Sports Spotlight on Sports Spotlight: Aaron Janz | VideoScott Westerberg | 7/25/2012
"He stands out cause he`s big, he hits the ball hard. He`s fast. He`s got a good arm," said Mandan Chiefs Head Coach Ryne Jungling.
Whether or not you`re familiar with Mandan Chiefs baseball, it doesn`t take long to figure out the man patrolling center field is one to keep on eye on.
"You`re the one in charge. You`re running to the gap. You`re making those plays. I like to use my speed a lot in the outfield. As soon as I switched to outfield when I was little I immediately loved center field cause you get to run as fast as you can and make diving plays, and that`s what I like the most," Janz said.
With all the plays Janz has make over his career in center, it`s a catch during his brief stint at another position that left the biggest impression on his coach.
"One that I`ve seen a couple times on highlights this year is the catch he made in right field. He hadn`t played right field, ever. He played one game and made a great catch, and that just speaks to how good of an athlete he is," Jungling said.
But his athleticism extends well beyond the baseball diamond. The past two football seasons, he and teammate Devin Coyle were one of the most feared quarterback-receiver duos in the state, helping the Braves reach the semifinals.
"We still talk about those. Even when we went to the Mon-Dak game we`re sitting there with the BHS guys and just like, `Man, do you remember that game, and remember when this happened?` Even though we lost that lost one, that`s the stuff we`re going to take with us," Janz said.
During his senior year, Janz was forced to make a very tough decision regarding his future as a college athlete: football or baseball.
"A lot of people wanted me to play some football, and my friends from Mandan, they`re going to play football, so there was a little bit of pressure to go either way, but at the end of the day I was a baseball guy, and I`ve always loved the sport, and I`m really looking forward to it next year."
Now, for the first time in his life, Janz will have just one sport to focus on.
"In a way I`m kind of excited to expand my abilities and be as best as I can at the next level. But it`s definitely going to be different not putting on the football helmet, putting on the basketball shoes, but I`m definitely looking forward to it."
What Mandan won`t be looking forward to, is finding a replacement for such a dynamic athlete. Janz will attended NDSU in the fall and join the baseball team.
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