Hope College Baseball's Historic Moments

Updated through 2020 season

ORIGINS OF HOPE BASEBALL

The first recorded Hope baseball game occurred on June 6, 1872. The Flying Dutchmen defeated the Grand Haven Eagle Club 30-12. It was also the first recorded Hope athletic event in any sport. Hope's first MIAA season was the spring of 1927. The Flying Dutchmen finished third in their inaugural season. Baseball was dropped as an MIAA-sponsored sport from 1930 through 1947.

Flying Dutchmen & Coach Schouten circa 1920s

COMPETITION FORMAT CHANGES

The format of MIAA games changed from single games to doubleheaders in 1956 and to a three-game series format in 1992. An expanded 28-game league schedule began with the 2006 season, a home-and-away doubleheader schedule against each team. That format was to be changed again in 2020 but it was not played due to the COVID-19 crisis that canceled the league season. Starting in 2021, the MIAA will go back to a three-game series format but nine-inning games will be played instead of seven-inning contests as were played in the past.

HOPE PLAYERS IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Five Hope players have signed major league baseball contracts over the years -- John Lavan (St. Louis Browns, 1911); Jim Poppen (Baltimore Orioles, 1925); William "Bill" Rink (Philadelphia Phillies, 1955); Jim Kaat (Washington Senators, 1957); Joey Bosworth (Kansas City, 1964).

SPRING OF DISCONTENT

An extra long winter that left snow on the ground well into the season caused the Flying Dutchmen to play their first 22 games on the road in 2014. The Flying Dutchmen ended up playing just 10 of their 43 games at Boeve Stadium posting a 7-3 record.

PLAYERS AND PLAYS OF NOTE

John Lavan, Class of 1908, went on to earn a degree in medicine from the University of Michigan. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Lavan was one of a small group of Major League players (25 between 1876 and 1991) to practice medicine. Lavan was a shortstop who played on four different teams over 11 seasons, ending his career with the St. Louis Cardinals (1919-24). He began his medical practice in 1927, pursuing his longstanding interest in public health. He gained national recognition as the director of social hygiene at clinics in St. Louis, Kansas City, Toledo and other cities. During World War II, he served as commander of the Brooklyn Naval Hospital and later became the director of research for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Born in Grand Rapids, he died at the age of 61 in 1952. He is one of 16 Major League players buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Sherwood VanderWoude pitched all 13 innings in a 3-2 loss to Calvin, June 2, 1960

Three pitchers -- Don Kroodsma, Mark Johnson and Gary Frens -- combined to strike out 18 batters over seven innings in a 5-2 victory over Goshen, Indiana, April 5, 1968

Jim Bultman reached base six consecutive times in a game -- four walks, a single and one hit-by-pitch -- versus Union, Kentucky, April 4, 1962 

Jim Van Til struck out 10 consecutive batters, striking out the side in the first, second and third innings and first batter in fourth inning in 6-5 win over Calvin, May 15, 1962. (It should be noted that Van Til also walked nine consecutive batters later in the same game.) 

Catcher Art Kramer caught four baserunners trying to steal in a 5-4 victory over Alma, April 27,1963 

The first recorded no-hitter in Hope baseball history was thrown by Don Kroodsma, a 17-0 whitewashing on Alma on April 24, 1965.

Cal Beltman stole home in the final game of the 1966 season to give Hope a 3-2 victory over Adrian and clinch the MIAA championship. It was the second time Beltman had stolen home that season. 

Twice in one season (1968), Gary Frens pitched both victories in a doubleheader. Against Kalamazoo on May 3, 1969, Frens was the starter and left in the sixth inning with Hope ahead 5-0. Fortunately, he didn't leave the lineup, moving to right field. Kalamazoo rallied in the seventh and had the bases loaded when Frens returned to the mound to get the final out. In the second game, he gained the win in relief, not only through his pitching, but by delivering the game-winning single with two outs in the seventh. On May 14, 1969 Frens gained both victories in a doubleheader with Alma, first as a starter and in the second game in relief. Frens pitched a league record seven victories and was also the league's leading batter that year. 

The longest game in Hope baseball was a 16-inning 2-1 loss to Albion in 1969. Gary Frens pitched all 16 innings.

In 1984, Randy Cutler became the first player in MIAA baseball history to win back-to-back league batting championship. He won the 1984 crown (.450) in dramatic fashion by getting a hit in his final at-bat for the season. He batted .500 in 1,983 league games.

In 1991, Vic Breithaupt set MIAA history by winning the league batting championship for three consecutive years -- 1989 (.487), 1990 (.500) and 1991 (.486). He gained notoriety for his achievement by being included in the “Faces of the Crowd” feature of Sports Illustrated magazine.

The Hope record for hitting streak is 31 games by Mark Kuiper over the 1993 and 1994 seasons.

The Flying Dutchmen have appeared in the NCAA Division III championship tournament four times -- 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2007. 

Pitcher Kenny Bart picked off three runners at first base in an NCAA tournament game against Anderson, May 16, 2003.

B.J. Maas hit two walk-off grand slam homeruns in the 2002 season. He had two more grand slams in 2003 en route to a Hope career home run record of 30. 

The Flying Dutchmen turned a triple play in an 8-1 victory over Kalamazoo on April 15, 2005. Shortstop Mike VanderVelde snatched a liner headed for leftfield, wheeled around to catch the runner trying to return to second base. There, second baseman Jon Edmondson took the throw and then fired to first baseman Kyle Trapp whose catch just beat the Kalamazoo baserunner.

Brothers Mike and Matt VanderVelde were both voted to the 2007 All-MIAA baseball team. It marked the fourth time that brothers on the 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.

Nine pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout as the Flying Dutchmen, playing their first game-ever on foreign soil, blanked the Swedish National team 5-0 in a "friendly" game in Prague, The Czech Republic on June 25, 2007. Few games in the 137-year history of Hope baseball had as much historical significance as this contest as the Flying Dutchmen played an international opponent for the first time and in a stadium nearly 4,500 miles from Holland, Mich. Nine pitchers, each throwing for one inning, was also unprecedented. Each threw a single inning in a pre-determined rotation. Hope's unique pitching rotation began with Shawn Grose followed, inning-by-inning, by 2. Matt Richardson, 3. Mike Rodgers, 4. Brian Guerriero, 5. Pete Zessin, 6. Steve Tompkins, 7. Matt Schrader, 8. Anthony Pastrick, and 9. Michael Dekker. 

The 2007 trip to Prague also marked another first -- the Flying Dutchmen played in their first-ever nationally televised game. The game on national Czech television began with the U.S. Ambassador to The Czech Republic, Richard Braber, throwing out the first pitch. Hope won the game, 10-3. 

The Flying Dutchmen began play in the new Boeve Baseball Stadium on April 2, 2008. Brock Doud's walkoff three-run homerun in the eighth inning highlighted a 4-1 first-game victory over Albion. The stadium was formally dedicated on April 26, 2008.

On April 10, 2010, the Flying Dutchmen scored more runs in an MIAA game than any time in school history as they defeated Alma 28-2 at Boeve Stadium. The Flying Dutchmen scored a school-record 20 runs in the third inning, sending 25 batters to the plate, including three players who batted three times in that inning. Hope had 25 hits in the game. The previous mark was 25 runs in a 25-11 victory over rival Calvin on May 8, 1951. Hope's big inning in that game was 13 runs in the eighth inning. The margin-of-victory was also a school record. The previous mark came in a 22-0 win over Olivet on April 19, 1954. Willie Rink struck out 15 batters in gaining the pitching victory.

Freshman brothers Matt and Nick Glowacki are identical twins who played on the 2013 MIAA championship team, Matt a pitcher and Nick a catcher. They were battery mates in five of Hope's games.

Senior catcher Eric Vachon totaled eight RBIs in a single game during an 18-2 home win against Olivet College on May 3, 2014, during the second game of a doubleheader. Vachon missed the first inning of the game to attend a pinning ceremony for graduates of Hope's nursing program. He batted for first time in the third inning and delivered a two-run single. Later in the 10-run inning, he cleared the bases with a double. Vachon hit another three-run double in a five-run fourth. Vachon finished 3-for-3 with one run scored.

The Flying Dutchmen won the first game of a doubleheader at Calvin 14-7 in a unique fashion on March 30, 2015. Hope scored 14 runs on 12 hits in the top of the seventh inning after recording just two hits and trailing 5-0 heading into their last at-bat. The Flying Dutchmen sent 21 batters to the plate during the rally. Reliever Michael Thomas earned the win on the mound after throwing only one pitch to record a strikeout.

Stu Fritz earned his 500th career win as head coach of the Flying Dutchmen during an April 29, 2016, home sweep of Albion. The 7-0 and 6-5 victories were the 499th and 500th of Fritz's career.

Four Hope records were set by two Flying Dutchmen seniors during the 2016 season. Leftfielder Ryan Konkle broke three single-season marks with 68 hits, 17 doubles and 59 RBI. He finished with a .447 batting average that was third-highest by a Hope player. Reliever Matt Glowacki totaled a team-record eight saves to give him 15 for his career - second-best by a Flying Dutchmen pitcher.

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