KCC's Jayden Dentler bats against Lake Michigan College during a home game in March.
KCC's Jayden Dentler bats against Lake Michigan College during a home game in March. Photo courtesy of KCC.

The Kellogg Community College baseball team travels to Grand Rapids for the first two games of a four-game series against Grand Rapids Community College beginning April 16. The team currently sits at 16-4 overall and second place in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s Western Conference.

“We have been playing as a team and we have each others’ backs. Our goal this year is to win the National Championship,” KCC pitcher Kyle Winslow said.

The team’s offense is led by freshman outfielder Tate Peterson, who leads the team in batting average at .429, home runs with six and RBIs with 22. Peterson also boasts a .522 on-base percentage and a .714 slugging percentage.

The defense is anchored by freshman pitchers Jayden Dentler and Al Thorington. Dentler leads the team in strikeouts with 37 and strikeouts per nine innings with 12.33. Thorington leads in wins with five, and earned-run average, only allowing 1.75 runs per innings pitched.

The team closes out its regular season against Mott Community College May 10. The NJCAA tournament begins May 13 and the National Championship series begins May 29 and ends June 5. According to Assistant Athletic Director Drew Fleming, the team fares very well compared to the other teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

“[Our baseball team] is currently ranked eighth in the country and is looking to return to the NJCAA World Series to compete for a national championship,” Fleming said.

However, COVID-19 has loomed over the team’s season as the team has had a plethora of games postponed. According to the NJCAA, the number of games the teams will play has been reduced by 10% and has the potential to be reduced even more under certain
circumstances related to COVID-19.

KCC follows a standard similar to the rules and regulations that are encouraged in the state of Michigan for athletics.

“Like the rest of the college, navigating the coronavirus pandemic has been something that has impacted our athletic department and programs,” Fleming said. “We are putting the health and safety of our student-athletes and coaches first and ensuring that we are following all guidelines that are required by various governing bodies.”

While the bleachers may not be permitted to be at full capacity, students, parents, faculty and fans can still cheer on the Bruins in their quest for their eighth NJCAA World Series appearance.

For more information about KCC baseball, visit www.kellogg.edu/baseball.