Quad City Storm conducts baseball tryouts

Quad City Storm coach David Yonker (right) goes through tryout exercises on Saturday at Win Kellum Field. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — All eyes were on the 2020 summer baseball season when David Yonker and other Quad City Storm coaches conducted tryouts on Saturday at Win Kellum Field.

Yonker said around 35 players attended the two-hour session.

“They came from all over,” Yonker said. “We had guys from Fremont, Big Rapids, Reed City and Morley. We typically do all of our conditioning and stretching and warmups. We run the 60-yard dash. We have infielders take groundballs and throw to first. Outfielders will take flyballs. We hit infielders popups as well. We have everybody hit. Pitchers and catchers stay afterwards. Pitchers throw to the catchers, and catchers throw to second and third base.”

Players were from ages 13 to 18.

“Out of this we’re doing tryouts for next year’s team,” Yonker said. “Any openings we have on rosters, and typically we always do, new guys can come and fill those. If we had enough players, we could add another team. We won’t be doing that this year. Mostly, it’s filling in roster spots where there are openings.

“There were 10 brand new players that were there vying for new spots. The rest were existing players.”

Among the participants on Saturday was Eric Standen, who will be a Big Rapids junior. He’s also a goaltender for the Big Rapids hockey team.

“It’s going really good,” he said during a break in the tryout sessions. “There’s been a lot of batting and fielding. You’re getting warmed up for the season.”

Standen, a catcher and pitcher, has been involved with the group since he was 14. The tryouts were for all levels. He is now 16.

The tryouts are very valuable for the program, Yonker noted. Some baseball players might go through the fall season.

“A lot of them play other sports like football and basketball,” he said. “Some of them who don’t play football, we encourage them to play in fall baseball leagues. Most of them are multiple-sport athletes.”

Most of the local players interested in fall baseball will go to Grand Rapids.

“There’s what’s called the high school fall ball league which covers five states,” Yonker said. “There’s teams in Lansing, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. We play out of the Grand Rapids area league. Depending on how you did, you could advance to play other states for a championship. It’s kind of cool.”

Games are in September and October.

 

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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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