After a disappointing first-round elimination in the OUA playoffs, star shortstop Noah Koffman and the Brock Badgers look to turn things around and keep their winning culture intact.
Koffman, a Richmond-Hill native, has played elite baseball since he was 14 years-old. His high school days were spent at Bill Crothers Secondary School while playing ball for the Ontario Prospects and the Toronto Mets. Since joining Brock University three years ago, he’s had a terrific experience both on and off the baseball diamond.
When Koffman went through the process to decide which school to attend, the University located in St. Catharines, Ontario stood out above the rest. “Brock was the best choice for me because it was the perfect combination of enabling myself to progress my skills in my baseball career as well as professional development. Brock’s baseball program is notoriously known in Canada, and I knew that being a part of that team would be an enriching experience. The Goodman School of Business was another appealing feature as it seemed like an excellent opportunity to advance my professional career and expand my portfolio for a future in business.”
The school’s baseball team is led by head coach Marc LePage along with assistant coaches Jono Marchterre, Dave Davidson and Shawn McCart. Since LePage took over head coach duties two years ago, he’s implemented an all year round training program. Creating a culture of determination and accountability for the Canadian ballplayers. This system is something Koffman really enjoys as he’s a kid who can’t get enough of playing hardball.
The four-time OUA Champions play games at the historic George Taylor Field, once the home of the St. Catharines Blue Jays; a Toronto farm club. Koffman plays every home game surrounding the same dirt Jeff Kent covered many years ago, at the position of shortstop. Playing shortstop is a privilege that comes with a lot of authority and recognition, a spot Koffman takes pride in playing. “Shortstop has a lot of great opportunities and responsibilities. Playing the position means having the responsibility of being a leader who is outgoing, positive and encouraging for the rest of the team. Not only do great shortstops need to be reliable infielders, but they also need to demonstrate above average offensive statistics in play. These are the qualities that I wish to portray and possess in my position as a shortstop.”
The 22-year-old is a sweet-swinging left-handed hitter, who profiles more as a contact hitter. He does have the ability to drive the ball to the pull side, but a typical Koffman hit is a hard ground ball through the 4-3 hole. He’s a hitting machine who batted an even .400 last season at Brock, the highest mark on the squad. The number that stands out when thinking of Koffman is the number two. He struck of two times last year, a team low for qualified hitters. He wears number two, because of his idol Derek Jeter. And he usually finds himself hitting in the two-spot, a typical spot for a LH hitter with his skill set.
So far in his career, he’s experienced many special moments and won a fair share of awards. But his most memorable seasons have come most recently. This past year, his summer team the Leaside Leafs made it to the GTBL finals but lost to the Pickering Red Sox. Although it was a disappointing ending for the club that plays at Talbot Park, it was quite the accomplishment to make the finals. Noah won the GTBL Rookie of the Year award and was named a first-team All-Star. The year before Koffman won the Andrew Tinnish Award at Brock, given out to the team’s Most Valuable Player. He also was named a second-team all-star in the OUA program.
For the 22-year-old, both of those years were disappointments at the end of the day; “Ultimately both teams came up short in the only success that is important as a team athlete, and that is winning a championship. However, despite the team’s losses, I am confident that these teams will use these defeats as a learning experience to come back even better and stronger in the up and coming season.”
The Badgers are losing prominent players in Justin Gideon, Blake Stepien, Nick Spillman, Tyler Nakamura and Jake Near for the upcoming season. These five individuals will have completed the four-year program by the end of this semester. These holes will be tough to fill, but the goal and expectation are still the same for Koffman; to win a ring. “The main goal, going into my last year is to win an OUA ring and bring a baseball championship back to Brock University.”
The best ability is availability, a line Koffman takes pride in saying. Going into the 2018 season, nothing has changed for him; “I always aspire to stay healthy and play a full season, as well as be the best teammate I can be for the other 24 guys in the clubhouse.” Don’t expect the Badgers shortstop to slow down now, as he looks to end his University baseball career at the bottom of a dog-pile on the last day of the season.