Grand Rapids Community College baseball players Ryan Dykstra and Jerad Berkenpas played big roles in the Kalamazoo Growlers’ Northwoods League Championship victory Thursday.
The Growlers defeated the Duluth Huskies 8-3 to become the champions of the summer, wood-bat league for elite college players.
Ryan Dykstra, who graduated from GRCC and is headed to Oakland University, drove home two runs, had two hits and a walk in the championship game.
Dykstra’s .422 batting average led the GRCC team last season, and he also had the most runs, hits, doubles, home runs, and runs batted in. That performance earned him four postseason honors from the Michigan Community College Athletic Association. He was named All-Region, All-MCCAA and First Team All-Conference. He also was named to the All-Tournament team at the regionals after batting .588 in five games.
He plans to enter the teaching or business world after graduating from Oakland.
Jerad Berkenpas, who pitches for GRCC and is returning this season, started the game and threw six innings with two strikeouts allowing only one run to score.
Berkenpas was also named All-Region, All-MCCAA, First Team All-Conference, and to the All-Tournament team at regionals after tallying two wins.
The 6-foot, 5-inch righty was GRCC’s top pitcher and led the team with a 9-2 record, 1.41 ERA, 71 strikeouts, .223 opponents’ batting average, and had four complete games.