Pitcher Josh D. Smith. Courtesy / GVSU Baseball

“It’s just playing baseball”: GVSU Pitcher Josh D. Smith drafted by the Texas Rangers

Summer is finally here, which for many of college kids means going right to work. That is exactly the case for Grand Valley State pitcher Josh D. Smith. While many of us are mowing lawns or mopping floors, Smith is spending his summer in a less traditional summer job: playing baseball professionally. Smith spent two years playing baseball for the University of Kentucky before transferring to GVSU prior to the 2018 season. Before he got hurt, he was an ace on the mound for the Lakers, posting a 2-1 record with 25 strikeouts and a 1.12 ERA in 24 innings, mostly in relief.

GVL / Emily Frye  Zach Berry gets a hit during GVSU's game against Hillsdale on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018.

GVSU baseball caps off disappointing campaign, looks to future

The 2018 Grand Valley State baseball team came into this season confident and anxious to improve on a solid season the year before. “We’ve got the guys, got the talent and I think we can do a lot of damage this year, especially in our conference,” catcher Austin LaDoux said during an interview in January. “I think we’ve got a chance to go all the way to the big time, World Series. No doubt.”

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Tate Brawley (22) and Connor Glick (16) fist bump at the mound after closing out an inning during the game vs. Ashland on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

Conversation: GVSU pitcher Tate Brawley discusses two stints on ESPN's SportsCenter

Grand Valley State senior baseball pitcher Tate Brawley has secured his moment of fame not once but twice in the past week with two appearances on ESPN’s flagship highlight show, SportsCenter Top 10 Plays. Each time, he made no-look catches from the mound on screaming-line drives hit back up the middle behind his back. His first play was credited as the No. 7 play of the day on Tuesday, April 10, and the second was credited at No. 3 on Friday, April 13. Brawley sat down with Grand Valley Lanthorn Assistant Sports Editor Brady McAtamney for a conversation about his highlights.

GVL / Emily Frye
Ryan Blake-Jones keeps an eye on the pitch while holding down first base during the home opener game against Tiffin on Thursday March 29, 2018.

GVSU baseball's Ryan Blake-Jones dominating early at the plate

They say that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. It’s harder than throwing a spiral, swishing a jumper or stopping a slap shot. To a hit a round ball with a round bat squarely at upwards of 90 miles per hour with less than half a second to react should not even be possible, but it is. If hitting is an art, consider Grand Valley State’s Ryan Blake-Jones an artist. In 2018, the catcher-turned-first-baseman is tearing the cover off the ball through 24 games, as evidenced by his .414 batting average, 36 hits, four home runs and 29 RBI—all of which are team highs.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt
Number 12, Nolan Anspaugh, bats at the home opener vs Tiffin on March 30th, 2018.

GVSU baseball splits home-opener doubleheader against Tiffin

As Opening Day in Major League Baseball was celebrated throughout the U.S. (and Ontario), the Grand Valley State baseball team finally made its way into Allendale for their first home series of the 2018 season. The Lakers welcomed Tiffin University to the GVSU baseball field on Thursday, March 29, with a drubbing in game one of a doubleheader, defeating the Dragons 13-3 before starting up a 3-2 loss that had to be finished on Friday, March 30, due to darkness.

GVL / Luke Holmes - Austin LaDoux (24) swings at the ball. GVSU Men’s Baseball played a double-header against Tiffin University on Saturday, April 1, 2016.

Preview: GVSU baseball to face GLIAC foe Tiffin in home-opener series

Whether you think it’s warm enough or not, it’s officially baseball season.  Although the Grand Valley State baseball team is already 23 games into its season, the Lakers (13-10 overall, 2-2 GLIAC) will finally hold their home opener against the Tiffin Dragons (8-10 overall, 2-2 GLIAC) in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday, March 29. GVSU will also play another doubleheader against Tiffin on Friday, March 30, starting at 1 p.m.