PORTLAND -- As the OSU Beaver baseball team makes another run at a national title, a hero of the 2006 College World Series team is inspiring young players.
“Sometimes they don’t realize they’re doing the same thing over and over again,” explained Kevin Gunderson. “The goal is to get them to do less thinking and more throwing.”
Gunderson is a Coach and Instructor for Metro Baseball. He’s sharing his pitching skills this summer at clinics in Portland, Clackamas, West Linn and Hood River.
“He learned the game from his uncle who was a major league pitcher and he really connects with the kids and has fun,” remarked Metro Baseball’s Kelly Ireland.
Gunderson says eventually he might like to coach high school or college. Just recently he earned his OSU degree in Sociology.
“I started in 2003 and didn’t finish until this past year, so it was a long road but I took six years off,” he explained.
He spent most of that time chasing big league dreams with Atlanta and Texas. For coaching inspiration, he sometimes thinks of OSU Coach Pat Casey.
“He did a tremendous job of harnessing egos and personalities and making us play as a unit. He does that better than anyone,” said Gunderson.
His newest student is his one year old son Carter.
“He brings his arm all the way back and puts all of his momentum into it,” described the proud Dad.
The talent is not limited to Gunderson. His wife Brynn played softball at Concordia. He said he’s often asked about the title clinching moment on the mound in Omaha and described it like it happened yesterday.
“All of a sudden Mitch was picking me up and then I ended up at the bottom of the dog pile. It was unbelievable. I wish everybody who played the game could have that experience,” he said.