LaFave earns GLIAC honors in hot streak

For one junior baseball player, winning awards and being recognized comes second to helping the team continue its winning ways.

Occupational therapy junior Chet LaFave is the starting catcher for the Cardinals’ men’s baseball team.  On March 26, LaFave was selected as the GLIAC “Player of the Week.”  After a weekend of play that included sweeping Hillsdale and going 4-8 with three doubles and four runs batted in, LaFave said he just wants to keep it up.

“I’m excited to win this award because it’s my first one,” LaFave said. “I had a really good week, but at the same time, I just hope that I can keep hitting the ball and hitting the ball hard.”

Coming off their spring trip, the Cardinals haven’t lost a game. SVSU went 3-8 while playing in Florida, yet have posted a 7-1 record since coming back to Michigan.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Chris Oliver

Junior catcher Chet LaFave was named GLIAC “Player of the Week” for the first time after last weekend’s series.

LaFave credits great team chemistry and contributions from everyone as the primary factors.

“Florida was really rough,” LaFave said. “But we’ve come back and we’re winning, the chemistry is good and we’re a good group of guys.”

LaFave is from Charlotte and originally turned down SVSU’s scholarship offer out of high school.  After playing at Southern Illinois for a year, however, he wanted to come back to Michigan. At SVSU, he’s played a pivotal role both behind the plate and with the bat, hitting .308 this season while anchoring the middle of the lineup.

He added that while catching is rough and physically demanding, he wouldn’t do anything else.

“I love it and I love the role I get to play,” LaFave said. “I get to be the spark of the team and behind the plate, I get to call the whole game, which keeps me thinking and in the game.”

LaFave credited his father when it came to his love of the catcher position.

“I’ve played baseball for as long as I could walk,” LaFave said. “My dad played catcher, and I’ve caught every game I’ve played since seventh grade.”

He also feels privileged to play baseball at the college level.

“I feel blessed to have made it this far playing my favorite sport,” LaFave said. “It’s great to play in college and I’m very lucky because a lot of guys don’t get to make it this far.”

In addition to chemistry, LaFave credited his success and the team’s success to the coaching and training staff.  He said that preparation was key in keeping up performance on the field.

“You have to get a good workout three or four times a week and keep it up,” LaFave said. “A lot of times I’ll come in on our day off and work out just to make sure I’m ready for the weekend.”

At the plate, LaFave said he has set high goals for himself this year.

“I want to finish up batting at least .300 this year,” LaFave said. “I want to be that guy who can get on base and drive in runs.”

Behind the plate, LaFave expects just as much.

“I expect to be ready every day and be that one guy that pitchers just love to throw to,” he said.

Outside of baseball, LaFave focuses on school, but says his favorite hobbies involve being outdoors and in the woods.

“I really love to hunt,” he said. “Either bow hunting for deer or waterfowl hunting.”

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