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Father, son take in final game together

August 24, 2018
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor (agraham@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Family, farming, and baseball. These are three important things to South Tama's Seth Koch.

"We don't really know what summer vacation is," said Koch. Baseball has been a part of life since the beginning. Seth graduated from Maquoketa in 1987 where he played baseball. His team went to State and he got the honor to play on the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Series with the small school east team the summer before he went off to college. Koch coached at Central DeWitt before coming to South Tama where he has been ever since. He started coaching for the Trojans in 1992 as the freshman/sophomore coach. In 2002 he took over the head coach roll from Jerry Bisher. He met his wife Alice (Avery) upon moving to South Tama. They have been married for 24 years and have two sons Grant and Lane, both of whom played baseball and graduated from South Tama.

This year it came full circle for the coach and dad who was not only selected to coach the Small School East Team this year, but also got to see his own son, Lane, play on the team. For Koch, it was an extremely special moment. It was also a special moment for STC as the Trojans have not had a player selected to the IHSBCA All-Star Series since Robin Chute in 2001.

Article Photos

Lane and Seth Koch pose for a photo following their final game at the Iowa All Star Series on Sunday, August 5 at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City.
Photo Provided

The Iowa Coaches Association All-Star Series took place over the first weekend of August. Four teams of 16 seniors, Small Schools East and West and Large Schools East and West, made up the series. The games were played at the University of Iowa Duane Banks Field. For Lane it was a very cool experience. The atmosphere was a lot different than he was used to. The ball played a lot faster according to Lane.

The series also allowed an opportunity for some WaMaC Conference opponents to join forces across a few games. WaMaC seniors competing at the All-Star Series included Koch, Luke Ira (Solon), Joel Vaske (Beckman), Jackson Bennett (Beckman) and Jared Harris (West Delaware).

When the teams were not on the field they quickly bonded and enjoyed hanging out together. All 64 team members stayed at the Marriott in Iowa City and it just so happened they were there at the same time as the Iowa Hawkeyes Football team. According to Lane, the football team had an earlier curfew than the baseball players.

Also coaching the game with Seth were assistants Travis Griffith from North Linn and Devin Schiesow of Saint Ansgar. Seth very much enjoyed coaching the team and had lots of good baseball talk with the boys in the dugout.

To top off a great weekend, the Small Schools East team won each of their games and captured the 2018 All-Star Series championship. On Thursday they beat Large Schools East 4-1. On Friday the beat Large Schools West 6-5 and went into extra innings to seal the deal. On Saturday they automatically played a nine inning game and won 9-3 over Small Schools West. For the championship game on Sunday they once again beat Large Schools East 5-0.

"Not too many guys get to win the last game they play in," said Seth. The experience was so good that one of the players even asked when practice was the next day because they wanted to keep playing.

This year marked the last season that Seth will coach one of his own sons. He has had either Grant, Lane or a combination of the two in his dugout for the past nine years. The moment of realization that he will no longer be wearing two hats, that of coach and dad, hit Seth in the final game on Sunday of the All-Star series. He described the moment as pretty emotional.

It will be an adjustment for the entire family as Alice and several members of the extended family have been at the top of the hill of the STC baseball field for every game. For Lane he just doesn't know any different. In some ways it may be easier.

"It's tough to draw the line between dad and coach," said Seth.

"He's always been there telling me what to do," said Lane.

The STC Trojans won 14 games this season which was more than they had won the past two years combined. They finished fourth in the WaMaC West which, according to Koch, is the highest finish they've had in the WaMaC since 2000.

Between baseball and 4-H, late summer proved to be extra busy for the Kochs this year. South Tama's regular season concluded on July 13th, then the pair swapped the dugout for a cattle barn as the family spent the next week showing sheep and cattle at the Tama County Fair. After a week off the baseball cleats came out once again for the IHSBCA All-Star Series and the next week swapped back to sheep and cattle for the Iowa State Fair. Showing animals is another love they share. In fact, Lane is attending Iowa State University to study Animal Science. While Lane may be hanging up his baseball cap it's almost certain you will now see the youngest Koch joining the family contingency up on the hill as Dad continues coaching the game he loves so much.

"It's the greatest game you can play," Seth said, "You can learn more life lessons from baseball than any other sport there is."

 
 
 

 

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