HOLLAND — When Evan Maday decided to return to the Hope baseball team for one more season, it wasn’t for personal accolades, it was to win an MIAA title.
The senior center still has that opportunity on the table, as the team is 9-4 this season. Although this quest is still up in the air for the Flying Dutchmen, Maday has etched his name in stone in the history of Hope.
Earlier this month, Maday got his 178th hit in the orange and blue, breaking Jon Ponte’s record since 2012. Since then, he’s added 13 more to take his career number to 191. Yet even in an instant that would be the career high point for most college baseball players, Maday was far more focused on the team’s next game than celebrating his personal accomplishment.
“It’s a pretty professional approach for him, I’m sure inside he’s super proud,” Hope’s coach Stu Fritz said. “But it’s a first for the team. [mindset] always for him.”
This selfless mentality has been with the senior engineering student long before he set foot on the Hope campus. Fritz said when he saw him play at East Kentwood High School, he could tell that not only was he a special player, but he was a constant competitor, always hoping for a win instead of hoping for his own success. staff.
He certainly made some changes between his high school swing and his current short and sweet swing. He worked hard to improve his swing and never took coaching for granted.
Whenever a teachable moment arises, he is like a watering sponge, soaking up whatever knowledge his coaches or even his teammates can pass on to him.
“I’m really proud of where I’ve come from since high school, the people I’ve been around [strength and conditioning coach Dan] Margritz in the weight room, from coaches to teammates,” Maday said. “They all pushed me to be the best version of myself and to improve every day. ”
He’s not just an elite level hitter, however. He is also a high level defender. A centre-back needs to have a strong arm, quick reaction time, good speed and good hip movement and Maday has all of those things in droves.
He knows that in baseball, defense is not necessarily the aspect of the game that amazes people, especially in the outfield. But he takes it as seriously as his striking because he knows a small mistake on the pitch could ruin a game for the rest of his team.
“Defense is probably the most important part of our game and it often gets overlooked,” Maday said. “Being able to play well defensively is just as important, if not more important, than my offensive performance.”
When he’s not racking up hits or playing on the field, he makes sure to mentor the young players on the team. He is a team captain and is seen by everyone involved in Hope baseball as a leader.
The senior won’t be that guy in the middle of a circle giving a big pre-game speech in most circumstances. He shows leadership by showing the rest of the team what needs to be done. This quiet leadership helped reinforce an already family culture that Fritz established with the Flying Dutchmen.
“We have a culture that I think is as good as it’s ever been and a big part of that is,” Fritz said. “We have other guys talking, but Evan is relentless in the weight room, relentless working on his swing and so many things he does when no one is watching.”
That culture is why Maday returned for a fifth year after the COVID pandemic scrapped his junior season after just three games. He doesn’t care how many records he breaks in his last season in orange and blue.
He just wanted to continue being part of this family atmosphere for a few more months before heading out into the real world. He hopes for a little longer with his second family on the diamond and hopes his career will end with an MIAA championship ring on his finger.
“The one and only thing [why I came back] was to win a championship,” Maday said. “That’s really the main reason I came back and then to be with the guys again, my teammates and coaches and all the Hope people.”