With the season quickly approaching and his final year of high school almost behind him, Jacob Schuurman will spend one last summer with the Great Lake Canadians program before leaving his family behind in Oakville to join another branch of the family tree in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he heads to Calvin College.
The 18-year-old right-hander will join the Knights in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference, at a campus where his uncle Derek works as a professor of computer science.
“My uncle works at Calvin College, and he asked me if I would be interested in playing there,” Schuurman said. “I told him that I would be open to that, so I contacted the head of the Phys. Ed program there, and he gave me the information for the head coach [John Rypel].
“The coach emailed me, and he and my dad started talking, and then [GLC director of college placement] Adam Arnold began talking to him as well. The coach asked some questions about me and how we play, and Adam gave him a scouting report and video of me, and after he looked at it, he decided to ask me to play for them.”
The young hurler quickly gained familiarity with the school and its athletic department, speaking with current players, graduates, and gleaning as much information as possible before making his decision.
“I didn’t know too much about the baseball program,” Schuurman said. “I know that it’s not their main sport at the school, so it wasn’t very big, but I talked to some guys there and they said it’s getting bigger. They’re mostly a basketball school, and it’s pretty small with about five or six thousand people there. I know some people who have graduated from the school though, so it was nice to hear from them.”
After making a visit to the campus in the fall, Schuurman got the lay of the land from many of his future teammates, and ultimately decided that the school was the right fit for his future.
“I went there after we played Wayne State, to check it out,” he said. “The coach was actually out of town that weekend, so I met with a bunch of players from the team and they showed me around campus and stuff like that. They were really nice, and the campus is really nice. The buildings and facilities are great…
“It’s a good level to play with where I am right now. I wanted to play next year. I didn’t want to take a fifth year or anything milk that, and I wanted to go to the States, so this was an opportunity for me to play in the States and at a level that I think fits with where I’m at right now…It was a pretty easy decision. It met all my requirements, so I was pretty happy.”
Looking to study finance or marketing, with a current focus in business, Schuurman believes that his three years with the Great Lake program have helped him get ready for what lay ahead, and after one more season in the Canadian Premier Baseball League, he is looking forward to playing at the next level and continuing to take steps forward on the mound.
“I’ve evolved quite a bit during my time with GLC,” Schuurman said. “I was actually an outfielder for a bit until they made me a pitcher, and now I’m going to be a pitcher in college. I was a dual player but last year I performed better on the mound, so they decided to switch me to full-time pitching, and it’s helped me get where I am…
“Playing GLC has shown me the steps I need to take to get to the next level and how hard I need to work to get there. It’s shown us the culture of college teams in the States, because of the trips we’ve gone on to play college teams, so I’ve seen the level of play not only in the States but of college teams in the States, so that’s going to help me. I’m excited just to get better, and to play at the college level. That’s what I’ve wanted to do for a while, so it’s exciting.”
Excited at what Schuurman has already done and looking forward to what he can accomplish, Arnold and the Great Lake coaching staff hope to see continued progression from the righty throughout the upcoming season and beyond.
“Jacob is an athletic kid making a full-time conversion to the mound,” Arnold said. “He already has a good feel to control the strike zone, and with some added strength and continued improvement in his delivery, he could be a factor early in his college career.
“He has a loose arm that projects to continue to add some velocity with repetition and consistency within his delivery. He has been and will continue to make significant strides, giving him a chance at a strong year on the mound heading into the fall and his college season. With the continuous progress he has built through the throwing program and consistent mound reps, we are excited about what the year holds.”