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South Christian baseball "Living in the next opportunity" during postseason run

Sailors win first district title since 2013
South Christian baseball living in next opportunity
Posted at 7:02 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 23:20:26-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The South Christian baseball program is celebrating its first district championship since 2013.

All year long, they've focused on one motto from their coaching staff, especially new assistant coach and baseball veteran, Mike Schuelke.

"Live in the next opportunity is a big one," said senior Alex Vostad when asked about a quote they live by.

South Christian baseball having a memorable season

The Sailors have really focused on that saying and taking advantage of what they're given every day this season.

"There's always a next play, there's always a next pitch," added junior pitcher and outfielder Jace DeMann, "with COVID, we've learned not to take that for granted this year."

South Christian baseball wins district title
The South Christian baseball team celebrates its first district championship since 2013.

Third-year head coach Jake Bajema says their message to the team has been the same all year, regardless of the game or what's at stake.

"Living in the next opportunity is how can I grow best next, what does it look like to be the best teammate possible," Bajema said, "even to take a ground ball in the rain and just live in that next opportunity."

After the Sailors registered just six wins in their first 14 games this spring, the players admit they didn't know how the season would fair.

However, they've rallied for several different winning streaks, including winning 16 of their last 18 games ahead of Wednesday's regional matchup with Olivet.

"Our team has become a brotherhood and have become really good friends throughout it all," Vostad continued, "I think that's really helped us, we love being around each other."

South Christian baseball practice gets rained out
South Christian baseball players put tarps on the field during Monday's practice as rain begins to fall.

DeMann says the team's confidence has changed in the past few weeks.

"I'm kind of surprised just because we started out not so great but we turned the season around and went on a few winning streaks, thn we thought we had a chance."

Just minutes into Monday's practice, heavy rain would begin falling but the team continued to smile and laugh together, showing the true makeup of the program.

Bajema says he always wants his team loose and having a good time, regardless of the moment.

"We preach energy and urgency and we want that at practice too, we want the guys to have fun," he said, "we feel if you're having fun and staying loose, the results on the field will take care of themselves."

South Christian baseball prepares for regionals
South Christian head baseball coach (left) and assistant coach Mike Schuelke (right) address the team during Monday's practice.

And practicing in the rain could be important ahead of Wednesday with rain in the forecast.

"We might see this on Wednesday so we want to make sure we're ready for it," said Bajema, "it may not be a bad thing for us because there's a lot of rain in the future."

If Wednesday's game is rained out, the Sailors will play on Thursday which means the depth of the pitching staff could come into play if they were to advance to Saturday.

"It's not a concern for us," Bajema answered on the rainout concerns, "we have five pitchers that we really trust so we're excited about that possibility even working in our favor but we'll have to see, only time will tell."

South Christian is set to take on Olivet at 5:00 PM on Wednesday at Wayland High School.