Saddleback’s Cole ‘bullies’ all the odds

(david bro)

David Bro, JRN 120 Contributor

Mike Cole (4), 20, of Foothill Ranch, is known by his Saddleback Gaucho baseball team mates as the “bully”. Cole hits the ball like a bully, maintaining his batting average in the low 400’s, and is anything but a bully. Collin Rooney (5), Shortstop, and Max Burnett (11), catcher, commented on a few of the team’s nicknames for Cole but stuck with the latest; they thinks it’s the best so far and the furthest from the truth.

“…The “bully”….that’s a joke though…” Burnett says.

“Its impossible not to like the guy…he’s a great team mate and works hard” Rooney says.

“He is really quiet and a role model for the team…that’s why we started calling him the bully…”Burnett says, “…when I’m not sure, I look at Mike Cole and I know what to do…”

Cole played Varsity baseball at Trabuco Hills High School and as well was a wide receiver in football for one season. Head Coach Jack Hodges is glad he stayed with baseball.

“He is serious…he knows he has a job to do and he comes to play…..he is the top hitter in our club and a top hitter in the conference…Cole is well respected by the whole team.” Hodges says.

This is Cole’s second season at Saddleback where he practices with the team on the field 20 hours a week and carries 12 units for his major in History.

Cole’s major was Biology as he wants to be a dentist but the labs are during practice so he switched to history for now until he transfers to UCI and then he’ll change back. Right now he wants to see what happens with baseball, his goal is to go to a Division one school and he’s working hard to accomplish it.He really enjoys the competition and hopes to take it too the next level.

Cole has a history of Hamstring injuries but it hasn’t slowed him down too much; he is Saddleback’s 2007 freshman MVP of the year. He also explains that as he is hearing impaired it can be a challenge to hear everything that’s going on in the game clearly. Coach Summer McCartney, Saddleback’s hitting coach, has known Cole since he was twelve and explained that after changing from playing third base in High School to outfield for the Gauchos, it was initially a tough transition.

“He made the changes and the improvements he needed to be effective in left field…its his work ethic and he listens and makes the adjustments….he makes coaching fun…Mike is very coachable…” Says McCartney.

Its not all baseball all the time, Cole has had a girlfriend for the last 10 months, Shauna, and for a first date they went to an Angel game. They see each other about two or three times a week and then there’s the weekends when they get out to go to the beach.

Cole would eventually like to take over his uncle’s dental practice in Maui but for now baseball comes first.

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