March 6, 2014
GALESBURG—To say it’s been a whirlwind week or so for Jake Tenhouse would be putting it lightly.
Nine days after being hired and meeting his team for the first time, the new Carl Sandburg College baseball coach will lead the Chargers in their first game this weekend during their Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Sandburg will play five games in five days, beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday against Morris (N.J.).
“You always know your first time as a head coach is going to be crazy, but this is obviously at a very different level,” Tenhouse said. “I’ve been fortunate that my assistant coach, Chad Scott, has an idea of where he sees things so that gives me a starting point.”
A graduate of Camp Point Central High School, Tenhouse comes to Sandburg after nearly a decade of successful stints as an assistant at the college level. He spent last season with Quincy University, where he also was a three-year letter-winner as a catcher during his playing career. Tenhouse also made stops at Harding University, Saint Joseph’s College, Florissant Valley Community College and Lindenwood University before joining the Chargers.
“I don’t want to come in and try to reinvent the wheel,” Tenhouse said. “It’s going to be about the players. They didn’t start intercollegiate athletics so old, washed-up players have something to do. It’s about them.”
Sandburg finished last season 25-25 overall and 11-9 in the Arrowhead Conference, but the Chargers won nine of their last 10 games in the regular season, including their final six conference contests.
One reason for that late surge was solid pitching down the stretch from current sophomores Brendan Butrimas (Mississauga, Ont./Philip Pocock), Jon Kupfert (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) and Jeff Trokey (Troy, Mo./Buchanan). Butrimas was named to the All-Arrowhead Conference team after posting a 4-0 record and team-best 2.76 ERA last spring. He also went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA over 25 innings in five conference appearances.
“Those arms give us a chance,” Tenhouse said. “We’ve got pretty good sophomore leadership, from what I’ve seen so far. I’ve been impressed that they’ve taken a lot of ownership.”
With little time to prepare on the field because of his late hiring and this year’s harsh weather, Tenhouse said he expects to have a better idea after their trip of where the Chargers stand, but he expects them to be clicking when conference play begins March 29.
“That’ll be the thought every year, but certainly this year it’s even more so,” Tenhouse said. “Our goal is to win a conference championship. The sophomores came here to win a conference championship. That’s my goal, and I’m not just saying that. It’s not an unrealistic goal for this team.”