Local Sports Journal

Western Michigan Christian Warrior baseball coach Darin Waller has reason to be optimistic about the approaching season.

With a nucleus of eight returning players and the return of another key player, the Warriors are looking to build on last season’s 11-13 record.

“God has truly blessed this group of young men with exceptional talent and values,” Waller said. “Our team philosophy is have fun in all we do, give 100 percent always and give God all the glory.”

Senior Austin Sandin returns as the top pitcher in the rotation, along with seniors Christian Brower and Bailey Heykoop. Brower will play first base and Heykoop returns after batting .385 last season.

Juniors Chad Beisel (.389) and ­Cord Sutter also have plenty of experience.

Sophomores Logan Waller (.333, 25 RBI), Eric Bourdo (utility player) and Matt VanderPloeg (utility player) also will be expected to make significant contributions.

The Warriors received a major shot in the arm with the return of Henry DeKam, a senior who hasn’t played since his freshman season. DeKam is expected to be a major player in the field, at the plate and on the pitcher’s mound.

Waller also is expecting big things from freshman Jared Varnado.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Nate Taylor, Jagar Kass-McGrady, Jacob Rhodes and Nathaniel Bytwerk.

“WMC is building upon our record from last year and we look forward to the challenge,” Coach Waller said.