Iowa prep baseball: Tutje, Generals working to restore that old magic
SIBLEY, Iowa -- After 22 years coaching the Sibley-Ocheyedan High School baseball team, Daryl Tutje thought he had achieved his freedom in 2012.But now, in 2016, "Tooj" is back, and he's happy about it."I enjoyed the extra time. But I missed the ...
SIBLEY, Iowa - After 22 years coaching the Sibley-Ocheyedan High School baseball team, Daryl Tutje thought he had achieved his freedom in 2012.
But now, in 2016, “Tooj” is back, and he’s happy about it.
“I enjoyed the extra time. But I missed the relationships with the players and the other coaches,” Tutje said Tuesday. “When I came back, that was the thing that really perked me up.”
His return was accomplished quickly after coach Marshall Doeden accepted a job that meant that he’d have to quit baseball. Tutje was asked if he’d consider taking over the program again.
The 2016 squad is a veteran outfit with a solid bunch of juniors and seniors. But it still has a ways to go. It’s record is currently 2-4.
“Marshall did a good job of taking a bunch of young guys who’d struggled and making them pretty competitive,” Tutje said, adding that he’s still working on getting the players used to a new coach.
Tutje likes to see his ballplayers take a selective eye to the plate, and he stresses making contact - which is an adjustment for hitters who’ve previously been free swingers. He also likes to play “small-ball,” using the bunt, the steal and the hit-and-run to manufacture runs.
Fortunately, says the veteran mentor, he has many good athletes on the team. “This is kind of a second sport to a lot of them,” Tutje maintains.
Seniors Logan Heibult, Kyle Green and Andrew Marco are the team’s leaders.
Heibult was All-Siouxland Conference as a shortstop last year and is an excellent hitter who makes good contact. He was the team’s leadoff hitter for three years but now holds down the No. 3 spot to give him more opportunities for RBIs.
Green is a four-year starter who pitches and catches. Tutje calls him “a great competitor.”
Marco, a second baseman, is another veteran and solid defensive player who rarely strikes out.
Tutje says the biggest issue the team is having currently is throwing strikes. It’s a pretty good hitting team that he hopes will make some waves before the summer’s done.
Tutje, of course, isn’t the only highly accomplished veteran coach to return to the Generals after having retired. Henry Eekhoff, a Hall of Fame girls basketball coach, recently returned to lead that program again.
Tutje finds it somewhat ironic that both he and Eekhoff are back at their respective stations.
“We were at the gym at the same time the other day,” said Tutje, “and we just kind of looked at each other and kind of said, ‘You know, something seems right about this.’”