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Athlete of the Week: Bellevue West’s Tyler VanDerwerken

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Tyler VanDerwerken had quite the Saturday for the Bellevue West baseball team.

He punched in multiple runs between two games and was behind the plate catching for a no-hitter and then a three-hitter.

It was all part of the Thunderbirds’ run to a Metro Tournament championship.

“We have a guy, usually, every game that kind of just comes through for us and I was just lucky enough to be that guy. Yeah, as soon as I saw that drop, I was thinking three right then,” VanDerwerken said.

The T-birds’ head coach, Jason Shockey, says the senior catcher has meant a great deal to the baseball team.

He’s just been outstanding all year long, and I don’t think a lot of people know the wear and tear on a catcher, and to be able to come back after catching a no-hitter and catch a three-hitter late that night is pretty special,” Shockey said. “Tyler is great. I mean, he’s been unbelievable in every facet. Definitely a great representation of Bellevue West and our baseball program. You know, first-class kid all the way.”

While VanDerwerken is producing for his team, they’ve given a lot to him as well.

Todd VanDerwerken, Tyler’s dad, passed away in 2019.

He was a big supporter of Tyler and Bellevue West athletics.

He even helped with the baseball team’s website.

Coaches and teammates were there for Tyler, and now they all wear bracelets that have Todd’s initials on one side and “Atta Boy” on the other side.

Shockey told WOWT you could always hear Todd VanDerwerken yelling “Atta Boy” from the stands at games.

They also have a banner on the left field wall at the school’s baseball stadium honoring Todd.

“Coming out here and seeing that is awesome. I know he’s looking down, and I know, especially last weekend, he would’ve been real proud,” VanDerwerken said. “ I couldn’t ask for a better program to play for. The amount of support that we got. It was awesome.”

“Todd was a very big part of our program,” Shockey said. “[Tyler] has done an unbelievable job of just continuing to focus, and I know that Todd’s very proud of him right now.”

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