Natural Athletes

By Jeremy McDonald

AURORA, Ore.–  The thing about the Koch Twins from St. Paul is that they’re athlete’s.  Their athletic instincts are something that are going to make them special in the Blue and White the next four years with the Buckaroos.

NM Magic 16U and assistant St. Paul Buckaroo Coach Neil Forste mentioned if they had five days to work with Gracie and Stella, the twins would just explode more than they are now in Fall Ball just because of that reason.

“The beauty of them is that they’re the type of athletes, that you tell them once…you never have to tell them again.  Gracie, has never really practiced at second.  Maybe just a touch,” said Forste. “Tonight, I simply I put her out there…knowing that her instincts…she may be behind one quick step but before you know it, she’ll start making plays.  Which as you see, that’s the twins. 

“You put them there for three games, they’ll be one of the best second basemen’s around.  And that’s just their athletic instincts and I think that’s what makes them so special and because they work so hard.”

Work ethic is front in center for the two.  Two months ago, pointed Forste, during the peak of Hops season where their family owns a Hop Farm, they’d work from sunrise-to-sundown with practices and games in between


Gracie Koch in the on-deck circle during Thursday’s game against the Tigers Rage at North Marion High School (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“We’ll be out here until 11/11:30 sometimes and they’re back home and jumping up at five o’clock in the morning to work on the family farm,” “That’s seven days a week from late-July through early-September.  Didn’t miss a practice…it’s amazing.  Once we get them into a format where we have them for five days a week at St. Paul, look out.”

Three years ago, the twins played with Anarchy in Molalla with Robert Shaffer, co-Head Coach with Forste currently with the Magic.  Playing two years there before playing competitively this Fall down the NM Magic squad that calls North Marion High School down the road from St. Paul home.

Thursday evening the twins starting in the outfield against the Tigers Rage squad from the Yamhill-Carlton-area for the second time in three weeks.  Stella in Center field and Gracie in Right Field, sharing the outfield for the first three innings before Gracie moved to the infield midway for a bit before returning to right in the seventh inning.

“It was eye-opening because in High School I think I’ll be working infield more than I am now.  Just to get (the) instincts and know what I’m doing in the infield, it’s good to practice now before,” said Gracie Koch, who drew a walk and stole two bases in three at-bats Thursday.

Stella played all seven innings in the outfield, all in Center, and was challenged early on with softball’s coming her way here-and-there.  A good experience nonetheless for the tall-and-lankier twin with a few games left in the Fall Ball season.

Stella Koch (10), Gracie Koch (3) and North Salem’s Brianna McClaskey (13) taking to the outfield at the start of Thursday’s game versus the Tigers Rage 16U (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“It’s really good.  Really good judging it, I need to get better at that, but it’s good for me to get those hits out there and work on that too,” said Stella Koch.

Koch made the first out of the seventh inning.  A fly-ball at about the mid-way point of Center field in the Rage’s 11-5 victory over the Magic at North Marion High School as their defense held the hot bats of their YC-counterparts to no runs in the inning.

Both laying the foundations for hopefully when the season kicks off in May to build from and going through those growing pains as they work through building that foundation.

“Just working on mechanics will help a lot,” said Gracie Koch.

“And building in the next two-and-a-half weeks.  We’ll get better and it’s really going to help us,” adds Stella Koch.

Gracie Koch looking on from her right field position during the game as the NM Magic 16U have two weeks left in their Fall Ball season (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Though this past Spring had put a damper on the momentum the program had built in 2019, going 18-10 and finishing third in the 2A/1A Special District 1 conference and had reached the opening round of the postseason that year. THIS AD

With expectations high coming off a historic year, the two know the squad will have their hands full with a young team around them for the 2020-2021 season.  But are ready to tackle those expectations with their squad back in St. Paul.

“A lot of expectations and I think we’ll meet those, maybe in a few years from now but I think this year will be a little bit of a building year,” starts Stella Koch.

“Because it’s a young team, we have one returning Senior and one Senior that’s coming back that hasn’t played in a couple of years,” picks up Gracie Koch.  “So, it’s a young team, but we’ve played with them forever.  It’s a good group of girls.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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