Baseball notebook: A mutually beneficial setupIt’s not easy to take a picture of Red Wing baseball team manager Cam Koch. He’s never in the same spot very long. While the Wingers took infield practice before Tuesday’s game against Prior Lake, Koch made the rounds.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
It’s not easy to take a picture of Red Wing baseball team manager Cam Koch. He’s never in the same spot very long.
While the Wingers took infield practice before Tuesday’s game against Prior Lake, Koch made the rounds.
The freshman chatted with senior Dan Roschen at third base. Later he brought coach Jim Bohmbach baseballs at home plate. Then he sat in the dugout, ate sunflower seeds and talked with senior Wyatt Rowe and junior Henry Jaeger.
Koch’s energy and positive outlook have endeared him to his teammates.
“They’ve been a great friend to me,” Koch said. “They’re just a great bunch of guys. They like me and I like them.”
Koch has attention deficit disorder and a little attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to Koch’s mother, Pat.
However, that hasn’t been an issue with the ball club.
“The kids have really welcomed him with that,” she said. “They don’t seem to see that.”
The players’ friendship extends beyond Athletic Field.
Koch eats lunch with the Wingers and they stand up for him in the hallways at the high school.
If “some of the guys at school say something to him it’s just, ‘Lay off, it’s Cam,’” Red Wing junior Justin Lance said. “They don’t play baseball so they don’t understand, but he’s here every day so it’s kind of hard to just let him get walked all over.”
The team’s support has made a difference.
He’s gained “a lot of self confidence,” said Pat Koch, adding, “It’s just opened up huge doors for Cameron. He didn’t feel good about himself up until this point.”
For the Wingers, Koch’s best asset might be his demeanor in the dugout.
“He’s always got a positive attitude,” sophomore Coleman Kelly said.
Added Lance: “He likes to have fun and he’s really outgoing and he pays attention to the game, something a lot of guys in here need to do.”
Koch also brings balls to the umpire between innings and serves as the Wingers’ batboy.
Tuesday he helped out in another way. Senior Danny Bergeson forgot his belt so Koch loaned him his.
“Being with the guys they’re ... sort of like a family to me,” Koch said.
• Zumbrota-Mazeppa sophomore Ryan Paukert was not optimistic about the follow-up MRI that was scheduled six months after he had surgery on his right knee.
He was off crutches at that point, but there was still pain when he walked.
“I just started praying; that’s all I did. That’s probably the most I’ve prayed in my life,” Paukert said. “I thought I’d be crying on the way home from that MRI.”
Paukert had played with pain in his knee since seventh grade. It was believed to be a problem with his iliotibial band, but the pain intensified during the fall football season.
“I felt it cracking,” Paukert said.
About the time the playoffs started, Paukert learned he had osteochondritis dissecans, which develops when blood supply to an area is cut off.
It’s not clear why it happened, but it caused fragments of the bone to chip off. On Oct. 3, 2008, he had surgery to remove the floating debris and to graft a large piece back into its original position.
Despite Paukert’s trepidations, the MRI showed the procedure was a success.
“Most of it did heal, but there’s a little piece that didn’t,” Paukert said. “... My doctor did say that I was really fortunate. He was really happy that that much healed because it was such a big piece.”
Paukert was able to join the baseball team at practice about a week and a half ago. Saturday at Ellsworth he went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
“When he falls you get kind of nervous,” Z-M coach Chuck Ohm said after the game. “But he gets back up and he’s fine.”
Paukert has been used primarily as a pinch runner.
“I feel slow, definitely not as fast as I was,” Paukert said. “Maybe 90 percent just like leg wise. They just feel like they’re sludge. I don’t know what a good word is for that. Sluggish.”
Paukert will have surgery on the knee again this summer to correct the small piece of bone that didn’t heal. He expects to be back for the start of football season.