By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Leesburg (December 10, 2015) — Heritage High School senior Chad Koehler has made commitment to continue his baseball career at Grinnell College starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“[To be committed brings] a very relaxing feeling,” the 6-foot Koehler said. “It also makes me excited to know where I will continue to play baseball.”
The Division III Grinnell Pioneers are coached by Tim Hollibaugh — who will enter his 21st season at the helm of the program in the spring. Hollibaugh was also named the Midwest Conference-South Coach of the Year three of the last five seasons.
“I first visited [Grinnell] at the beginning of my junior year. I met the coach and got to see the college,” said Koehler who played his travel ball for EvoShield Canes Diamond Elite. “It is a great school academically and I think it will be a great fit for me baseball-wise, too. The current coach has coached at Grinnell for 20 years, and I can tell why. After meeting him I can see that he is a great person and coach. I will also get to go in playing behind and learning from the current catcher, Matt Hammond, who was the [Midwest Conference-South Player of the Year].”
The Pioneers finished their 2015 campaign with a record of 18-19 overall, but they fared pretty well in the Midwest Conference finishing 11-5. Koehler will be Hammond’s understudy during his freshman season with hopes of taking over the starting role during his sophomore season after Hammond graduates.
“I will add what I currently add to Heritage,” Koehler said. “I will always work to get better and do what the team needs to win.”
With Heritage coming off of an 8-13 season, Koehler expects Heritage to rebound from that record in 2016 adding in the fact that the Pride joined the newly-formed Conference 21B.
“We had two seniors last season, and most of our [starters]were sophomores,” Koehler said. “With such a young team, I think that we could take a big step forward. I feel that we could put our mark in conference.”
When Koehler first picked up a mitt nearly 13 years ago at 5-years-old, he never knew he would go on to play the sport he fell in love with in college.
“Ever since then, I have fallen more in love with the game,” Koehler said. “Part of why I keep playing is because I love playing and winning the game. I have also met many awesome people, friends and coaches along the way that made me keep waiting to play.”