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4A baseball: Timpanogos coach Nelson closes in on state wins records

First Published      Last Updated May 26 2017 09:03 pm


4A baseball » Kim Nelson, who has 586 career victories, led team to sixth state championship.

Orem • In some ways, Timpanogos High just seems too new a school to say that tradition envelopes the baseball program.

But it does, and even if coach Kim Nelson didn't bring it up itself, the sixth title for the Timberwolves at Utah Valley University was surrounded by personal and team history.

"In loving memory of David G. Nelson," reads a permanent marker near a sidewalk approaching Brent Brown Ballpark. "In appreciation for all the lives you have touched as our coach and friend."

Dave Nelson was Kim's brother, who coached baseball at Utah Valley State College. He died as a result of liver failure in 2002.




Although Kim Nelson never mentioned his brother or the monument outside the spot where the Timberwolves have won two consecutive Class 4A titles, Dave's memory never is far from Kim's mind.

"Not only did he coach here, he helped me coach for four years before he passed away," said Kim Nelson, wiping away a tear while his players celebrated nearby. "We've got a little memorial by a tree walking by. I think about it all the time."

The state championship for Timpanogos, after a 9-7 victory over Spanish Fork, is the sixth in school history.

Timpanogos High has been in existence since 1996, and Nelson has been its only baseball coach.

"Before the game, his wife, Leslie, actually gave us a pregame speech, talking about the legacy of Timpanogos," Timberwolves senior Casey Hamilton said. "And we all looked over and he was kind of teary-eyed."

But Nelson has a history outside of the school, too. All the way back to the early 1980s, when Nelson was winning championships as American Fork captured a pair in 1984 and 1985.

Now with 586 career victories, Kim Nelson rapidly is approaching Jon Hoover's all-time mark of 592 in the state of Utah.

And what's been working for Nelson all these years continues to work.

His players said after the championship game that he was all business from pregame all the way to the point where Cal Beardsley recorded a strikeout to end it.

"He tries to keep it calm around us, but sometimes you can tell he has to hold it in," Beardsley said. "Anything coach says, we believe. We all love him. He's the best coach you could ever ask for.

Hamilton said: "You definitely don't want to get on his bad side during a game. It's kind of scary. It's kind of an ongoing joke that you don't want to make him mad."

If Timpanogos had lost, it would have been forced to play another game against the Dons in a winner-take-all contest. Nelson, already beginning to see his pitching staff start to strain a little, said he didn't know how he would have approached one more outing.

But his wife, arms around her husband, knew it would be fine.

"We would've won," Leslie Nelson mouthed.

 

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