By STEVE KRAH
Shawn Kahre’s baseball odyssey has come full circle.
Born in Japan in 1992, Shawn is the son of Steven and Kimiko Kahre and the older brother of Ken Kahre (23). The family moved to Terre Haute when he was a toddler, went back to Japan then moved to Vincennes when Shawn was 7.
Kahre ((pronounced CAR-ee) was a three-year starter in the outfielder for head coach Brandon Pfoff and assistant Tim Hutchison (who is now head coach) during his Lincoln playing days. He was the team MVP in 2010 and hit .423 as a senior. He pitched a little on the junior varsity as a sophomore.
“(Pfoff) was a good coach,” says Kahre of the man he led Vincennes to an IHSAA Class 3A state title in 2002. “He always pushed his players to be the best. He was always enthusiastic and made me a better player overall.”
After high school, Kahre played and coached for several teams.
As a righty-swinging 6-foot-4 outfielder, Kahre took the diamond in 2012 and 2013 for Vincennes University.
“(Trailblazers head coach Chris Barney) gave me the chance to play college baseball,” says Kahre. “He’s very positive and let me do my own thing.”
Ryan Anderson was VU’s assistant at the time as was also helpful to Kahre, who hit .270 as a Blazers freshman and .283 as a sophomore.
The summer of 2013 saw Kahre suit up for the Owensboro (Ky.) Oilers of the Ohio Valley League. The manager of the collegiate squad was Aaron Biddle (then head coach at Brescia University).
Near the end of the season, with the Oilers short on pitchers and Owensboro down by several runs, Biddle put Kahre into a game on the mound.
Now a college pitcher, he threw from different angles including submarine style and experimented with pitches.
“It’s something I developed,” says Kahre. “It started as a joke and turned into reality.”
When he arrived at Kentucky Wesleyan College — also in Owensboro — that fall to play for head coach Todd Lillpop and pitching coach Paxton Gardner, Kahre was a two-way player. He was used in the outfield and as a relief pitcher.
“It got better with more repetition,” says Kahre. “I got to face a lot of great (NCAA) D-I hitters.”
Kahre was strictly a reliever in his senior year at Kentucky Wesleyan in 2015. He had six mound appearances in 2014 with a 4.70 earned run average and one strikeout in 7 2/3 innings. In 2015, he was 1-0 with 3.09 ERA with four K’s in 11 2/3 innings over seven games.
The Carolina Virginia Collegiate League was able to have a couple graduated seniors on each roster and Kahre (who earned a fitness and sports management degree at KWC) along with KWC teammate Matt Pobereyko pitched for the Catawba Valley Stars in the summer of 2015.
The spring of 2016 saw Kahre back in Charlotte, N.C., playing for College of Faith and coach Thomas Eaton. This postgraduate academy helped him stay in game shape for the summer.
Marvin Speaks, Catawba Valley’s manager and general manager of the independent Pecos League’s White Sands Pupfish, and was impressed enough with Kahre to invite him to play for club managed by his son, Mickey Speaks, in Alamogordo, N.M.
The Pecos League had pitchers released from affiliated minor league baseball that threw in the low to mid 90s. Playing by National League rules, pitchers got to hit and Kahre batted .417 (5-of-12) while pitching 20 innings and going 0-1.
Looking for his next baseball opportunity, Kahre went to the California Winter League in January and February of 2017. He did not get signed by a team and decided to retire as a player.
In the summer of 2017, Kahre became an assistant coach at Vincennes U., and served the Trailblazers as pitching coach during the 2018 season.
“Throw as much as possible,” says Kahre. “Every guy is different.”
Kahre favored long toss when he was a pitcher for how it helped him build arm strength.
In the fall of 2017, Kahre was hired as an associate scout with the New York Mets. In that role, he would file reports with an area scout if he ran across a player who he thought had pro potential.
“I had an amazing experience there,” says Kahre. “I learned a lot.”
Fabian (now a Cincinnati Reds area scout) also worked with the pitchers. Lawson (who played in the Seattle Mariners system and is now a Tampa Bay Rays area scout) and Davis (who played at Florida State University and in the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres organizations) share hitting coach duties.
Kahre kept track of pitches and bullpen sessions and monitored the programs that hurlers had been assigned by their respective schools.
Travis Akre was manager of the Northwoods League’s Lakeshore Chinooks (Mequon, Wis.) in 2018. Also head coach at Ellsworth Community College (Iowa Falls, Iowa), Akre hired Kahre to be the Panthers pitching coach for the 2019 season.
When Akre left Ellsworth, Kahre came back to Vincennes, got a full-time job at Toyota in Princeton, Ind., and became an assistant to Hutchison at Lincoln.
“(Hutchison) also saw potential in me,” says Kahre. “He is another guy who gave me confidence. He’s a hard worker. He’s always studying the game.
“I’m looking forward to next season.”
The 2020 season was wiped out by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
While there are no live games to see, Kahre has used the quarantine time to get better as a scout.
“I’m working on making my reports better,” says Kahre, who sends his findings to area scout Mike Medici. “I’m getting more organized and changing my format. I’m learning better terminology when describing players.”
Kahre is viewing video and finding out about different types of players.
Shawn Kahre delivers a pitch for the Terre Haute (Ind.) Rex during Prospect League play in the summer of 2014. Kahre is a graduate of Vincennes Lincoln High School, Vincennes University and Kentucky Wesleyan University and now an assistant baseball coach at Lincoln and an associate scout for the Texas Rangers. (Terre Haute Rex Photo)
Shawn Kahre was a baseball player and an assistant coach at Vincennes (Ind.) University. He is a 2011 graduate of Vincennes Lincoln High School, where he is now an baseball assistant coach. He is also an associate coach for the Texas Rangers. (Vincennes University Photo)