Head coach Mike Hansen and his son and starting shortstop, Jake Hansen, were named to the Division 1 All-Regional coaches and player teams after Grand Haven’s trip to the Division 1 state semifinals this spring. The extended playoff run was the longest in the Grand Haven baseball program’s modern history.
Jake finished the season with a .412 batting average, 22 RBIs and 49 hits with two home runs and eight stolen bases. He led the team in every category aside from RBIs. Kyle Hoover led the team with 23.
Head coach Mike Hansen led the team to a 24-16 overall record and a 9-9 finish in the O-K Red Conference before the team’s historic playoff run.
Prior to 2017, Grand Haven baseball had won just one regional playoff game and had never captured a regional championship in the modern playoff era.
Victories over Holland, West Ottawa and Mona Shores in the district tournament earned the Bucs a date with Byron Center in the regional tournament. Grand Haven put up an impressive four runs in the seventh inning to seal a 6-3 comeback win over the Bulldogs.
Just hours later, the Hansens did it again. Taking on Grandville in the regional final, the Bucs fell behind in the fifth, 1-0, before a tying the game in the sixth. Jake Hansen scored the game-winning run in the top of the seventh off an RBI single by Sean Casey. Max Schweikert then finished off his complete game, earning the 2-1 win.
Grand Haven then faced off with traditional powerhouse and No. 12 Saginaw Heritage on the campus of Central Michigan University. The Bucs skipped the seventh-inning offensive antics, scoring both their runs in the fifth inning and trusting their defense the rest of the way.
The Hawks did their best to flip the script, knocking two singles in the final inning to bring the game-winning run to the plate with no outs recorded.
The Bucs snagged their first out on a foiled bunt try, with runners on second and third and a big bat at the plate, coach Hansen made “the baseball play”, walking the slugger to set up the bases-loaded double play. The risk paid off as Schweikert forced a grounder to third for the double out and a trip to the semifinals.
The Bucs’ luck ran out against Northville at Michigan State University in the Division 1 state semifinals, where they fell, 9-1.
The dramatic run was one for the history books, sealing the 2017 squad as one of the best baseball teams in the state.