Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Pitching coach enhances Augustana baseball

Pitching coach Justin Hauer meets with Augustana baseball players during practice. The Vikings will play two CCIW opponents this weekend.

The Augustana baseball team has a new pitching coach for the 2016-17 season, Justin Hauer. Originally from the Quad Cities, Hauer is excited to be in his first season here at Augustana.
Hauer coached for two seasons at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois before coming to Augustana this year. It has been a good transition for him from the junior college level to Division III baseball, even though the seasons flow much differently in DIII. He chose to come to Augustana “to continue following [his] dream of being a baseball coach.”
Head coach Greg Wallace has been pleased with Hauer’s performance as the pitching coach so far this year. He also said that the players have had a positive reaction to him coming in.
“I liked what he brought to the table in terms of the pitching staff,” Wallace said. “What made him stand out is the experience that he’s had so far and the energy level that he’s ready to bring in terms of recruiting and other responsibilities involved with the job.”
With these responsibilities, Hauer not only focuses on improving the skills of the pitchers, but also emphasizes on building character and being a leader. He said he wants the players to not only try their best on the field, but also in the classroom. He said the goal as a coach is to have each player be a leader.
“Personally I always try to teach them on mindset,” Hauer said. “I think it’s interesting to see guys improve based on the fall, see how they develop over the winter.”
Senior pitcher Zack Morgenstern who has had three pitching coaches while being at Augustana, the transition to Hauer’s coaching was not a difficult one.
“He wasn’t afraid to still come to me and give me instructions to do things differently,” Morgenstern said.
Senior pitcher Kyle McGinley described Hauer as “a player’s coach.” McGinley also said how it was not difficult adjusting to Hauer’s coaching style.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a number one starter on varsity or bottom of the line on JV, he’ll always put in the time to work with you,” McGinley said. “I think it’s really appreciated because you don’t see that with a lot of coaches these days.”
With twelve pitchers on the staff, Hauer works to focus on each of their individual needs while also trying to improve the staff as a whole. He brought in different throwing and recovery programs for the pitchers as well.
“He’s done a very good job with maintaining the consistency that we’ve had in the past while adding new twists and new improvements that haven’t been there,” Morgenstern said.
One of these new twists that Hauer brought to the team is daily charts for what the pitchers need to improve on individually, which allows for great communication.
Morgenstern confirmed that Hauer is a great communicator.
“His coaching is very straight-forward. If he doesn’t like something, he’ll let you know,” Morgenstern said. “He will never steer you wrong and he will always tell his opinion on things.”
It was easy for Hauer to open up to the team and be comfortable with them. Part of this was due to the two Florida trips the team made at the beginning of the spring season. Hauer said how these trips were a great way to see the boys’ true personalities individually and as a team, especially after spending long days in buses, on the fields, and in hotels rooms.
Hauer is looking forward to the rest of his first season at Augustana, especially with the upcoming conference play. For their next CCIW series, the baseball team will play a two game series against Wheaton College on Saturday.

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Pitching coach enhances Augustana baseball