Jeff Bruxvoort enters his fourth season as head coach of Pella Christian. He will lose a couple of talented seniors from last year’s 17-15 squad but he is excited to see what his group can accomplish this season.
“A lot of experience returning from a successful 2019,” Bruxvoort said. “Excited for what this group can do on the field this year. Pretty good hitting team last year so anticipating us to build on that in 2020. A lot of returning players saw varsity experience as freshmen and sophomores so players are building on that and getting better each day.”
Returners for the Eagles include seniors Devin Haveman, Stone Turner, Matthew Bokhoven, Cameron Vander Wal, Jack Anderson, Blake Veenstra, Dan Jungling along with juniors Luke Mulder and Kyle Branderhorst and sophomores Bennett Spronk and Micah DeHaan.
Haveman is the cream of the crop as the first baseman hit .316 with eight doubles, two home runs and 27 RBIs last year. He will also be Pella Christian’s number one pitcher as he is the most experienced on the staff going 5-6 with a 3.46 ERA and 43 strikeouts against 27 walks in 60 2/3 innings in 2019.
Anderson (4-3, 4.15 ERA) and Bokhoven (0-1, 6.07 ERA) are the other two returning arms for the Eagles as they will look for a few more players to add to their pitching staff. Some of those options include DeHann, Spronk and Eric Mulder, who all saw time on the mound on JV last year.
Jungling will be another bat to watch for in the lineup as he enjoyed a .279 batting average with 10 RBIs last season.
Two newcomers to keep an eye on this year will be senior David Willis, who is new to the team but is expected to contribute right away. Jack Vermeer hasn’t played high school but Bruxvoort is excited to see his abilities on the field.
Pella Christian went 10-11 in conference play last year which was good for sixth in the Little Hawkeye Conference. The LHC will be tough again this season and the Eagles are going to have to navigate a tough schedule that will see them play four doubleheaders and make a trip north to Principal Park to play Grinnell later this month.
“A lot of good teams in the Little Hawkeye Conference so each night is going to be a tough game,” Bruxvoort said. “We have a lot of weapons in this team so if we execute like we are capable we should be able to win some tight baseball games this year. We might have some struggles along the way, but players will step up and will fight hard every night we play.”