Future Spartan Mokma, Holland Christian take D-2 title
East Lansing – Mike Mokma gave Michigan State baseball fans a glimpse of the future Saturday at McLane Stadium, leading Holland Christian to the Division 2 state championship with an 8-5 victory over Linden.
Mokma, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, earned the win to finish his senior season 15-0, striking out 14 while giving up four hits and two walks. The 14 strikeouts was one short of the state finals record.
Mokma, who will play for MSU next season, also had a key two-run double in the three-run sixth to break a 5-5 tie.
“Mike’s been unbelievable all year long,” Holland Christian coach Jim Caserta said. “He shut them out for six innings and probably should have shut them out for seven, but we didn’t field the ball that one inning and they got a couple of nice hits. Mike just buckled down and when we got hit with that five spot, he shut them down after that.”
Holland Christian (36-6) led 4-0 before Linden (29-10-1) scored five runs, two earned, in the top of the fourth to take the lead. Mokma walked two and hit a batter during the inning and his defense struggled behind him, making three errors.
“It happens like that, it’s baseball, but we got that over and got the win,” said Mokma of the fourth. “It was all about getting the outs after that, let them hit the ball in play and let our defense work. It felt great to get that double. I knew I had to come in and get that hit."
Mokma retired the side in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh, striking out five of the final nine hitters he faced.
“Mike throws 88-to-90 and he uses all three pitches, fastball, curve and changeup,” noted Caserta. “He knows how to pitch and mixes them up, that’s what makes him so good.”
Mokma has been strong all season, throwing a perfect game in April, defeating Holland 3-0. He earned the win in relief Thursday in a 4-3 semifinal victory over DeWitt, throwing the final three innings of no-less ball, striking out five while retiring all nine batters he faced.
Holland Christian shortstop Coby Curtiss reached safely in all four at-bats. He singled and scored in the second, walked in the third, doubled in the fifth and singled in the sixth.
Brandon Riemersma had an RBI-single in the fourth, then squeezed in a run in the key three-run sixth.