The baseball team is heading to regionals May 18 with the majority of the Northwest Conference all-league team. Leading the team are head baseball coach Scott Brosius, coach of the year, and senior catcher Cole Bixenman, player of the year.
Not only did Linfield earn two top awards, but the team won 14 awards in the NWC selection. Bixenman also won first team all-league, along with junior shortstop Kevin Allan, freshmen Clayton Truex and Tim Wilson; and pitchers junior Ryan Larson and seniors Robert Vaughn and Evan Hilberg.
“I think it was just a combination of being in the right place at the right time and being a senior. I have been around the league for a few years now and just having that experience under my belt I think really helped me out this year,” Bixenman said. “I could have never accomplished any of it if it weren’t for my teammates surrounding me. Baseball is a team game and I have great teammates.”
Bixenman has played baseball all four of his years at Linfield, starting his freshman year on the junior varsity team.
“I feel I have grown a lot as a person first, in my time at Linfield. Going to college to play sports is exciting because you have to start back at the bottom of the totem pole and work your way back up again. It’s been fun to go through that growth to being a senior now,” Bixenman said. “I definitely think being a senior now I have been much more comfortable and relaxed. Just being completely comfortable and at ease with your surroundings and teammates makes a big difference.”
Not only was Bixenman a baseball player for the Wildcats, but he played quarterback as well. He also balances school as a finance major with an outstanding 3.78 GPA. According to Linfield’s athletic website, Bixenman was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District DIII Baseball Team for academic honors. He was named part of the team, along with junior infielder Kevin Allan.
Bixenman is one of two players who has started all 40 games this season. He also is tied for Linfield’s home run career mark with 32 runs. He has proven himself as a leader on the team.
Senior Gunnar Cederberg agreed that Bixenman is a leader.
“He leads by example and gets the job done during our games,” Cederberg said. “I think he has grown in the understanding of how the other team is going to get him out, and he has worked hard at turning that knowledge into productive at bats, which has led to his success.”
After graduation, Bixenman has an internship at R.V. Kuhns, an investment consulting firm in Portland, Ore., working as an analyst in the Investment Manager Research division.
As for playing baseball, Bixenman’s Linfield career is quickly approaching an end as the team heads to Texas next week, and possibly to Wisconsin the following week.
“I would love to continue playing baseball. Who wouldn’t want to play a game and get paid for it,” Bixenman said. “We will see where it might take me. For now we have a few big goals to accomplish as a team first though.”
Corrina Crocker/Sports editor
Corrina Crocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.