Coach Koch works with the team’s strengths

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Austin

WSC baseball players participate in warmup laps at the beginning of practice.

Whitney Winter, Staff Writer

As baseball head coach Alex Koch begins his sixth season this year with the Wildcats, he said he has high expectations and hopes for his team.

Koch said he is looking forward to “taking another stride and compiling some more wins this year.”

Koch has been associated with WSC’s baseball program since 2006, as a player and coach. He served three seasons as an assistant coach (2010-12) and was a volunteer assistant (2012-14) with the baseball program. In February 2012, he accepted the position as director of the Wayne Community Activity Center. Koch is the 14th head coach in the program’s 55-year history, taking the job in July 2014.

Koch is also in charge of grounds and field maintenance for all Wildcat athletic facilities.

He has a record of 124-120 (.508) overall and 98-73 (.573) in the Northern Sun Conference. The Wildcats had an 11-win improvement, finishing 32-18 overall and 23-12 in the Northern Sun Conference in their 2019 season.

Koch said coaching is more than working with your players, it’s realizing everyone’s strengths and “a big part of it is the relationships you build with your players.”

“We have a lot of experience back, you know, offensively and on the mound, so I’m just looking for taking another stride forward and keep playing ball games,” Koch said.

Freshman Brody Sintek is a right-handed pitcher from Fremont, Nebraska. He is projected to be a starter on the mound this season for WSC. “He takes strides every day and he’s becoming an overall better pitcher,” Koch said.

Koch said another upstanding player is third baseman Chris Cornish, a junior from Bellevue, Nebraska.

“I am looking forward to getting back on the field and playing with my teammates this year,” Cornish said. “I can’t wait to see our hard work from the off-season pay off.”

“The guys as a whole, come to practice with the attitude that they’re going to get better every day and we’ve been making strides as a team,” Koch said.

With 11 seniors returning, Koch said they have put a lot of time and effort into the baseball program.

“They voluntarily came in for early workouts and do a lot of senior-lead stuff. They’re doing the little things that need to be done to beat the good teams, like Augustana.

“If we can improve defensively, we’ve got a chance to take another stride,” Koch said. “If we can play defense, day-in and day-out, our pitchers are competitive enough, throw enough strikes where we can make plays behind them, we’ll have a lot of success.”

Augustana is predicted to win the conference this year and is one of the biggest competitors for the Wildcats. Koch said he hopes the team is right there next to Augustana and Mankato in this year’s tournament.

“I look forward to one last time on the road with the teammates I have grown close to, over the course of my time here at Wayne,” senior pitcher Aidan Breedlove said.

Breedlove is a right-handed pitcher for the Wildcats from Omaha, Nebraska. He said he enjoys being a pitcher because he can control the tempo of the game and “if done well, you can put your team in a really good position to win.”

These student-athletes are also held accountable for their academic work. The team strives for a team GPA of 3.0 or higher, and Koch said they’ve done that all the semesters he’s been around.

“This time of year, with the sport that we’re in, we battle weather so we are constantly moving games,” Koch said. “They [student-athletes] have to communicate well with their professors on when they’re going to be gone and what needs to be done, so we make sure we keep that line of communication with professor open so they can still have success in the classroom while they’re training to play ball.”

Cornish said the hardest part of being a student-athlete is the workload and learning to balance everything. “The best part is seeing all your hard work from the off-season pay off,” Cornish said. “It is a great feeling having success on the field as well as in the classroom.”

Breedlove said there are weeks where he is gone three of the five days and he’s still held to the same accountability as other students.

“The best part is having a large group of people who share a common interest as you,” Breedlove said. “We all come from different parts of the region and become a new family away from home.”

Austin Svehla
WSC baseball players participate in warmup laps at the beginning of practice.

Austin Svehla
Brendan Madsen warming up before practice

Austin Svehla