Holland Christian lost a pair of Division I players off its state-championship baseball team, but it’s hard to think anyone will feel sorry for it, since it returns two more top-caliber players in Jack Huisman and Chris Mokma for a possible return trip to East Lansing next month.
Huisman and Mokma each pitched no-hitters in a 1-0, 4-0 doubleheader sweep of Holland on April 25.
Huisman, a 6-foot-3 senior right-hander, throws 90 mph, has an excellent curveball and is headed to Western Michigan. His father, Rick Huisman, was a former third-round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1990 who went on to pitch in the major leagues for Kansas City.
Huisman showed his ability to get the job done last season when he was 7-1, earning a quarterfinal victory over Niles when he stuck out nine and had a pair of RBI singles to put Holland Christian in the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
Then, Mike Mokma — Chris’ older brother — made sure Holland Christian won the Division 2 state champion by pushing his record to 15-0, earning the victory in relief in a 4-3 semifinal win over DeWitt, then striking out 14 in a championship-game win over Linden before moving on to play at Michigan State.
David Williams, who hit .446 and was No. 2 on last year’s staff at 7-1, is now playing at Xavier.
Huisman said he learned a lot from last year’s senior leaders and now Holland Christian is trying to repeat as state champs.
“I think the attitude from the guys coming back is that we’re just going to try to finish again, you know win the state championship and we’re just taking it one game at a time, playing hard every game,” Huisman said.
“Our seniors are stepping up right now and the younger kids are starting to play well, but really it’s the senior leadership that has been so big for us.”
Holland Christian is 20-2, including a 6-0, 5-4 doubleheader sweep over Grand Haven on Saturday with Huisman’s two-run double in the fifth inning giving his team the lead in Game 2.
Huisman talked of his role this season.
“I was the third pitcher in the rotation last year, and I feel I’ve been pitching well this year and my defense has played well behind me,” Huisman said. “My curveball is my strikeout pitch, my go-to strikeout pitch.
“I played left field last year, but I’m now playing second base for the first time in my life. Our senior shortstop Coby Curtiss went down with a thumb injury so the coaches asked me to play second so I feel I’m playing well for the most part. It’s been somewhat of an easy transition, the biggest thing is staying down on grounders and turning two is a little harder than it looks when watching major leaguers do it.”
Speaking of major leaguers, what did Huisman learn from his father?
“He just taught me how you have to be mentally strong with every pitch, you can’t crumble within yourself and that’s the biggest thing that I’ve been working on and getting ahead of batters and working it for there,” said Huisman of his father who has also been his travel coach the last few years with the Toros.
Holland Christian fourth-year coach Jim Caserta has high praise for Huisman.
“Jack’s had a great year, put on some weight from last season and he’s just had great command of his pitches,” Caserta said. “I think the biggest difference is that he’s stronger and he’s got better command of his pitches and when he can throw his breaking ball for a strike and he’s getting ahead of the hitters, he’s tough to handle.”
Mokma, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, is already an MSU commit. He is playing shortstop until Curtiss returns from the injury.
“Chris is still learning, just a sophomore, and is a tall, rangy kid, 6-foot-5 and has a loose arm, just a kid who will get stronger physically,” Caserta said. “It was crazy when they both pitched no-hitters, never had anything happen like that before (in 18 years) as a head coach.
“Chris’ best pitch is a fastball, it gets in the high 80s.”
Huisman talked of the no-hitter, doubleheader sweep of Holland.
“It was good to share that type of moment with a teammate of mine,” Huisman said. “We just got ahead of the batters, making pitches and the defense was making plays behind us which was a big key too.”
Yes, Holland Christian has the staff to make another run with Wilson Wirebaugh showing his ability Saturday, throwing a four-hit shutout without allowing a walk in the 6-0 victory.
GP North sophomore is 10-0
Chad Lorkowski was a freshman star for Grosse Pointe North last season, going 10-0 on the mound with a 0.50 ERA.
Well, the 6-5 Lorkowski still is unbeaten during his high school career while also crushing the ball from the cleanup spot.
Lorkowski was the hero in helping North (14-4) win the Alpena tournament championship Saturday, going 3-for-8 with 5 RBI in the two games, also getting the win on the mound in the 7-2 title game win over Alpena.
Lorkowski now is hitting .390 with two homers and 27 RBI while 2-0 on the mound with 24 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Liggett’s hitter impresses
Connor McCarron hit .505 last season to help Grosse Pointe Liggett win the Division 4 state championship.
Well, McCarron is finishing his high school career in style as an all-state shortstop while Liggett (16-1) is competing in Division 1 this spring.
On Saturday, Liggett hosted a tournament, advancing to the championship game where it lost to state power Portage Northern.
McCarron had four hits in the two games, including three doubles to push his average to .446 with seven doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs.
Detroit News staff contributed