Jeff Stevens will be entering his fourth season on the Grand Haven varsity baseball squad this spring, so becoming a freshman and starting out on the low end of the totem pole at Hillsdale College next season shouldn’t be too overwhelming for the standout middle infielder.
Stevens signed a national letter-of-intent to continue his baseball career with the Chargers on Nov. 15.
“Obviously, it’s an entirely new level, but I think I can adjust pretty quickly. I should be alright,” Stevens said.
Stevens will become the second Grand Haven player to call the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference home next year, joining pitcher Adam Poel, who has signed with Grand Valley State.
Stevens also considered fellow GLIAC school Wayne State, but in the end, Hillsdale fit every criteria he was looking for in a potential school.
“It was just a really good set up,” he said. “I really liked the campus. It’s a smaller school, which I like, but it was really easy to get around. Plus it has a good (academic) reputation.”
On the diamond, the Chargers have some work to do. They finished just 14-35 last season, including a 12-24 mark in the GLIAC, putting them next to last.
“The coaches said this is one of the best (recruiting) classes they’ve ever had,” said Stevens. “They believe as a program, they’re on the rise.”
Stevens will at least be entering a program with stability on the coaching ranks. This spring will be head coach Paul Noce’s 20th at the school.
“Jeff is a strong defensive infielder with the ability to play three positions,” Noce said in a release highlighting his recruiting class.
Hillsdale also signed a catcher and pitcher from the east side of Michigan, and a player from Illinois who can play multiple positions.
Stevens has made a name for himself as shortstop for the Bucs, helping lead a dramatic defensive improvement for a squad that captured its second-straight district championship.
He also swung a healthy bat, tallying a .350 average with 19 RBIs in 33 games played.
Stevens played with the Grand Rapids Diamonds travel team in the summer, and is currently working out at the Diamonds’ training facility this winter. He’s expected to be a team leader for a Bucs’ squad this spring that suffered heavy losses to graduation.
“We lost just about everybody, so we’ll be pretty inexperienced,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot of good, young pitchers coming up, so we should be decent.”
Stevens, the son of Ken and Teresa Stevens, said he plans to major in science at Hillsdale with a minor in accounting.