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Ex-Jefferson player to coach Goretti vs. Cougars tonight

April 15, 2002|BY DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

Jon Sechler knows he can go home again. Today, he'll find out just what kind of welcome he'll receive.

Sechler, a first-team All-Area selection at Jefferson High School in 1997, returns to Sager Field, but not as a Cougar. He'll stride to home plate and greet former coach John Lowery wearing navy blue and gold as the head coach of St. Maria Goretti Gaels.

"I'd be lying to say I wasn't (ready for this date)," Sechler said. "I circled that date on the calendar because it means so much."

After his three years with Jefferson, Sechler graduated in 1997 and played at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. He got his degree and was named head coach of Gaels earlier this year.

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All this after spending years with the Cougars program and Lowery, who has been a part of Sechler's baseball life right up to now. Sechler has helped at Jefferson's baseball camps for the last four years, and the two were roommates at a coaches camp this past winter.

"It's kinda neat when you stop and think about it," Lowery said. "To see someone work, and that you had a part in getting him to that point.

"It's a feeling of pride to see him in a spot like this. And to see him doing well, that's fun to have people go through your program and are successful in a field they like."

Both men admit that these games will be something special for them, but they've both gotten to where they are because of their winning attitude. That won't change because of a happy homecoming.

"I don't want all their motivation to be me," Sechler said of his team, which is 5-5 heading into tonight's Apple Valley League matchup. "I want it to be them; Jefferson's one of the best year in and out."

"Lots of people circle Jefferson (on the schedule) to see how they stack up ... a win against Jefferson means more than it would against most teams."

The Cougars used to that. For Lowery, though, it's a pleasant case of deja vu.

"He's going to want to win and we're going to want to win," Lowery said. "I can remember the first season at Harpers Ferry, one of the biggest wins was when we beat Charles Town, the school I graduated from. I know what it meant to win that game and I'm sure it would mean a lot for him, too.

"But we want to win it as bad as we want any other game."

Win or lose, Sechler's ready to get started. And for the first time in a long time at Sager Field, fans will hear the name "Jon Sechler" over the loudspeakers.

"I don't know that it'll be weird," Sechler said. "I keep thinking about situations or things, but it'll be neat meeting him at home plate and going over ground rules. That'll be a kick."

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