NEW LONDON — New London-Spicer junior Peyton Coahran is known for being one of the top golfers within the region and has a strong love and passion for the game. However, some may not know he does more than just aim for the green, but also aims for the strike zone.
Coahran placed as the medalist in Monday’s Wright County Conference meet at Southbrook Golf Course in Annandale with a score of 78. Three days prior, Coahran pitched for the Wildcats’ varsity baseball team against Paynesville on Friday, May 7.
For Coahran, who also plays football in the fall and basketball in the winter, the inspiration to be a multisport athlete revolves around constantly being active.
“I just love playing sports,” he said. “It can be tough, there’s a lot of things going on but it’s fun. I love doing stuff. I’d rather be playing sports than being at home playing video games and stuff like that that other kids are doing.”
While sports brings joy to the Wildcat, the arrival of spring sports will always hold a different type of excitement for Coahran with his top two sports being played at the same time: golf and baseball.
“Golf is such a mental game, you’re always going to have some bad breaks. You just gotta fight through it and forget about the bad shots and move on and that’s what I love about golf,” he said. “Baseball, just pitching and the competitiveness of it. It’s 1-on-1 versus the batter, controlling the game and really setting the tone for the game is what I love about it.”
To answer the question of where did this love for both baseball and golf come from, one must look back at when the now 17-year-old was just a young adolescent learning the beauty of spring sports.
A growing love
Coahran was introduced to both golf and baseball by his father and was often seen on the diamond swinging a bat or on the green swinging a golf club. Back then, his love came more on the baseball field than it did on the green.
“I was really into baseball; it was my favorite sport,” he said. “I was golfing with my dad when I was younger; we just usually did it for fun and then I would just play baseball for school,”
As love for the game continued to grow, so did his athletic abilities which then brought in club baseball and the ability to play baseball teams across the country.
“We went to places like Arizona and Nevada and places like that for baseball,” he said.
When entering his freshman year of high school, Coahran, unable to really decide which sport he wanted to play in the spring season, decided that he would play both.
“I realized that after high school I probably won’t have the opportunity to play competitive again,” he said. “I had the opportunity to play in high school and play now so I decided to take that opportunity and do it.”
The goal of playing two sports in the same spring season was sure to be a challenging adjustment, but Coahran knew which sport was going to be put above the other if it needed to be.
“I focused more on baseball that year instead of golf,” he said.
As the spring season went on, Coahran slowly began to find that his true love relied more on the mental game of golf than it did in the competitiveness on the field.
In both his eighth and ninth grade seasons, Coahran was named All-Wright County Conference in golf.
“I really started getting into golf and started getting good at it and just took off from there. Now it’s my No. 1 sport,” he said.
Two years later, after having lost his sophomore season due to the pandemic, Coahran is playing his second season as a baseball and golf multi-sport athlete. Golf is now the priority sport, and this is the first season that Coahran has played varsity baseball as a pitcher.
“It is definitely a lot tougher now,” Coahran said in terms of pitching varsity. “The kids are really good. It’s really competitive, there’s a lot of great players out there and sometimes it doesn’t always go my way but when it does it’s really fun and I love it.”
Ask most athletes and they would say being a student athlete can be a difficult task. But that would typically be for playing just one sport, let alone two.
For Coahran, the task can be challenging, but both Jeff Boonstra, the head coach of NLS boys golf, and Kyle Lieser, the head coach of NLS baseball, credited the junior on his communicational skills and his stellar time-management abilities.
“He has to budget his time very well,” Boonstra said. “Obviously, he puts a lot more into practicing golf and only throws for the baseball team, but he does a great job of budgeting his time. He’s very fun to coach. He’s very coachable.”
Leiser followed by praising his pitcher for his commitment to the baseball team.
“With being a two-sport athlete in the spring and four-sport athlete all the way around, he’s pretty responsible and he knows what he wants to do,” he said. “He kind of communicates with us ahead of the week just as far as what time or what day he is available to where golf and baseball don’t overlap … He’ll send messages ahead of time just kind of reaching out asking what we’d like from him and that part makes it super easy for us coaches.”
Coahran, who plays football and basketball, also is known for being a leader in the classroom just as he is on the golf course or on the mound.
“I’m a good student; I make sure I have good grades and keep up with all of that stuff,” he said.
On what a typical week looks like in the life of Coahran, it depends on what the schedule consists of for golf and baseball. However, one thing stays the same, with communication being the main priority.
“Before the week I’ll usually have a conversation with my coach on the days that I have open and I just plan off of that,” he said. “We just talk about it before the week and then on the days that I can pitch I just go and pitch I guess.”
Prior to school being in session, Coahran is often seen going to school early to pitch with the varsity baseball coaches to keep his arm in good shape. After the throwing session, Coahran will then attend classes and after school will either go to golf practice and then attend the baseball game in which he will pitch. If no baseball game is scheduled, he is not scheduled to pitch, or there is a golf meet, Coahran will make the day primarily about golfing and will be on the golf course practicing or with the Wildcats’ golf team at an invitational.
Coahran gave credit to both of his coaches and his family for helping him be successful amidst the heavy workload.
“My coaches are awesome; they’re really flexible. If I have to go and miss a practice that’s OK with my golf coach. If I have to go to a golf meet and miss baseball then it’s OK with my baseball coach,” he said. “I’m just surrounded by really good people. My parents are awesome and they support me through everything.”
In golf, Boonstra loves what he is seeing out of his elite golfer.
“He’s very consistent, he doesn’t go up and down. He’s usually always anywhere between a 36 and a 39. You kind of know what you’re going to get when it comes to (Peyton,)” he said.
Coahran hopes to continue his golf career in college, something that already seems highly likely based on his performances on the green.
“We’re starting to get some inquiries about him but hopefully he has a good solid late spring,” Boonstra said.
On the rubber, Leiser credited Coahran’s hard work.
“Just one of those kids that is well liked by his peers and he’s always willing to put in that extra work,” Lieser said. “He's a really great guy overall, isn’t super arrogant for how talented of an athlete he is. It’s really quite impressive.”
“His starts have looked really really good and he’s a strike thrower,” Lieser added. “He has a lot of velocity on his fast ball and then he has a very good breaking pitch. But the main thing is that you can tell he played a lot of baseball growing up. He’s just kind of a student of the game and knows the situation of the game.”
With the spring season coming down to its final weeks, Coahran has developed a knack for the heavy workload. When it came to giving advice, the junior really focused on his two essentials, dedication and education.
“Work hard and definitely have good grades, if you don’t have good grades there is no way that you can get through it,” he said. “Really, to be successful, that’s what it comes down to. You just really need to have good grades and just really work hard.”
The boys golf team is scheduled to compete again in the boys varsity invitational against Dassel-Cokato at the Oakdale Golf Club on Monday, May 17.
The Wildcats’ baseball team is slated to play in a double-header at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead on Tuesday, May 18.