt led the conference with a .456 batting average while Brian was runnerup at .433. Hope had a .323 team batting average with six starters hitting over .300.

Senior pitcher Mike Rodgers of Saline, a senior, had a sterling 1.81 earned run average posting a 7-2 record in 10 starts. He pitched three complete game shutouts. Voted the league's most valuable pitcher, he was 7-1 in conference games with a 1.15 earned run average.

Joining Rodgers and Baker on the All-MIAA first team were brothers Matt and Mike VanderVelde of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS), Matt at first base and Mike at second for the second time in his career. Sophomore Dustin Wuis of Kalamazoo, Mich. (Comstock HS) was voted a first team pitcher for the second year in-a-row.  Hope players voted to the All-MIAA second team included senior catcher Bill Lutke of Allendale, Mich. (Unity Christian HS) and junior outfielder Matt Sattler of Brighton, Mich. (Hartland HS).

Brothers Mike and Matt VanderVelde were both voted to the 2007 All-MIAA baseball team. It marked the fourth time that brothers on a Hope baseball team achieved All-MIAA honors. The others: John (1986) and Jim (1987 & 1988) Klunder; Roger (1966) and Don (1965, 1966 & 1967) Kroodsma; and Jim (1971 & 1972) and Bob (1973 & 1974) Lamer.

Mike VanderVelde has established Hope career records for total hits (170) and singles (128).  He has career batting average of .371 (458/170).  Throughout his career, he has ranked among the nation's Division III leaders in the "toughest to strkeout" category  -- #12 as a sophomore, #15 as a junior and #21 this season.  He has struck out just 28 times in 543 times at-bat during his collegiate career.

Senior Matt Van Beek of Hudsonville, Mich. (Unity Christian HS) has been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District second team.  A four-year baseball letterwinner, Van Beek has majored in biology, maintaining a 3.74 GPA.  He will pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan next fall.

Coach Stu Fritz has guided Hope to eight conference championships in 14 seasons and all four appearances in the NCAA tournament.  He ranks as the winningest Hope baseball coach (294-215-2). 

A renovation is underway of the baseball field at the Buys Athletics Complex on the campus of HopeCollege.  The college has also announced the naming of the field in honor of Ronald Boeve, Hope College class of 1953 and an assistant baseball coach for nearly a quarter of century, and his wife Sonja (Sonny).  The project includes the installation of permanent stands for fans, a new press box and dugouts. The playing field will remain as it is except for the installation of new fencing.  Fans will have an unobstructed view of the playing field. The seating will accommodate approximately 300 fans. The area will have a patio suitable for tailgating. Work is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2008 season.

The Hope baseball team will compete in a tournament in the Czech Republic the last week of June. The Flying Dutchmen will join teams from Australia, CzechRepublic, Russia, Slovakia, and Sweden in the 26th annual "Prague Baseball Week" tournament from June 26-30.   This will be the first international trip for a Hope baseball team. The tournament will begin with pool play. Hope's first opponent will be against a team from Moscow, Russia. Teams will play up to six games over the five days.   The tournament will be unique to the players in that wooden bats must be used.  ESPN recently included the "Prague Baseball Week" among its top ten baseball experiences.