By Ken Barhorst
Jim Koewler proved to be a man of his word.
After one of the best Sidney Post 217 American Legion baseball seasons ever last summer, Koewler did what he said he was going to do — he stepped down as coach/manager.
His plan was to free up some time to watch his grandsons, Riverside grads Dalton and Dakota Bollinger, play college baseball next year.
But something got in the way of those plans.
He said he found out last week that the Post 217 baseball committee was having a difficult time finding a replacement for him. It’s a job that takes a lot of time, as evidenced this past season when Post 217 played around 50 games in just under two months.
So Koewler stepped to the plate.
“I told them I’d do it again this year,” he said. “I talked it over with (wife) Nancy, and we just didn’t want to see the program go down. I talked to Dalton and Dakota both, and they understood the situation. They know how much I love baseball.
“I told them (baseball committee) at the beginning of last season that win, lose or draw, they would have to find a replacement,” he added. “But we accomplished quite a bit there that hadn’t been accomplished in a while.”
He doesn’t think there will be quite as much travel involved next summer as there was this past season.
“I don’t think our traveling will be as extensive as it was last summer, but we will still try to get around 40 games in and include a couple of tournaments,” he said. “And I’ve already been on the phone working on the schedule.”
With a veteran team this past summer, Koewler guided Post 217 to an outstanding season, one that culminated with a third-place finish in the State Legion Tournament in Lancaster. When it was all over, the team had posted a record of 37-19.
“I went through the paperwork to see who was eligible to come back, and I was surprised,” he said. “There were a couple kids I didn’t realize were still eligible. And if I can get them to come back, that will be a big plus. I’m sure with some of the kids coming back, we should put another good team out there.”
Sounds like the coach is excited already.