116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — You go. I go.
In this case, it was more like ’You stay. I stay.’ to Jacob Henry. The phrase was all he needed to hear from his Coe College baseball teammates to return for one more run.
“We’ve built some great friendships and relationships,” Henry said. “It was just us coming together and wanting to be a part of a championship culture and being a part of Coe baseball for one more season.”
In his fifth season, Henry remains a stalwart third baseman who has helped lead the 14th-ranked Kohawks to the American Rivers Conference regular-season title and the top seed of the conference tournament. Coe will host one of two pods at Mount Mercy’s Plaster Athletic Complex.
Coe (32-5, 28-4 ARC) opens against Central (14-25, 10-22) at 2 p.m. Thursday. The postseason brings excitement, but it also serves as the reminder of the final stretch in the program.
“It’s definitely something that is in the back of my mind but at the end of the day I just want to go out there and control what I can control and be there for my teammates,” Henry said. “That way we can go as far along in the tournament as possible.
“We just have to take it one game, one pitch at a time. One of these days soon it is all going to end. We’re hoping to keep playing with each other as long as possible and make it as far as possible. That starts with Central on Thursday.”
Coe Coach Steve Cook said he was comforted to learn Henry decided on an additional season. Henry has the intangibles to set him apart from others. He is mature, unselfish and poised.
“He puts everything out there,” Cook said. “You talk about a kid who is selfless and does everything to win a ballgame the right way.”
Henry’s demeanor and approach led Cook to turn the Cedar Rapids Kennedy middle infielder to a third baseman. Cook said Henry would play any position asked without hesitation, helping the team succeed.
The best fit remains the hot corner.
“He’s recognized he doesn’t have to play perfect. He knows he’s the right guy,” Cook said. “He’ll do all the dirty work. He has no problem doing it.”
Henry, and others, wanted a happier ending than a year ago. Coe didn’t have a proper chance to follow its extraordinary 2019 campaign that included 37 wins and a trip to the NCAA super regionals.
This year’s success has proven they made the right decision.
“Having last year taken away because of COVID-19 was tough for us,” Henry said. “Being able to come back and play baseball with all the guys again and be a part of something special again was something we were hoping for. It’s been what we’ve hoped for, so far.”
Henry is just one of four Kohawks to start all 37 games this season. He has started every game the last two years and has been in the lineup each season.
The former all-Mississippi Valley Conference pick for Kennedy has 10 doubles, which is tied for third on the team, and his 50 defensive assists is also third. Henry’s 34 hits and 22 runs rank among team leaders, hitting from second to fifth in the batting order.
“His motivator isn’t whether he leads the team in anything,” Cook said. “He’s not caught up in stats. He just gives everything to help the team get a win.”
Henry selected Coe over other ARC programs. He was sold by Cook’s competitive spirit, realizing the program’s championship potential. He made up his mind after his first trip to campus and conversation with Cook.
The atmosphere attracted him and brought him back for more.
“Since the moment I got here I’ve been surrounded by great teammates and coaches,” Henry said. “Coe baseball has changed my life in numerous ways. I wouldn’t trade any moments at Coe for anything really. I’d say I picked the right school and I have no regrets.”