Jerad Berkenpas’ pitching, Ryan Dykstra’s hitting power GRCC baseball to victory over Kellogg in NJCAA Region 12 tournament

Jerad Berkenpas pitching.

Jerad Berkenpas pitched a complete game and Ryan Dykstra went four-for-four to lead the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team to victory over Kellogg Community College and advance in the NJCAA Region 12 tournament.

GRCC, which has won 17 games in a row, defeated Kellogg, which finished in first place in the conference, 8-2. GRCC now plays Lansing Community College, the top team in the state and one of the best in the nation, on Friday.

After going just 1-for-10 to start the game, the GRCC bats came alive in the top of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on four hits to pull in front 3-2.

Cam Keatley hit the go-ahead single and Berkenpas didn’t allow a run for the remainder of the game.

Keatley finished the day 3-for-5 while Berkenpas threw his fourth complete game of the season – and first career nine-inning complete game – improving his record to 9-2.  The right-hander from South Christian High School also leads the team with a 1.41 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 74.1 innings.

Berkenpas praised his catcher, Dylan Chargo after the win.

“It was a great team win, and I couldn’t be more thankful for my catcher after such an excellent performance today,” he said.

MCCAA Western Conference Player of the Week Ryan Dykstra increased his batting average to .425 after going a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate with a sacrifice fly.

GRCC totaled 16 hits in all, and every one of them were singles. The Bruins scattered 7 hits, but just one after the third inning.  Berkenpas retired 14 consecutive batters.

GRCC also was the first team this year to hand Kellogg ace Ashton Potts a loss.  Last week’s Western Conference Pitcher of the Week is now 8-1 this season.

GRCC, 31-20-1 on the season, will now face eighth-ranked Lansing Community College on May 20 at 1 p.m. in the winners bracket final.  If defeated, the team will play Kellogg again at 5 p.m. If GRCC wins, it advances to the championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

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