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2nd year St. Joseph baseball HC Smolinski coaches for success on and off the field
Courtesy: Lindsay Conner

2nd year St. Joseph baseball HC Smolinski coaches for success on and off the field

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Saint Joseph High School’s Head Baseball Coach John Smolinski will enter his second year in the lead role for the Varsity team this season. Once a Saint Joe baseball player himself, Smolinski graduated from Manchester College in 2011 (where he also played baseball), and then was Assistant Varsity Coach back at his high school alma mater from 2012 to 2020.

Setting the team up for success, Smolinski emphasizes both team goals and individual goals. “This gives us a long-term vision and motivation to accomplish them,” he says. “Our practices are very competitive—we want to make them as game-like as possible.” The team’s most memorable win was beating Jasper to take the 3A State Championship in 2017. “We have won four consecutive sectional championships, with our most recent being last season.”

Courtesy: Lindsay Conner

No matter if the team gets a win or a loss, Saint Joe’s coaches urge players to follow a “midnight rule.” This means they can enjoy or mourn the results for that night, and then move on and focus on the next game. “Losing is never easy, but we believe in looking at the positives,” he says. “We try not to get discouraged when a game doesn’t go our way. We learn a lot from loses—what we need to improve on, how we can practice harder, and how we will grow to beat our opponent next time.”

Having been a part of many great teams, Smolinski’s run as an assistant coach to a team that won a state championship was very special. “Last season, I was fortunate enough to win a sectional championship in my first year as head coach,” he says. “After not having a baseball season in 2020, that championship was very meaningful to me and the team.”

It’s always fun to win, but Smolinski enjoys seeing players succeed both on and off the field, especially in the classroom. “I want them to leave this program a better person,” he adds. That’s why he continues to make a positive impact on his players, letting them know they are valued as people and not just athletes. “The wins and losses will come, but the relationships will last forever.”

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