Baseball

Amateur Baseball: Living the Family Dream

Amateur Baseball: Living the Family Dream

Ron Fuchs has always loved baseball. Growing up, he was always either on the field or daydreaming about it.

After he and his wife, Michelle, had Grant, now 23, the dream became coaching his son in baseball. After Grant came Grady, 20, and Grayson, 17, and Ron’s dream became coaching all three of them on the same team at the same time.

In the summer of 2021, Ron not only lived his dream, but made history in doing so.

The Pirates, with the three Fuchs brothers and their manager dad in the dugout, take on the Austin Greyhounds in the first round of the amateur baseball state tournament at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday in Waconia.

On a sunny and hot August afternoon, the athletes on the Paynesville Pirates prepared for their first amateur baseball state tournament appearance in the franchise’s 28-year history.

In the dugout were teammates and brothers Grant, Grady and Grayson Fuchs. On the field was manager Ron Fuchs.

“My wife, Michelle, and I have talked about how fortunate we are that not only do they love the game of baseball but they get along so well,” Ron said. “And the fact that I get to coach them. And when I see three Fuchs boys in the lineup, it makes me very proud.”

While the Fuchs trio may not always be in the active lineup together, when they do, it’s a sight to see for the Fuchs’ father and coach.

“When all three of them are in there and one-third of the lineup is Fuchs, I just stand out there coaching third base, and I’d say my chest is stuck out there a little farther than it usually would,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of all three of them.”

While the 2021 season may be the first time the trio has played together, this is not the first time any of them has been coached by their father. In fact, Ron has coached all three of his boys in baseball since all three of them said they could remember.

Ron described what it’s been like to finally have the opportunity to coach all three on one team.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “For all of the years when they’ve all been growing up and playing travel leagues, you’re running from the 14U to the 12U to the 9U and you’re running all over the place. You do it because you love the game of baseball and you love your children.”

I don’t regret any of that,” Ron added. “But having an opportunity to have all three of them on one team. I mean, you can’t make that up. It really is a dream come true and I would never wish for anything better than that.”

For parents who coach their children, the task may be fun, but can be stressful and somewhat complicated, having to balance being a parent and a coach.

Ron described what it’s like coaching three children on one team.

“It’s not easy. Because you got other guys here battling for spots and I just think that I’ve been around baseball long enough that I’ve seen everything. And I don’t really think I let things get to me too personal,” Ron said.

“If it deals with my own kids and I have to bench them, I think that they understand what’s best for the team and they’re not going to hold it personally against me as their dad. They look at the big picture and our goal for the whole year was to finally make it to the state tournament.”

However, just like any athlete, Ron says he can tell when one of his sons wants to play, but is not on the lineup.

“There’s times where you might get a look from one of them and they’re kind of letting you know what they’re thinking,” he said. “You just kind of nod and ‘I’ll talk to you later about it and explain it.’ But we’re all competitive and we all want to win, so it’s been a juggling act to say the least.”

Being the oldest of the three, and always being the one looking out for his two younger brothers, Grant Fuchs, who came into this amateur season having graduated from St. John’s University, described what this season has meant to him to finally share the field with his siblings.

“It’s been like a wholesome experience,” Grant said. “Now I get to play with them and kind of experience how they play the game instead of watching from the stands. It’s pretty surreal to be able to experience the state run with them, as they have had that in the past.”

Grant explained why he believes the trio have played so well together despite this being the Fuchs family’s first year ever playing amateur baseball together.

“I think that we just understand the game the same way. We know what’s on the line,” he said. “We pretty much have each other’s backs. We know that we just got to go out there and do our best to win the game. And being able to help them out (in adapting to amateur baseball) has been so tremendous in our team’s success … Baseball is a part of life for us. It’s a part of our family tradition. We’re out here every summer playing baseball together.”

Grady, the Pirates’ right-handed ace pitcher, and who recently finished his freshman season as a pitcher at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, gave insight to how it helps him knowing that he shares the field with his two best friends and his favorite coach.

“In every sport you’re family, but it’s a whole different story when it’s your actual family,” Grady said. “Having two brothers on the same team and having my dad as the coach. It’s a really special thing.”

Grady believes this year feels no different than it did growing up with his brothers at the ballpark.

“I always tagged along to Grant’s practices. And so would Grayson, he would tag along to mine.

We grew up playing baseball together so it just feels right playing on the same amateur baseball team,” he said.

Grayson came into his first amateur baseball season after being named second team All-Area by the West Central Tribune after his sophomore year this spring in high school baseball.

Ron said he hoped to see the youngest Fuchs finish the amateur season batting .250. Instead, Grayson is heading into the state tournament batting .450.

What makes him so comfortable at the amateur level is his family.

“My whole life I’ve been watching them play baseball and it just feels great to actually be able to play with them on the field and not watching them from the stands and everything,” Grayson said.

“It gives me a lot more confidence in baseball. I know that if I screw up, they’ll all have my back. It just gives me confidence every time I play.”

Grayson said the key is to enjoy the moment and not think about it.

“You got to appreciate every moment because obviously you won’t be able to play with them all the time and they might not always be around,” he said. “You just got to keep the grind up and everything like that.”

With the team preparing for state, each Fuchs acknowledged the entire team is part of their family.

“My favorite part of this season has just been being with the boys,” Grayson said. “Playing for and with each other every single moment of the game, you want to do the best you can because you don’t want to let your teammates down. And, in my case, (letting) actual family down.”

Grady added: “It’s a big accomplishment making it to state. Being here for Paynesville as a community. Having a great baseball town finally to have a successful amateur baseball team, to say the least, it’s just huge.”

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