By STEVE KRAH
Patrick Tubaugh doesn’t pitch, hit or catch the baseball for Bethel University.
Having a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, Tubaugh has not played the game since he was a youngster in LaPorte, Ind. His CP causes limited mobility in his knees and chronic spasticity — stiffness — in his legs.
But Tubaugh, who graduated in May as a Business Management major with a minor in Communication, made an impact for Pilots baseball in his four seasons as a student manager for the NAIA program based in Mishawaka, Ind.
His primary gameday duty was keeping score, including spray charts for the opponents.
Based on the plays Tubaugh was charting, he was able to relay valuable information to Bethel head coach Seth Zartman or assistant Kiel Boynton that could be used against an opponent.
“I do have a part to play in match-ups,” says Tubaugh, who helped the Pilots go 11-0 in the fall of 2019 and 8-7 in the spring of 2020 before COVID-19 put an end to the season. “I take my job vary seriously.
“We took charge as a senior class (in 2019-20). We came together and played team baseball. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a baseball field to this point.”
Tubaugh was also able to point out trends like a foe’s ability to steal bases and or offensive trends. These tendencies were more pronounced in Crossroads League games where teams see each other so often.
“You do anything you can to get a leg up on (conference opponents),” says Tubaugh. “This is a way I can be productive and help the team win.
“It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy that.”
Now working toward a masters degree in Organizational Leadership, Tubaugh has taken on the new position of director of baseball operations.
“I enjoy the camaraderie of it all and the sense of family,” says Tubaugh. “I’ve grown a lot with the guys and grown close to the coaches as well.
“I just love baseball. I’d do anything to be around the game. I’m blessed to be where I’m at for a fifth year.”
As director of ops, Tubaugh monitors the Internet and social media to help with recruiting leads, facilitates practices with the running of drills and he will continue to keep the book — something he learned while working with Bethel assistant Dick Siler, who was on the staff for 23 seasons and passed away July 20 at 84.
“Coach Siler taught me a lot about keeping the book,” says Tubaugh, 23. “In high school, I did not have a lot of experience with it. I sat next to (Siler) every year for three years and picked up a lot of knowledge of the game.
“I miss him dearly. He lived a great life. That’s what keeps me comforted.”
Tubaugh also looks up to Zartman and Boynton.
“I love him for many reasons,” says Tubaugh of Zartman aka Coach Z. “He’s one of my heroes. He is grounded in what really matters. It’s not a win at all costs mentality with him. It’s how you win — with respect for your opponents and you put God in the center of it all.
“(Boynton) has mild form of cerebral palsy like I do. He’s been a mentor. Coach K and I talk almost everyday. He’s been instrumental in giving me that confidence in my coaching career.”
Tubaugh chose Organizational Leadership for his masters because it clicks with his personality and his aspirations.
“I’m a big people person,” says Tubaugh. “If you treat your employees well, organizational culture goes a long way toward positive productivity.
“Baseball overlays with that. My ultimate goal in life is to start an organization that allows kids with physical disabilities to play baseball. That’s my dream.”
Born in Chicago, Tubaugh moved to LaPorte at a young age and played T-ball and machine pitch until his legs would no longer let him.
In the fall of his junior year at LaPorte High School, Slicers head baseball coach and Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame member Scott Upp approached him about being a student manager and he gladly accepted.
“He changed my life,” says Tubaugh, who now had an outlet for the sport he loved.
Tubaugh appreciates the history of the game and how it relates to this country.
“I remember reading about Jackie Robinson (breaking the color line) and what that meant,” says Tubaugh. “From a game standpoint, It’s really a mental game more than anything. The person who perseveres through adversity will come out on top. It’s about encouraging and being mentally tough.
“And there’s always something going on in the game.”
The pandemic has made baseball look differently at Bethel. All classes are now virtual. In the fall, the Pilots were able to conduct workouts, but they had to pay attention to social distancing.
“We had a lot of intrasquad scrimmages and small-group practices,” says Tubaugh. “It’s not ideal by any means. But it’s what was necessary to stay safe.
“If you want to play baseball that’s what you do.”
Patrick’s parents are Brian Tubaugh and Mary Drewes. His stepmother is Kathie Tubaugh. His stepfather is Steve Drewes. Sister Alli Tubaugh, a LaPorte High grad, earned her Bethel diploma in 2019. Stepbrothers are Dylan Drewes, Gavin Drewes and Owen Drewes. Dylan graduated from Greenwood (Ind.) High School and the other two are still in high school.