LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – If you happen to find yourself driving past Rudolph & Dorothy Park in Lansing then you might get a glimpse at the second best junior college baseball team in the country in Division II.
The Lansing Community College baseball team has been swingin’ for the fences and throwin’ the heat ever since the 2021 season began. After a challenging year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stars’ are an impressive 24-1.
“I think the kids have a little more appreciation for baseball,” LCC baseball coach, Jordan Keur said. “When we’re out here, we’re working extremely hard to accomplish what we’ve accomplished.”
“I think we’re just all hungry. We all just want to win,” LCC sophomore shortstop and DeWitt Alum, Mark Connelly said. “We’re all trying to move on and we have to win to do that.”
“We’ve had kids go down, due to COVID, and we’ve had to overcome some adversity. Guys have had to step-up,” LCC sophomore pitcher and Grand Ledge Alum, Elliott Patten said. “I think we just work really well as a team this year.”
Keur, who is a former Michigan State baseball player and coach, has been the Stars’ coach for three seasons. With last season was canceled due to COVID-19, LCC has made the most of its opportunity to play this year, even if they have to test three times a week for COVID-19.
“It’s definitely been a challenge for our guys and our coaching staff as well,” Keur said. “Credit to them, they’re getting their school work done and class done, and some are even doing it in the seats of their car. So, its definitely been a challenge, but our guys are willing to do whatever we can do to get out and play.”
A big reason for the Stars’ success this season is due to their experience. With last season being canceled, all players were given an extra year of eligibility and those three-year guys are making the most of that opportunity.
“It actually worked out perfect this year because they know what to expect, they know how to go about their business, they know how we play,” Keur said.
“Three years of being together, especially at a JUCO, we’ve all gotten really close to each other on and off the field. When you’re that close, it helps on the field,” Patten said.
With the success of being a top-ranked team, comes a higher probability of getting noticed by a four-year school. LCC currently has four players already signed to play at a four-year school next year, and Keur expects that number to keep growing.
“Having the success that we’ve had has definitely come with coaches contacting us. And the goal when you come to Lansing Community College is to get in and get out, and go to a four-year school.”
“We’re on the boards, on Twitter, on social media, all those coaches are seeing everything. Then they see we’re No. 2 and they’ll click on the team, see the individual player stats and then it’s just a lot more exposure,” Connelly said.