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From media man to mound duty PDF Print E-mail
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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 19:23

Once an intern for Lakeshore Chinooks, Port grad gets a chance to play in their summer college league 

Aiden Wojciehowski just got out of work at an equipment company in Brown Deer and told his father he quit his internship this summer.
Ward Wojciehowski was shocked. Then his son broke bigger news.
“You’re looking at the newest member of the Lakeshore Chinooks,” Aiden said.
It was a dream come true for Aiden, and his father was on the same high.
“My dad was so excited. You could tell he was proud. It was an experience I’ve never had, bringing my dad to tears because he’s so excited for me. He’s my biggest fan,” Aiden said.
The 2014 Port Washington High grad and incoming senior at Loras College in Iowa has been a fan of the Chinooks, a Mequon-based summer college team, since they began playing in the Northwoods League several years ago.
Majoring in media studies and business and minoring in public relations, Aiden landed an internship with the Chinooks in 2015. He led the six-man crew working the webcast of each home game, choosing which camera angle to use.
“That was a lot of fun. It was a good learning experience. They try to operate as close to a major league level as they can,” Aiden said.
Returning to the Chinooks as a player was still a long shot, with a story that dates back to high school. Aiden starred in football for the Pirates, earning all-conference honors as a quarterback, linebacker and tight end.
One day before his first baseball game as a junior, he broke his wrist while weightlifting. He missed all but six games that season.
College coaches didn’t recruit someone who didn’t play. Aiden returned to come out of the bullpen his senior year but didn’t stand out enough to get baseball offers.
Loras, a Division III school, was interested in his football skill, however, and turned Aiden into a fullback, the battering ram clearing the hole for rushers. That grew old.
“I had fun doing it, but I thought, ‘I can’t do this for three more years,’” he said.
Aiden contacted Loras’ baseball coach and asked for a tryout. It turns out Aiden, a left-handed pitcher, was just his type.
“That’s a golden ticket for a college baseball coach. Everyone needs lefties,” he said.
Aiden logged more than 20 innings out of the bullpen for Loras last year, and he looks forward to a bigger role as a senior.
But that dream of playing for the Chinooks still hung on. After pitching a hitless five-innings against Iowa last year — “just a career day for me” — Aiden contacted the Chinooks, hoping they’d remember him from his internship.
The team usually only looks for Division I and II college players and suggested Aiden join the Sheboygan A’s in the Wisconsin State Baseball League.
The Chinooks’ hitting coach knew a member of the A’s, and pretty soon he asked about Aiden. An email later arrived, offering Aiden a spot on the Chinooks.
“I was on cloud nine,” Aiden said.
He was excited to tell one of his old teammates from high school, Brett Kirmse, who attends Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon and hasn’t yet been able to see Aiden pitch. Aiden said he was coming to the next Chinooks game.
“‘Where are you sitting?’” Kirmse asked.
“The dugout,” Aiden replied.
The experience for the unique lefty with two deliveries — one over the top and one sidearm — has been everything it was cracked up to be. Aiden loves picking up techniques from Division I college players.
But the real highlight is interacting with fans just like himself.
“My favorite part is signing autographs and taking pictures after the game,” Aiden said. “I remember looking up to the players. They were pros to me. I know how the little kids feel. Just to ham it up with them and sign autographs is really cool.”
For his father, who coached his son from fifth through eighth grade and is active in Port youth baseball and softball programs, it’s just as much a dream come true.
Ward once bumped into other people involved in Port Youth Baseball at a Chinooks game. They asked why he was there.
“Check out the bullpen,” he said.
“It’s all surreal that he’s down there playing. It’s his major leagues, if you will.”

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