MUSKEGON — Drew Mabrito loves days like Wednesday.
He teed off on the golf course in the morning, played 18 holes for free, then joined his baseball buddies for their doubleheader that began in the afternoon and spanned into the early evening.
All the while, the Ravenna junior got a day off from school. What could be better?
Truthfully, dual-sporting in the same season is a tough balancing act for student-athletes and their coaches and teams, but Mabrito and three of his Bulldogs peers make it work.
Ravenna freshman Dylan May joined Mabrito at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association golf tournament Wednesday at Lincoln Golf Club in Muskegon, where Mabrito finished tied for eighth with a score of 86 and the Bulldogs placed sixth as a team.
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
May and Mabrito then headed over to Hesperia, where their Bulldogs baseball team completed a sweep of the host Panthers, 14-4 and 5-3, in West Michigan Conference Rivers Division action. Mabrito had two hits in the first game. In the second game, May earned the pitching win and Mabrito notched the save.
Ravenna’s baseball team features two other dual-sport athletes: Hunter Hogan, who also competes in track and field, and Travis Bradtmueller, who also plays golf. Hogan was a dual-sport athlete in the fall as well, starring in football and soccer.
Watch the video at the top of this story to hear from Mabrito, May, and Ravenna golf coach Scott Iwaniw, whom CatchMark caught up with at the GMAA golf tourney.
“They do a good job communicating with the coaches and I have encouraged them to take care of their bodies and also keep up with their school work,” said Ravenna baseball coach Andrew May, who is Dylan’s father. “I have a great relationship with Scott (Iwaniw), so that helps with those guys. We also have had team talks about them missing a few practices and making up the time.”
After the sweep of Hesperia Wednesday, Ravenna’s baseball team was 12-5 overall and 6-2 in WMC Rivers play.
Ravenna’s young golf program, meanwhile, is positioning itself for a first-ever conference title as it’s closing in on the WMC Rivers Division championship.
Not every school allows its student-athletes to dual-sport, but at a small school like Ravenna, it’s proven quite beneficial.
“I think it’s great,” Andrew May said. “I know some teams (or schools) don’t like it, but at our school with only 300 students, it is nice for the athletes that love both sports. It can be tough on both coaches involved, but if there is good communication between the athlete and both coaches, it can work.
“I am fortunate that my dual-sport athletes have baseball as their primary (sport). I can see it being more difficult for the coaches who have the student-athletes as a secondary sport and don’t have them as much. But for my guys, they go from baseball practice up to golf practice. Coach Iwaniw is great to work with.
“Hunter (Hogan) will practice for track on his own after baseball so that works as well. Communication is the key, though,” May continued. “I can see it running into trouble down the road with baseball districts being a conflict with golf or track regionals or state. The smaller schools in the Upper Peninsula or upper Lower Peninsula play their baseball districts on Friday because they share so many athletes.”
Photos by CatchMark and courtesy of Laura Moat
/ 16 mins ago
West Michigan Conference coaches: Please email your results to email@example.com.
/ 37 mins ago
The senior guard still has many friends in Montague and good memories there, but...
/ 22 hours ago
Vikings junior finishes 54-0, joins Ira Jenkins and Shane Cook in string of history.