Although the 2020 season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Schoolcraft College baseball team has remained active with a focus on community service and academics – with a little baseball, too.
“The cancellation of last season was obviously a shock to all of us,” coach Rob Fay said. “We did a lot of Zoom calls with players to make sure they were able to train and continue to work on their skill sets. Fortunately, summer baseball opened up so our guys were able to join teams to get some game experience.”
As was the case with many students, the sudden switch to distance learning created some challenges. To the players’ credit, they stayed on task and the team finished with the third-highest GPA among the 16 baseball teams in the Michigan Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAA).
“We strongly emphasize academics on a daily basis and our guys know that the student comes before athlete when you are a student-athlete in our program,” Fay said.
The Ocelots were scheduled to play home games at The Corner Ballpark, which is on the grounds of the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. This beautiful facility is the permanent home for events for the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL), which helps young people through athletic, academic and leadership development programs.
Serving the community
Schoolcraft College’s baseball team is more than just a tenant at The Corner Ballpark, however, as the coaches and players actively serve the community. One program the team helped with was “Tiny Tigers,” a baseball camp for ages 4-8 hosted by Detroit PAL and sponsored by the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Ocelot coaches and players provided instruction during the summer and fall.
The team also recently pitched in to help clean up the area around The Corner Ballpark.
“One of the main focuses in our program is help our players be better young men,” Fay said. “With that comes an emphasis on our players being kind and charitable. We are always looking to give back and help. The facility is beautiful and we are fortunate to be there and take pride in calling it home.
“So our coaches and players spent an afternoon after practice helping clean up the surrounding areas around the ball park. Detroit PAL is a nonprofit organization that is a little short-staffed since COVID-19 hit, so we thought this would be a good way for us to help them and give back to them for partnering with Schoolcraft College.”
It also allowed Schoolcraft College to strengthen its ties in Detroit.
“Our relationship with Detroit PAL and The Corner Ballpark has really blossomed into something special,” Fay said. “They have done a lot to make us feel at home with banners and a scoreboard that read ‘Home of Schoolcraft College Baseball.’ The staff at PAL and the Corner Park have been very accommodating and supportive of our program and we are constantly discussing new opportunities to build our relationship.”
Like all Schoolcraft College baseball fans, players and coaches, Fay is eager for the day when his team can return to the diamond for a game.
“This year’s team is very exciting,” he said. “We have many players from our local community as well as players from Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Ohio, Wisconsin and Kentucky. We are also very excited to add Christian Mercure, a Schoolcraft alum who finished his playing career at Grand Valley State University, to our coaching staff as our pitching coach.”