WINDOM -- The first time Kobe Lovell pitched a game at Windom’s beautiful Island Park baseball field, the experience was, in his own words, “nerve-wracking.”
The historic ballpark, nestled next to the Des Moines River just to the right of Highway 60 as drivers head into town from the south, has been the scene of countless baseball memories. Lovell said he only gave up two or three runs in his first outing there. “So it was all right.”
Today, sadly, the Island Park field is a mess due to flooding that covered the premises with water and mud last year and happened again this spring.
Lovell and the Windom Area Eagles play their baseball on the other side of town now, but though the venue isn’t as satisfying, the baseball is.
WAHS is one of the better teams around, thanks to a traditional hallmark of the program -- pitching.
Lovell, a tall, lean left-hander, is the team’s ace. His older brother, Collin, set the tone before he took his pitching talents to Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he lifted his game to an even higher level. Like older brothers often do, the right-handed Collin is teaching his younger brother what he’s learned over the years, and it’s paying off.
With winter over, Kobe figures to have a more satisfying team experience this spring on the baseball team. Also a member of the Eagles’ boys basketball squad, he was an excellent player on a team that lacked depth and tumbled to a 2-24 record. Through it all, the WAHS senior did the best that he could, putting into action the athlete’s creed that, win or lose, one must continue to do his best at all times.
Now it’s springtime. It’s the Eagles’ time.
The Globe interviewed Windom Area’s ace hurler recently for an episode of The Drill. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com. Here is a sample of the interview:
QUESTION: How have you improved as a pitcher over the years? Are you working on some new pitches this spring, or refining one of two of them?
ANSWER: “One thing I’ve refined this year is just velocity, throwing harder, getting more strikeouts, which is really important to me. I throw a two-seam (fastball), which helps hitters get off-balance and reaching for pitches. I’ve learned throughout the years that a two-seam fades away and it will get the hitters thinking a little bit.”
QUESTION: What has Collin been helping you with?
ANSWER: “I do a lot of weighted balls, which is a big thing my brother got me into. It helps me throw a lot harder, and just the weight room. Collin played at Augustana College and there, with the weighted balls, he really taught me over the summer, working with me every day, which is important with weighted balls.”
QUESTION: How good is this Windom Area baseball team?
ANSWER: “This team could be very good. We have the pitching and we have the defense. As long as we start hitting, I think we’ll be good to go.”