Power hitter Coral Kocsis taking her game to Tiffin

J. Patrick Eaken

There is good news for one Gibsonburg senior — Coral Kocsis will be playing softball at NCAA Division II Tiffin University.
Her junior year, Kocsis hit eight home runs to go with a .507 batting average (36 for 71), six doubles, 33 RBIs, 21 runs, a .560 OBP and out of this world .930 slugging percentage.
“Our hitting has been consistent as it has over the last several years. Here again, I don’t take that for granted,” Gibsonburg coach Martin Brown said. “We are blessed to be able to hit the ball the way we do.
“We have had a tie with our record — (two years ago) Jasmine McNett set it with eight home runs. Coral has tied it (last) year, as a junior. Coral does real well at the plate. But, we have always instilled the long ball swing here. That doesn’t mean we can’t go to the small ball if needed, but we like to swing the bat. (Small ball) may come into play, and when we need to play it, we’ll play it.”
Kocsis thanks Brown for helping her develop her hitting skills. It took technology and a lot of practice, she says.
“For me it was just the reps of hitting. I focus more on my skills and what I already have and then fine tuning it. So, more reps and then hitting off a machine all season is the best way to do work. And then, he (Brown) would also do videos, so you could see this is what you are doing, so then he could help me to figure out what I was doing wrong, or stuff like that,” Kocsis said.
“It would also be for younger girls or my teammates, it would be, ‘So this girl has a good swing, but what else could she do to make it better.’ Or, ‘OK, this is what she is doing, and this is what you are doing, can we try and combine them and see what works best?’”
Brown is confident Kocsis will do well at Tiffin.
“She’ll contribute to the team, that’s for sure. She has a real strong bat, so anytime she gets on the field she’ll be an asset,” Brown said. “She was one of our home run hitters. She was anywhere in three-, four- or five-hole. Of course, we expected a lot from her this year that never happened, but you can’t help that.”
Kocsis agrees with Brown that this could have been the year Gibsonburg reaches the state tournament, but it may have been a little rough early in the season because of the youth.
“This year I think it would have been more of a rebuilding year. We had a freshman pitcher coming up that made varsity and then we had two of our junior pitchers make varsity,” Kocsis said. “So, I think we would have been pretty strong.
“It was just a matter of us being able to gel together by the end of the season. The beginning of the season would have been a little rough because most of us hadn’t played together before but toward the middle or end of the season we probably would have been a very strong team.”
Brown says Kocsis will bring more to the plate at Tiffin than just her hitting skills.
“Through Coral’s career she has always been a positive ball player, a strong leader and always put the team before personal accomplishments,” Brown said. “As good a ballplayer as she is, she is an even better person. We’re going to miss her positive attitude and leadership more than anything.”
Kocsis is currently playing travel softball for Fast Wizards Rush Softball, based out of Holland, Ohio. She says the choice to attend Tiffin University was a couple years in the making.
“I like their small campus and how there is not a ton of students, so everyone gets to know each other like one-on-one. It just feels like home,” Kocsis said. “Their softball was a major factor. I did a college campus visit at the end of my sophomore year, over the summer before my junior year, and I got to meet the assistant coach and I talked to him a little bit, and it just kind of made everything perfect and that is where I had to be.”
She will leave behind four senior classmates who would have been a big part of this season’s success.
“Our senior class has always been really close from the beginning. Most of us started playing together when we were 5 years old,” Kocsis said. “It was just growing up together, we’ve all played softball together since forever, so being able to try and finish our last season together was just so memorable for us. We’re all heartbroken over it.”
At Tiffin, Kocsis will join Maddie Schuessler-Recker, a freshman infielder from Eastwood, where she lettered four years, was the senior varsity captain, a first team All-Northern Buckeye Conference pick three times, and first team all-district three times.
This spring, Tiffin was picked third in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll, but that season was never played either.
Behind coach Jeff Nickerson, the Dragons were coming off a season in which they finished 30-17 overall, 18-8 in GMAC play. It was a strong season overall, as Tiffin finished second in the GMAC in ERA with a 3.03 mark and 5th in batting (.304). They also led the conference in walks with 125 and were 2nd in on-base percentage (.372). Their 217 strikeouts as a pitching staff were also third overall.


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