Pagel is new Hastings baseball coach
When Taylor Pagel was passing through middle school in Cannon Falls, he had a seventh-grade math teacher who made a real impression on him.
That teacher's name is Bucky Lindow, and that certainly wasn't the last time Pagel learned from Lindow.
Two years later, when Pagel made the varsity baseball team at Cannon Falls High School, he began learning from Lindow again. This time, Lindow was his coach.
"He's the main reason why I enjoy baseball so much," Pagel said. "He really helped me to understand why you play the game, and why it's such a good game. He's still there for me. Still, I call him up and he's there to answer the phone and he answers any questions I may have. He's a great guy and he's a great man of baseball. He knows the game very well."
Pagel, you could say, has taken a very similar approach to his career and Lindow.
Pagel teaches middle school math, for starters.
And, he was recently named the new varsity baseball coach at Hastings High School.
Pagel replaces Paul Hartmann, who resigned to pursue a position in Red Wing.
He said he has pursued coaching as a way to pass baseball along to another generation.
"It all started with being able to just pass the game on to the kids and the passion and love for baseball," he said. "Now, as head coach, it's about being able to mold these kids into being young men - getting them to respect and love the game of baseball, but also to understand there is more to life than just baseball. It's about being a hard worker, showing up on time and time management. All those kinds of things that go into life."
Coaching here this year will certainly come with some challenges - this year's team, for example, has 15 seniors on the roster. That's great for this year, but the cupboard of experience will be empty next year. In addition, Pagel has seen the number of Hastings youths out for baseball diminish.
"Our numbers are down after this year, all the way down through the middle school," he said. "There's just not as many kids signing up for baseball. I think one major thing is lacrosse coming to town. That has hurt our numbers big time. We just need to keep kids out for baseball and keep them interested. That's my main battle."
This year, though, that concern isn't as pressing, what with those 15 seniors.
"This year we have the numbers," Pagel said. "We have the talent. They have the right attitude, and they're excited. They respect the game. They respect the coaches. They respect each other.
"I think we have a good year ahead of us, as long as we can get outside. We need that snow to melt."
Last season Hastings struggled to get wins, finishing 3-17 on the season. Pagel expects that the Raiders will fare much better than that this season.
"The guys have a good attitude, and they believe that if they continue working hard, it's going to bring them a lot more wins this year," he said. "This is the kind of group you want every single year. With that kind of attitude, I think we'll have more wins than losses this year."
That said, Pagel knows that winning is a byproduct of everything else.
"Winning will happen when you are working together - when you become a team," he said. "Each kid needs to take their own job into their hands and do it. A lot of small things added together will add up to one big thing, and that's a win."
Pagel is a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher at Hastings Middle School. He is in his sixth year at HMS.
Pagel grew up in Cannon Falls and graduated in 2001. He was an all-state outfielder for Cannon Falls High School and attended Augsburg College, where he was a regular on the men's baseball team.
He earned All-MIAC honorable mention honors in his senior year. He played in the outfield, played first base and caught for the Auggies.
He plays catcher for the amateur team from Cannon Falls, the Bears.
Pagel has been the assistant varsity coach in Hastings for three years. He was the ninth-grade coach for two years and coached the B squad in Cannon Falls for one year.