Aruba native Croes has solid year with Booyah
By Greg Bates
ASHWAUBENON – Dayson Croes said he has aspirations of following in the footsteps of Xander Bogaerts, a star for the Boston Red Sox.
Bogaerts is the most famous Major League Baseball player to come from Aruba, and Croes – who spent the summer playing for the Green Bay Booyah – wants to make a name for himself as a fellow Aruban at the professional level.
“Everybody says we’re a soccer country, but when you look at how many professional baseball players we have compared to soccer, it’s not even close,” Croes said. “We have Bogaerts in the big leagues – he’s one of the best shortstops right now.”
Croes, a Noord, Aruba, native, is coming off a solid season in the Northwoods League for the Booyah.
A hit machine as a utility infielder, Croes tied for the team lead in batting average (.313) and was tops in hits (63).
He added 28 RBI, 25 runs and 11 extra-base hits.
Croes said he loved his time in Green Bay.
Before traveling north, Croes – who plays college baseball at Quincy University in Quincy, Ill. – had never been to Wisconsin.
“It was something I’ve never experienced before,” Croes said. “It was nice playing every day. Sometimes it got tough, but I liked it lots. It was a unique experience – the fans, the atmosphere.”
The 21-year-old played in 51 of the Booyah’s 72 games.
He frequently played several nights in a row, something he wasn’t used to at the college level.
An area where Croes believes he improved the most was in the field.
At Quincy, he has played primarily third and second base; however, Booyah manager Tristan Toorie plugged Croes into the everyday lineup at shortstop.
“I’ve done well at fielding,” Croes said. “Also, the little things – the mental side of the game when you don’t play every day, you don’t get it. Some days you wake up more tired than others, but you’ve still got to get your mind right to go play that night.”
Croes had a solid junior season at Quincy in 2021.
He hit .436 with 75 hits, 28 extra-base hits, 17 doubles and nine home runs.
After the season, the accolades flooded in.
He was named a first-team All-American from Division II Conference Commissioners Association and second-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America and All-Midwest Region.
Croes carried over his college season hitting success to the Northwoods League schedule.
After he wrapped up his year at Quincy, Croes took one week off and moved to Green Bay.
With the recommendation from his college coaches to play in the Northwoods League, Croes opted to sign with the Booyah because they were the first team to reach out to him.
Croes opened his Booyah season hot at the plate.
In his first three games, the left-handed hitter collected eight hits in his first 14 at-bats.
Croes had a lull during the middle of the campaign, but picked it up at the end, going 24-for-55 (.471) in his final 11 games.
He said he was happy to close out the year tied for the top batting average on the team with Green Bay Preble alumnus and current Clemson player Max Wagner.
“It feels good to be up there,” Croes said. “I work hard for everything, so it’s always nice when you see your hard work is paying off – especially to be up there with a guy like Max. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year and goes to Clemson. I talked to him lots during the season, especially about hitting. I learned quite a bit from him.”
Following the Booyah’s last game of the season Aug. 5, Croes flew to Aruba for 10 days to visit his family and friends.
He hadn’t been back home since Christmas.
“It was nice, especially to take a couple of days off from baseball and relax and spend time with family,” Croes said.
He’s back at Quincy preparing for his senior year.
He said he’s hoping to have another great year on the diamond and either get selected in the 2022 MLB Draft or sign a professional contract as a free agent.
Before he hopefully inks a pro contract, Croes said he’d like to play one more summer with the Booyah.
“I’m going to keep getting better and hopefully help the Booyah win a couple more games than we did this year,” he said. “I like the fans and the people in Green Bay. To play in front of them again would be special.”