TRAVERSE CITY — Josh Rebandt was recently named Field Manager for the new Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball team (formerly the Beach Bums) for the Northwoods League of Summer Colligiate Baseball.

In September of last year, Wuerfel Park, home of the Beach Bums, was bought out by a group of investors, led by West Michigan Whitecaps. This winter, the team was rechristened the Pit Spitters.

Josh brings with him years of coaching experience, beginning with his senior year of high school at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills.

Raised in a Christian family, Josh went to study at Adrian College, Clearwater Christian College in Florida and received his masters degree at Olivet College.

Currently, he is also the Assistant Baseball coach and Pitching Coach at Davenport College in Grand Rapids. As field manager, Josh is in charge of game days. He creates the line-ups and decides on pitching changes.

But Josh sees part of his manager job as being a spiritual mentor to his players as well.

The players are college students who have been placed with the league for two months to enhance their development. Many are hoping to make it into the pros. That is not such a far-fetched idea since professional players like Max Scherzer and Curtis Grandson began their journey to the Big Leagues from leagues like this. Places like Weurfel Field are their field of dreams.

Josh says he not only looks for good players, but for those willing to spend time helping out in the community as well. It is not just about baseball.

“The over-arching part of [coaching] is making an impact in their lives. I consider that as part of my duties, even though it may not be part of the specific job duties. I really want to make a difference in their lives for Christ.

“Jesus is the best coaching mentor there is. I really like the Book of Proverbs. There is so much wisdom there which is useful in instruction and teaching. And that, in turn, is coaching.

“We use words of Scripture everyday in our culture, but we don’t acknowledge where theycome from. The Golden Rule for example. Jesus said that,” Josh notes as an example of how we can bring Scripture into everyday conversation.

Josh is very excited about the upcoming summer. His wife is from Gaylord and has family there. And then, there’s the opportunity to offer the residents of Northern Michigan some great entertainment as well.

“Baseball is still America’s pastime. You can sit in the stands and can watch what is going on. You can chat while there while the games still something gives you something to talk about. That’s why it’s a great place to go for a first date.”

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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