Swinging for the fences

Schoolcraft adds baseball and softball teams while discussing new athletic complex

BY NICK MISIAK
SPORTS EDITOR

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY NATHAN GARTNER|PHOTO EDITOR PHOTOS BY NATHAN GARTNER, JIM BETZ. FILE PHOTO

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY NATHAN GARTNER|PHOTO EDITOR PHOTOS BY NATHAN GARTNER, JIM BETZ. FILE PHOTO

The next major addition to Schoolcraft College has been announced, as the Ocelots will be adding Womens Softball and Mens Baseball as two new sports to their intercollegiate athletic program beginning in the 2015 fall semester. This will increase the number of varsity sports the college sponsors under the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to twelve.

The new programs will compete in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association, which, with the addition of Schoolcraft, now fields 15 baseball and 17 softball teams.

“The addition of both a baseball and a softball team at Schoolcraft is an excellent way to expand our already impressive athletic department, and it gives us the opportunity to give Schoolcraft additional facilities that will improve our campus,” said Schoolcraft Athletic Director Sidney Fox. “This will also strengthen our student recruitment appeal with high schools throughout the region.”

This is the first time that Schoolcraft has added a sport since Womens Volleyball was added as a scholarship sport in 1994.

“This is a really cool thing for me to hear, because I played baseball in high school and came to Schoolcraft figuring that my career was over,” said freshman student Josh Shepard. “Now, I have the opportunity to possibly play again and maybe even with a few people I’ve played with before.”

Although many currently eligible Schoolcraft students will be interested in trying out for the teams, it is first important that head coaches who can recruit high school seniors are hired for both the baseball and softball programs.

“The first order of business will be to identify head coaches for these sports who have demonstrated a high degree of expertise within their sport and who also represent academic, as well as behavioral values compatible with our athletic philosophy,” said Fox. “Unquestionably, the coaches hired will have to hit the ground running to successfully recruit competent high school seniors during the spring semester from area high schools.”

The head coaches of the new teams would have a limited time to recruit players, but with every area high school in Schoolcraft’s district fielding baseball and softball teams, finding players will not be an impossible task. Students from other community colleges or universities can transfer to Schoolcraft to play for the teams as well.

WHERE WILL THEY PLAY?

Two proposals to build an athletic complex that would include fields for the new baseball and softball teams, a new soccer field and press boxes were presented.

The first proposal calls for outside investors to build a dome east of the south lot parallel to I-275 to be used as an indoor facility for all sports. Additionally, a turf soccer field would be built in the same area with new seating and a press box. The baseball fields currently in existence at Ward Church, located just west of campus behind the Northville Village Center Shopping Center, would be renovated and adjusted to accompany a baseball and a softball field.

The second proposal calls for a new multi-sport complex would be built in the area east of the south lot. This would include baseball and softball fields along with a new turf soccer field with seating. A centralized press box would be used for concessions, bathrooms and locker rooms.

“These new fields would be fantastic,” said Fox. “They would make the college look nicer, and we could rent them out to local teams like we already do with the soccer fields to help pay to keep them in good condition.”

Both proposals are currently being discussed, but a final decision will not be made until a later date.

Coaches interested in applying for the head coaching positions should send their resume with references to Fox at sfox@schoolcraft.edu. For further information, call the Athletic Department at 734-462-4804.