Greenville baseball returns just one senior for 2012 season


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:57 am on Thursday, April 05, 2012

Junior pitcher Travis Groom will be looked upon to help lead a youthful 2012 Yellow Jackets baseball team. Greenville has only one senior and three returning letter winners on the squad this year. — Daily News/Bruce Bentley

GREENVILLE — Unlike their counterparts on the softball diamond, the Greenville Yellow Jackets baseball team will feature one senior on the squad in 2012.

Jordan Powell is the lone senior, whereas the Greenville softball team is senior-less this season. Powell will be joined by two returning letter winners on an otherwise youthful ball team.

“This year’s group has the potential to have a successful season on the diamond if they can work together as a team to execute the fundamentals of the game,” Greenville coach Mike Rasmussen said.

Sophomore Parker Syrjala and junior Travis Groom are the other Greenville returning letter winners.

“Powell is a returning starter at third base, as well as someone who will provide a lot of innings on the mound,” Rasmussen said. “He had a very productive football season this past fall and we are counting on him to do the same on the diamond this spring.”

Sophomore Parker Syrjala is one of three letter winners returning from last year’s team. The Yellow Jackets finished 8-17 overall last year. — Daily News/Bruce Bently

Syrjala earned O-K White honorable mention honors as a freshman last year. He hit .362 overall and threw a two-hit shutout against Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

“We also have a large number of juniors on the team who will be looked upon to quickly adapt into leadership roles,” Rasmussen said.

Tyler Orr will be Greenville’s other sophomore on the team. Impact juniors could be Tre Nelson, Keaton Johnson, Brad Gilbert and Groom.

The Yellow Jackets finished last year 8-17 overall. Key losses include Garrett Veihl, Trey Stein, Zach Burris and Zane Weaver. Rasmussen is in his sixth year as Greenville head coach.
Rasmussen is expecting a tough conference season this year.

“Grand Rapids Christian is the Division 2 runner-up from last year and ranked preseason No. 1,” Rasmussen said. “East Grand Rapids is only a few years removed from their state championship season. Lowell and Northview always put out highly competitive teams.

“It will be a very exciting season in the O-K White in 2012,” he added.

Greenville opened its season with a 2-1 loss at Comstock Park on March 27.

Nelson, Gilbert, Stephan Oliver and Jake Crittenden each had one hit. Gilbert had the RBI while Nelson took the loss on the mound.

The Yellow Jackets return to action with a double header on April 10 at home against Lansing Sexton.

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