May 2013 End-of-Season Notes from Coach Kohlhepp
In terms of our won-lost record (8-3 overall with an average of nearly 12 runs per game) and development of skills (lots of improvement by lots of players), this season was similar to the strong campaigns we have waged in recent years. In terms of this team’s ability to create method within madness, to synthesize passionate rookiedom with comical seniority, this season was unlike any other.
Initial thanks need to go out to the supportive parents, especially those of Henry, Pat, Chris, Calder and Cody, for their frequent attendance and thoughtful provisioning. I need to tip my cap as well to my tall, cool co-coach, Mr Daniel Fungo-master Lead-foot Skoglund, who will bring his impressive skills and his unyielding standards to graduate school next year and many other teams in the years to come.
Some ballteams are lucky enough to have a “Fab Five” as their core; we found ourselves with two full sets of five-of-a-kind, and those hands played out with remarkable results.
The third formers brought eagerness, intensity and well-developed baseball skills to the diamond. Cody Lucey, inheriting the family tradition, found a home in the outfield and threw in some key hits along the way. Corey Wieczorek ripped around the bases with unbridled glee and attacked the baseball at every turn. Henry Thomas showed impressive versatility and soft hands, whether shagging flies in the outfield, picking short-hops at first or throwing strikes from the hill. Chris Cooke, our most dangerous hitter despite missing a few games for another sport, swung the bat with well-channeled fury, crushing triples like it was his job. Jack Gustavson, our Most Valuable Player, shone in the middle infield, fired strikes on the mound, and proved just about impossible to retire at the plate.
Fourth and fifth formers were the meat of our sandwich of success. Newcomer Max Way survived a bad Chipotle trip and proved himself a smooth operator in the outfield and at the plate. Returner Patrick Frey was his usual silky self at first and ripped some rockets from the left side. Dan Kim survived a scary solo stretch on the mound and brought style to every session. Calder Ryan broke in a new glove at the hot corner and found a new batting stroke down the home stretch. Jake Grant called many strong innings behind the plate and threw in enough bombs to maintain his bench “cred.”
The sixth formers, long on experience but often short on concentration, set a free-wheeling example for their impressionable teammates to emulate. Matt Renzi quit playing sports that don’t matter for one that does and quickly proved himself a star. Will Rhodes spoke from the gutter and swung for the stars when he wasn’t recovering from the stresses of senior spring. Bryan Bohaty cut a fine figure as our dugout data collector, then got back into uniform in time to rediscover his love of the game and a sweet swing at the plate. Mohib Amin balanced goofiness in practice with grit on the mound, getting tossed when those two worlds overlapped in the sightline of an unappreciated ump. Nic Greco, nursing a damaged wing, nevertheless spoke with his bat and, amazingly enough, his baserunning and, most of all, setting the standard for selflessness on a team that had a few too many “I”s at times.
From brutalizing the Beavers to fighting our way past the Falcons, getting tamed by the Tigers or walked over by the Wildcats; from the constant coolers of Propel to the complicated equipment arrangements; from the triple doubles of day one to the random Afghan expulsions to the Canterbury kick-save at the end ; these Bears swung and threw and laughed their way toward a strange and wonderful season. And I am pretty sure that a certain departed Bear left us a brown bag full of Texas Toast and a fresh new fungo to be discovered somewhere on campus when we open up a whole new can of j.v. ball next spring.
Good luck seniors and thanks to EVERYBODY for a great 2013 season.