The 2007 Flying Dutchmen will be seeking to continue where they left off a year ago when they won 17 of their last 18 games en route to winning a co-championship of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). The championship was Hope's sixth in a decade and the 20th in school history. The Flying Dutchmen posted an overall 26-14 record, marking a school-record sixth straight season of winning 20-or-more games.
Coach Stu Fritz begins his 14th season at the helm of the Flying Dutch with a roster of 29 players which includes 17 letterwinners. There are eight freshmen, seven sophomores, eight juniors and six seniors.
Four of the returnees achieved All-MIAA honors last year. Sophomore pitcher Dustin Wuis of Kalamazoo, Mich. (Comstock HS) was the only first-year player on the All-MIAA first team. He posted a 5-1 record in league games. Junior outfielder Matt Sattler of Brighton, Mich. (Hartland HS) is also an All-MIAA first team returnee while junior shortstop Joey Goeb of Grand Rapids, Mich. (East Grand Rapids HS) and junior outfielder Scott Sommavilla of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS) were All-MIAA second team honorees.
Sattler established Hope single season records for hits (58) and singles (40). In league games he was the leader for hits (43) and doubles (13).
Co-captains of the team will be Matt Sattler and seniors Mike Rodgers of Saline, Mich. (Saline HS), Matt Van Beek of Hudsonville, Mich. (Unity Christian HS), Bill Lutke of Allendale, Mich. (Unity Christian HS) and Mike VanderVelde of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS).
Mike VanderVelde is a two-time All-MIAA honoree, achieving first team honors as a freshman and receiving second team recognition as a sophomore. Last spring he ranked 15th among all NCAA DIII players in the toughest-to-strikeout category (just 4Ks in 154 ABs).
The 2006 Flying Dutchmen hit a robust .319 led by .300 hitters Mike VanderVelde at .387, Matt Van Beek .355, Scott Sommavilla .341 and Joey Goeb .314.
Other returning players include sophomore outfielder Jeff Ichesco of Saline, Mich. (Saline HS), senior pitcher Kurtis DeHorn of Allendale, Mich. (Allendale HS), junior third baseman Tim Judson of Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Barrington HS), senior pitcher Anthony Pastrick of St. Joseph, Mich. (St. Joseph HS), sophomore first baseman Matt VanderVelde of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS), sophomore outfielder Paul Neumann of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), sophomore pitcher Brian Guerriero of Clare, Mich. (Clare HS), junior catcher Andrew Bedan of Grosse Pointe, Mich. (Grosse Pointe South HS), and sophomore pitcher Matt Richardson of Niles, Mich. (Niles HS).
The Flying Dutchmen will spend their spring break in Port Charlotte, Fla. Playing up to 10 games between March 17-23. The league schedule will consist of 14 home-and-away doubleheaders. The home opener will be Monday, March 26 against Alma.
The team is also anticipating its first international trip in June when they'll compete in a tournament in Prague, The Czech Republic.