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A new season and a new coach
Over the course of his baseball career, Steven Kandborg always appreciated the difficult task his head coaches had game planning and inspiring their players.
But the full realization of just how demanding the job can be is something he will grapple with this season, as the former college player takes over at the helm of the B.C. Junior Premier Baseball League squad the Coquitlam Redlegs.
As his team gets ready for the exhibition season, he told The Tri-City News on Wednesday that he is still learning his new role.
“It is a lot tougher coaching than it is playing,” he said. “When you are playing, you don’t have to think. You just do it. Now, I’m always going ‘what do I do here?’ or ‘what do I do in this situation?’ I’m always thinking.”
Kandborg started out his baseball career as a 14 year old with the Redlegs. He eventually worked his way up to the senior Reds squad, where he played two seasons before heading off to college.
His first stop was at the Wenatchee Valley College in Washington. However, after a short time with the club he eventually made his way to New York State, where he played in the Perfect Game Collegiate League.
Kandborg finished up his college career at the Iowa Lakes Community College, where he majored in business administration and played with the National Junior College Ahtletic Association division two Lakers.
He is still in school, but said that he always knew he would take up coaching once he was done playing baseball.
“I’m excited to give back,” he said. “That’s the main reason for this.”
With the upcoming exhibition season expected to get underway next week, Kandborg is still sorting out his roster.
He said he is relying heavily on five returning veterans — Jared Clark, Josh Mickleson, Ryley Leoppky, Trevor McKee and Cole Nightingale — to help him set an example for the new players.
Many of the people on the team hope to go on to join the Reds in the Premier Baseball League, often a stepping stone to a college program.
Having already navigated the route to a post-secondary education, Kandborg has a lot of knowledge to offer the young players.
“The main things is to keep working at it,” he said. “You have to deal with a lot of adversity.”
Grades are another component, which can be tough to balance when a player is practicing five to six times a week.
“You can be the best baseball player in the world but if you don’t have the grades, nobody will be looking at you,” Kandborg said.
The Redlegs regular season does not get underway until next month, but there are several exhibition contests taking place between now and then at Mundy Park.
The team will kickoff the 2014 season at home with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 26 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. against the Victoria Jr. Eagles.
For a complete game schedule go to www.coquitlamreds.com.