BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The bitter taste of last season’s Clarkston Varsity Baseball closer after 14 innings was still in Jake Arendsen’s mouth months later.
“It was one of the first things I talked about when I got hired in September,” said the new head coach for the baseball team.
Arendsen was the varsity pitching coach last season and the memory lingered.
“I wasn’t even able to clean out the baseball stuff out of my car for at least a month or two after the game,” he said. “It was probably one of the toughest losses I encountered in my baseball career. I would say it stung a lot for our juniors last year, who are now seniors with us.”
It has served as motivation as Arendsen and the players prepared for this spring season.
“We have used it as motivation for us in a learning experience, not only how much better we have to get, but also the mental toughness that we can take away from it,” he said. “It was one of the longer games we have all been a part of but we saw how we rallied together. In the end we didn’t end up on the right side, but to go 14 innings you can’t go that alone. It’s what we try to take away from that game and into the off season we need to be stronger together. Baseball is a game of inches and every pitch counts, every hit, every at bat counts. That’s what I stress to the boys.”
The players spent time during the off season conditioning and in the weight room and Arendsen told them he is done talking about it.
Now he can focus on his goals as head coach which includes putting the players in a position to consistently win championships which includes having a year round baseball program, and also using baseball as a tool to help the guys grow into men.
“It was one of the first things I told the boys – I want to win championships but also on the flip side, we are here to use the game of baseball as a tool to create positive members of the Clarkston community,” Arendsen said. “Baseball is a tool where we can learn better life skills. It is a unique role as a baseball coach.”
He added he had incredible coach who, along with his parents, had a big impact on his life.
“Being head coach has always been a life long dream of mine ever since I was a high school player. I had an incredible coach. I have always had that experience in my back pocket that I wanted to impact the lives of young men in the same way that my high school coach impacted me and still does impact my life,” he shared. “I want to create that same kind of culture for players that come back and to be a part of our off season workouts whether they are in college or even if they don’t play baseball anymore. I want to create a family atmosphere. I look forward to that opportunity.”
Arendsen played baseball for Holland Christian High School and earned many accolades as he helped the team finish fifth in the state during his senior year. He continued his baseball career at Oakland University.
Before being the pitching coach for the varsity team, he was the head coach for the Clarkston JV Baseball team for three years.
“I think some of my contagious, positive energy and the coaches contagious, positive energy trickles down to the seniors and I am really relying on our seniors to have that trickle down effect to our players as well. It’s just something I want to resonate in our program is to be aggressive and passionate baseball players,” he said.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE