BERKLEY — With the stroke of a pen, Sean Calender made his college choice official.
The Berkley High senior also did something for a program that continues to gain in stature.
“I think it says a lot about how far we’ve come, when kids are signing to play at the higher levels,” baseball skipper Jordan Gruppen said of Calender, who, on April 29, signed to play at Division II Saginaw Valley State University next spring. “In the past, we’ve had a few guys go on to play at smaller schools, but this is one of the first of its kind. It’s great for Sean and for our program.”
Calender said the decision to go from a Bear to a Cardinal was an easy one.
“They have a great program there and offer exactly what I want to study,” said Calender, who said he plans on taking courses in advertising. “It was a great place to be at, a great environment. The coach and myself got along great. It was a no-brainer.”
As a junior, Calender went 3-3 for Berkley with a 3.60 ERA.
But it was a simple observation that opened his eyes to the prospects of continuing his career beyond high school.
“A good friend of mine, who I play summer ball with, started getting attention from different colleges,” Calender explained. “Playing college baseball was always a dream of mine; I just never really though it was possible. So (after his junior season), I really committed myself to getting better.”
In three decisions this season, Calender is 2-1 with a 0.96 ERA.
“One of the main things is how hard he has worked to get where he is,” Gruppen said. “From last season to this season, the change in velocity, his work ethic and his ability to command the game is so much improved.”
Calender said he’s keeping his goals simple for the future. He hopes to help Berkley to a division title in 2013 and, come next year, find a spot in the SVSU rotation.
“I’d love to fit well, fit in with their pitchers and try and get some starts,” he said. “I know I have to prove myself all over again and work even harder, but I welcome that challenge.”
As for what his move to the next level means to the Berkley program, Gruppen said, “It’s a great thing. We’d love to have everyone wanting to go off and play college ball. I had the chance to do it, and it was one of the best things for me. It says a lot about our program and how far we’ve come, when you have kids garnering this kind of interest.”
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