Baseball coach steps down at Baker
September 8, 2017


Five years as Ida Baker's head baseball coach after 13 years as an assistant at Mariner are enough for Bob Van Deventer, who stepped down on Tuesday for family reasons.

"It's time," Van Deventer said. "My two kids are age 9 and 6 and they want to get into activities. I've missed a lot already. I don't want to miss any more. I want to be there for my kids, watch them grow and develop, and help the wife out, too."

Van Deventer took over Baker's baseball program in 2012 and built it into a consistent contender for district and regional titles.

"I've gotten the program to where I think it needed to be," Van Deventer said. "It has turned into one of the top public school programs in the area. I'm leaving it better than it was."

New Baker athletic director Dan Butler said he will start looking for a replacement when schools are back in session after Hurricane Irma's intrusion.

"I will put the position out there and see who's interested," Butler said. "I know we have baseball staff interested in it and I hope that makes it a quick process. Like football, baseball draws a lot of interest in Florida. This is a close-knit baseball area, so I think we will see a lot of interest."

Butler is very familiar with Van Deventer's situation as he often considers stepping away from coaching himself for the same reason.

"It can be a drain for coaches being away from their young families," Butler said. "It makes you think if you want to coach these kids or go to thegames and perhaps coach your own kids. It's a tough decision. I'd like to be closer to my kids, too."

Van Deventer led the two-time district champion Bulldogs to their best season in school history, finishing 23-7 after losing to Dunedin 9-2 in the Class 6A regional finals earlier this year.

The Bulldogs were one game short of their first appearance in the state semifinals.

Bulldogs ace pitcher Chris Schrowe tossed six innings in his final high school game.

Baker has some holes to plug next spring as 11 seniors graduated, including pitchers Schrowe and Dakota Kayatta, outfielders Luke Endsley and Matt McGarty, and infielders Ryen Clay and Christian Proffitt.


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