Sometimes when a team needs a lift, it turns to its bench. In the case of the Mira Costa (Cal.) High baseball team, it just had to look farther down the bench than most … like to the guy filling the water cups.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, an honorable gesture usually intended to be just that – a gesture – became much more when Mira Costa suited up senior manager Spencer Knoche for his first varsity baseball game. With Mira Costa expecting a victory against Lawndale (Cal.) Leuzinger High, Mira Costa coach Cassidy Olson figured it would be a good time to get Knoche his first game action.
What neither Knoche or Olson expected was for the manager to emerge as the game’s star at the plate, with Knoche knocking out two home runs in a 20-1 victory. According to the Times, both of Knoche’s two homers were deep shots easily clearing the left field fence, something he had never even done in practice before suiting up in a game.
If there was any question whether Knoche was as surprised as the rest of the Mira Costa squad about his sudden power surge, that was answered when he approached second base and almost stopped; he didn’t realize his ball had cleared the fence, and intuitively assumed he couldn’t have hit a home run.
He did, and it put a nice cap on a dedicated four year career in which Knoche has been responsible for the freshman-sophomore team, junior varsity and varsity squads.
Yet, the Leuzinger game wasn’t the final matchup of Mira Costa’s season, and Knoche’s stunning success has inspired Olson to see what else his managers might be capable of. As a result, the coach has pledged to dress out both Knoche and the varsity squad’s other manager, Christian Carreathers, for the remainder of the season.
Now that is a legacy; Knoche was so effective, he not only made a name for himself, he made a name and opportunity for all managers.