BELDING — Belding senior Tyler Strevel said playing college baseball “has been a dream for a long time.”
That dream came true on Wednesday when he signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Aquinas College next season.
“It’s great to be able to sign early and make the commitment to play in college,” Strevel said.
Strevel had been recruited by some smaller colleges like Olivet, Muskegon Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, “but not this seriously,” he said.
Strevel chose Aquinas because “I’ve always liked Aquinas,” he said.
“I visited their campus in November and it was a beautiful campus,” he said. “I talked with their coach. They have a really good baseball program and they have the field that I want to go into.”
That field is physical therapy.
The coach is Doug Greenslave, who is in his 12th year at Aquinas.
“He’s been working real hard at it, going to these different baseball associaitons,” Greenslave said. “Being a left-handed hitting shortstop is definitely something we were looking for. That’s a good combination to have. His projectable traits at the next level are all positive that he has.”
Greenslave was tempering expectations for Strevel next year.
“Not all freshmen can contribute right away at the next level,” he said. “In our program there is some depth. We’ll expect him (Strevel) to come in and compete for a starting job right away. Whether or not that happens for him, there will be some tough competition playing against kids four or five years older than him sometimes. I know he’ll have some challenges in front of him.”
Strevel understands that.
“I don’t expect to be a starter but I hope I get to play a bunch of games and maybe start a couple of games,” he said. “I just hope I get to contribute to the team.”
Belding coach Mike Ostrander is glad to see Strevel move on next season.
“I’m just proud of Tyler,” he said. “He (Strevel) has put in as much or more work than anyone in our program. He’s put in so much time in the offseason and the summer ball he’s played and all the training he’s done.”
Ostrander listed a few of the traits that he inks Strevel will be able to take to Aquinas.
“He loves baseball, and I think when you’re building a program that’s the first thing you want; kids who enjoy playing,” he said. “He’s a good middle infielder for us. I think he’ll grow into a leader for them. He certainly did for us. He’s a kid who sets the tone for practice. Kids look up to him and I’m sure he’ll be that type of player for Aquinas as well.”
Strevel is joining an Aquinas program that is 7-4 so far this season and was 24-28 last season, going just 12-15 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.