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Second baseman selected 1st team allstar

When an injury forces an athlete out of the game, recovery requires both physical and mental perseverance. A broken leg took junior Coleton Hutchins off the soccer field, but could not keep him out of the baseball season.

Though his fractured right tibia occurred on Dec. 29, Hutchins still feels the effects of a broken leg despite reconstructive surgery and a titanium rod.

?Because of rehab, I missed the first nine games of the baseball season,? Hutchins said. ?My speed has greatly decreased to the point where I ?run? around the infield in the same time it took the team to jog around the north field.?

Hutchins’ thinks working back to his previous speed proved to be a constant struggle.

?Each game and each practice, I have improved my speed, but not without the absence of pain,? Hutchins said. ?It has been difficult to distinguish between bad pain, overall leg weakness or stiffness in my leg. Last year I started at shortstop and batted leadoff. This year I had to work my way up from batting seventh to second. I have had to change my style of play from a sophomoric sophomore to an established junior who channels all of his energy to the next play needed to be made.?

Fear of further injury limited Hutchins

“Last year I had over 20 steals,” Hutchins said. “This year I only had four because I was worried about sliding feet first into any base. It was interesting trying to incorporate a head-first slide to avoid a tag.”

Hutchins? focus and effort seemed to pay off during games. According to first-year coach Bill McGowen, he led the team in batting with a 0.476 average overall and in fielding percentage at second base.

?From a physical standpoint, Coleton has outstanding hand-eye coordination and surprising hand and forearm strength,? McGowen said. ?He uses these gifts to hit for a high average and field his position very well.?

McGowen believes Hutchins’ greatest strength lies in his heart and passion for the game.

?Mentally, Coleton is a cerebral ballplayer who is always one or two plays ahead,? McGowen said. ?Defensively, he remembers where opposing hitters have hit the ball and positions himself accordingly without being told. He plays the game with passion and you can tell he just loves to be out on the baseball field. One of his strongest traits is that he has a tremendous will to win. Give me nine Coleton Hutchins’ on the field and I don?t care who we play, we?ll find a way to win; he?s just that kind of warrior.?

Hutchins? attitude and commitment impacts his teammates

?Coleton has had a major impact on his teammates, even from the first time he came out to the field after breaking his leg,? McGowen said. ?You could see the fire in his eyes and his teammates knew he would work to get healthy enough this year to contribute. He fights through each game, though you can tells he?s not 100%, with a mental and physical tenacity that is contagious.?

For his contributions to the team, McGowen awarded Hutchins the ?Character and Class Award?, presented to one player on every team that competes in the Fowler Easter Classic.

?I asked the other coaches who they thought deserved the award, so it didn?t just come from me,? McGowen said. ?They all have respect for Coleton and the way he has battled through this adversity.?

“We have a lot of great young men of character on this team,” McGowen said, “but no one personifies the spirit of the Fresno Christian Eagle baseball program any more than Coleton. Whether in the classroom or out in the community being a volunteer coach for a T-Ball team, Coleton?s character comes shining through to everyone whose life he touches.?

According to Hutchins, this year has been a time of growing, not only for himself but for the entire team as well.

?Last year, our team was comprised mostly of sophomores and freshmen with two seniors,? Hutchins said. ?Expectations of the team were minimal, because we were such a young team. I have to say it was difficult for me to count ourselves out of games before they ever began.?

Baseball program advances, players optimistic

This year, the new coach complements Hutchins? optimism and appears to give the promise of a brighter future. Last year, the team’s record was 3-19. After graduating only two seniors, the more experienced team had a record of 10-16.

?This year we are mostly the same team, just a year older,? Hutchins said. ?With the new coach, though, the whole team dynamics are like night and day from last year. McGowen is always fired up for each game and I believe that his energy and excitement affect the team?s morale and belief in themselves.?

Senior captain Greg Kilgore appreciated Hutchins effort and leadership on the team.

“He was a good influence on everyone,” Kilgore said. “He always makes everyone happy and he will do awesome next season as a senior.”

If the opportunity presents itself, Hutchins will play college baseball.

“This year, I really started to consider the possibility to play in college,” Hutchins said. “I have a lot of areas that I need to improve in like strength training and expanding my fielding range. If a college offers me a roster spot, I think it would be an amazing experience to play college ball.”

At the annual South West Sierra League (SWSL) meeting, coaches nominated who they believed were quintessential baseball players in the league. From this campus Kilgore and Hutchins were selected as 1st team All-League. For 2nd team, seniors Joey Logan and Jeremy Ramos and sophomore Daniel Kingen were chosen.

For more information check out Baseball sports shorts.

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  • T

    Tyler GrahamOct 12, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I am so proud of Luke and how far he has come. We have a good chance of being great this year and he is helping us every step of the way. Even though he is just playing doubles, his willingness to work hard in practice and during games will help us be great this year.

    His drive to win is a great motivation for all of us. It is great having him on the team I would not have it any other way

  • A

    Andrew RurikOct 12, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Look at those bulging calf muscles!

    Go Luke!