Yonker set to spark Big Rapids baseball

John Yonker will be a main part of the Big Rapids pitching attack.

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids senior John Yonker has proven his credentials on the baseball diamond already in past seasons.

But the Cardinal pitcher is ready to do even more this year as Big Rapids pursues another banner season.

Yonker, is a pitcher-first baseman, who had a 9-2 record last year and has a combined two-season mark of 19-3.

He earned all-conference, all-district and all-region honors in 2017. A three-year starter, Yonker set the school record for ERA last season (0.60).

“When coach (Sam Daugherty) came in, he was planning on rebuilding,” Yonker said. “My first year, we went 15-16, which was an improvement. Last year, we started winning a lot, and won the conference and a lot of tournaments.”

Yonker was active with summer and fall baseball.

As a pitcher, “I like keeping hitters off balance, using my offspeed,” Yonker said. “(This season) I want to limit walks and be more in control of pitches.”

At first base, his strengths will be “not letting the ball get by me, keeping runners close to the bag,” Yonker said, “try to keep them honest and limit the running game.”

The Cardinals hope to win the Central State Activities Association Gold Division. They tied with Reed City last year.

“The conference will be really tough,” Yonker said. “This will probably be the toughest we’ve seen. But we hope to come out on top.”

The key against tough teams like Reed City, Yonker said, “will be pitching and defense. We have nine seniors and will have a lot of senior leadership.”

Yonker acknowledged early last week the weather conditions have made it “stressful” in limiting the team from going outside.

The Cardinals lost 5-3 to Traverse City West at Aquinas College on Wednesday. Yonker went 2 2/3 innings and fanned four while allowing one earned run.

 

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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