by Marianne Morf
& Michelle Watson
Pride is running deep in Clear Lake baseball.
The community and school district is, of course, proud of its State qualifying Lions. And parents, well, that goes without saying. But Clear Lake’s baseball team has a special groundswell of support. A true brotherhood of the sport.
“Typically your brother is your biggest fan and your biggest critic, so it has made for some very interesting and entertaining situations throughout the years that I have enjoyed watching,” said Clear Lake Head Coach Seth Thompson, in his sixth year at the Lion helm. Six of his varsity players have brothers who either played on last year’s team, or are still involved in the program as a coach.
“It is really fun as a coach for me to see brothers come through our program, and we have been fortunate to see that a lot over the years I have been able to coach here at Clear Lake,” said Thompson. “I am the middle of three boys myself and played ball with both of my brothers, so I fully understand the complexity of a brother-brother relationship and how those dynamics can manifest themselves on the baseball field. It’s hard to understand how you would want to punch someone in the face sometimes that you wouldn’t hesitate to jump on a grenade for, but that is what being a brother is all about.”
Sophomore Devin Uhlenhopp credits his brother, Justin, with sparking his interest in the game.
“I grew up watching him and he was a good player-- I wanted to be like him,” he said. “When I was in third grade and Justin was in eighth, I got to play three innings on his traveling team because they were short a player. That is a memory I will never forget.”
Justin, who graduated from CLHS in 2008, went on to play ball one year at Waldorf College, then transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and earned a degree in education, started as a freshman coach for Clear Lake five years ago and is now an assistant coach for the varsity.
“I have had a blast coaching Devin,” said Justin. “I’m not sure the feeling is mutual because I can be hard on him. But I’d say the game has brought us even closer together as brothers. I’ve enjoyed this time so much and I’ve enjoyed seeing him grow up.”
Parker Truesdell also had the thrill of being asked to play with this older brother’s traveling team when they were short a player. It’s a memory with his brother, Tanner, he holds close.
“We were separated by age enough that we didn’t get to play on teams together at CLHS, except for last year when I played in a Mason City tournament game when Tanner was a senior. But today, we play whiffle ball and pick