A pair of former Eastern Mennonite University athletes will be honored by their high school alma mater this fall, field hockey player Liza Heavener and baseball player Erik Kratz.
Both former Royals are originally from Telford, PA, and graduates of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School. They have been named the school’s Young Alumni of the Year, an award which is based on demonstration of academic, spiritual, and lifestyle practices as outlined in the school’s graduate profile carried out since graduation. The duo will be honored at the school Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 19-20. Kratz will also be inducted into EMU’s Hall of the Honor the previous weekend.
Heavener is a 2003 graduate of Christopher Dock before making her way to EMU. She was a three-year starter at midfielder on the Lady Royals’ field hockey team, playing in a total of 65 games in four seasons. Heavener was also named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association D-III National Academic Team.
As a student at EMU, she started working in the office of the Senate Majority Leader and after graduating, continued to work in Washington, D.C., with the Faith and Politics Institute and as a lobbyist for the Aircraft & Pilots Association. In March 2012, she was chosen for a global advocacy campaign called DeforestACTION.org, left her job on Capitol Hill, and lived with the Dayak tribe in Borneo, Indonesia. There Heavener worked with a team in the oldest rainforest on the planet to stop illegal deforestation, educate locals, and rescue orangutans. Her 100 days in the jungle will be released as a documentary, “The Rise of the Eco-Warriors,” in early 2013. She currently lives in Washington, D.C., and works as the Facilitator for DeforestACTION.
Kratz was a four-year starter at catcher for the Royals, completing possibly the best baseball career ever by a Royal. He was named Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year in both of his final two seasons, 2001 and 2002. He graduated with the NCAA record for career doubles, and also held 20 season and career records at EMU.
Since leaving college, Kratz has continued his playing days, spending much of the past decade in Minor League baseball. His work ethic paid off when he finally made his Major League debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010. Kratz signed with his hometown Philadelphia Phillies the following year, and this summer is getting significant playing time. As of Aug. 16, Kratz has played in 23 games for the Phillies with a .273 batting average, 5 homeruns and 13 RBIs.