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Christian Heideger: Fond Memories of Fort Collins

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A summer full of Foxes baseball is one which many collegiate athletes experience.

For Washingtonian and Fort Collins Foxes alum Christian Heideger, summers in Fort Collins became nothing short of a tradition.

Heideger was always surrounded by competitive baseball. After attending Shorewood High School in Washington and watching seven teammates get drafted, he went on to continue his baseball career at University of Redlands before transferring to Concorida University in Portland, Oregon to study business administration with a minor in psychology.

But, the memories that Heideger holds dear are the ones spent at City Park Field in Fort Collins.

“It was just some of the best summers I’ve ever had,” Heideger said. “While baseball is one thing, just being able to grow and learn and it gave me opportunities to see differences from the west coast to how life is in Colorado, what is different all around, but we still had the same common goal.”

Before coming to the Foxes, Heideger spent a season with the Windsor Beavers, batting .309 on the season and accumulating six home runs in 25 hits, which set the franchise home run record. The team later claimed the 2014 league championship.

The following two seasons were spent in Fort Collins as a player, but Heideger was offered a coaching position with Foxes in 2017. As head coach, the Foxes held a season record of 17-10.

And his favorite part of it all?

“It was always a fan interaction,” he said. “Whether it was a little kid just watching the bullpens, it didn’t matter. They just wanted to interact with you. For them, they didn’t know you weren’t a big leaguer or that you weren’t a minor leaguer. They were there to watch you. And whether it be signing an autograph or taking a kid out and playing catch with them on the field or flipping a kid a ball and watching their face light up, for me, that was the greatest thing I could give to the fan base beside playing in front of them. It was the most surreal thing.”

After his time in Fort Collins, Heideger went on to find a job at Robert Half as a talent manager in Washington. And even though Heideger has moved on from the Foxes franchise, he still finds time for baseball in his free time. He joined a men’s league and also works at a facility to develop youth athletes.

And as he reflected on his time in the uniform and in Fort Collins, he leaves one piece of advice to the current and future players to play under the lights at City Park Field.

“Don’t take these summers for granted, they go by really quickly,” Heideger said. “The environment and everyone that’s there, I hold so dear to my heart. Fort Collins is my home away from home for the last five years. It was awesome. Enjoy every moment, it goes way too quick, have fun, play hard, and don’t lose! That was our mantra. Don’t lose.”

Jake Hirshman: Always a Fox

By Tyler Meguire

The Fort Collins Foxes Baseball Club stands for more than baseball. Kurt Colicchio and his wife Nicol have successfully created a family-like culture with the players, fans, and community. 

Jake Hirshman, a pitcher for the Foxes in 2013 and 2015, can attest to the culture of the Foxes. Hirshman is 27 years old and is working for the Pro Golf Association (PGA) Tour. He has published two books, “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro” and “LOL, Loss of Logo: What’s Your Next Move.” He is also the host of the Life in the Front Office Podcast

Unlike other summer-ball organizations, the Foxes aim for a unique and memorable experience for fans and players. The goal is to replicate a minor league team in both competition and entertainment. Many players can speak on their memorable experience with the Foxes, and Hirshman is one of them. 

“My experience with the Foxes was incredible,” Hirshman said. “It was great to have teammates from all parts of the country, and coaches who I still have friendships with today. The fans were great to play in front of, and certainly created memories for us throughout the summer.”

Fort Collins features a great community that helps create a memorable experience for the out-of-town players like Hirshman. Since players come in from all over the country, it is important for them to feel welcomed by the community. Fort Collins is friendly with the Foxes because the team makes sure to contribute back to the community by supporting various groups such as Animal Friends Alliance, Larimer Humane Society, and ALS Rocky Mountain Chapter.  

“The Fort Collins community was great to experience,” Hirshman said. “There were many activities around town to participate in on off days. We also got to help out with a summer baseball camp for the youth which was a fun way to connect with those in the local area.”

The Foxes want to provide lasting impacts for the people involved in the organization. With help from coaches, players, fans, and the Colicchios, they are often successful. 

“The two summers I played with the Foxes have had an incredible lasting impact on my life,” Hirshman said. “The second summer I was in Fort Collins, it was the first time that I pitched in 15 months after recovering and rehabbing through a rotator cuff injury. It gave me the opportunity to succeed and gain the confidence to play at Ohio afterwards.” 

After helping Hirshman gain the confidence to play baseball at Ohio University, the Foxes continued to supply an enduring impact. After his time at Ohio University, Hirshman started his career in the sports industry. However, the sports industry is highly competitive to get started in. Hirshman praises Colicchio for helping him get involved in a career with sports. 

“Kurt is great,” Hirshman said. “I owe him a great deal of gratitude for connecting me with Fred Claire, who is a mentor of mine, and helped me get my start in the sports industry.” 

It is common for players to reflect on careers and think about their achievements, plays, and statistics. Hirshman, while he likely remembers some of his pitching performances, mostly reflects on the relationships formed from the team. 

“The Foxes was a great learning experience on the field,” Hirshman said. “The team chemistry was incredible due to the coaching staff and relaxed nature of the culture. My most memorable moment off the field was living with my host family (Wendy and John). They made Nathan and I feel like family, and it couldn’t have been a better experience. The 10:30pm cookouts after a game were amazing.”  

Foxes All-Time Leaders
Fort Collins Foxes
All-Time Season Leaders
Batting Pitching
Player (Year) Average Player (Year) ERA
Reynolds, Gregory (2016) .489 Wilcox, Travis (2010) 0.62
Reynolds, Gregory (2015) .464 Vessella, Tom (2005) 0.81
Solomon, Luke (2013) .462 Keane, John (2016) 0.83
Eager, Tyler (2012) .433 McKinney, Marcus (2016) 1.04
Spotanski, Matt (2007) .427 Brown, Graylon (2012) 1.17
Del Mastro, Carmen (2008) .424 Marreel, Trevor (2018) 1.17
Watson, Tyler (2018) .424 Hirshman, Jake (2015) 1.37
Johnson, Nick (2006) .422 Lebsock, Garrett (2007) 1.50
Barrow, Kane (2012) .420 Pettikas, Zach (2005) 1.52
Lockett, Clay (2019) .411 Brown, Luke (2006) 1.55
Pine, David (2012) .410 McElroy, Zach (2010) 1.72
Vogt, Stephen (2006) .409 Tomcheck, Jake (2019) 1.95
Williams, Robert (2010) .407 Wheatley, Grant (2007) 1.98
Manzano, Joel (2017) .407 Blevins, Seth (2010) 1.99
Pittman, Trey (2018) .388 Ponak, Reece (2015) 2.00
Dudley, Taylor (2016) .387 Casias, Rudy (2005) 2.02
Rivera , Juan (2012) .385 Seetin, Drake (2019) 2.08
Venegas, Matt (2007) .376 Garza, R.B. (2008) 2.14
Pearl, Richie (2012) .377 Martinez, Derek (2011) 2.24
Zaidel, Tyler (2012) .377 Galasso, Kevin (2014) 2.30
Dresner, Jordan (2013) .377 Lyon, John (2017) 2.35
Jones, Seth (2017) .375 Dahley, Dalton (2016) 2.36
Knudson, Kyle (2007) .373 Abell, Andrew (2005) 2.37
Mullins-Ohm, Taylor (2019) .374
Levette, Gherrett (2005) .369
Home Runs Wins
David, Brett (2014) 9 Maynard, Ben (2005) 9
Duckworth, Cameron (2009) 8 Keane, John (2016) 8
Duckworth, Cameron (2008) 6 Garza, R.B. (2008) 7
Barrow, Kane (2012) 6 Lebsock, Garrett (2006) 7
Eager, Tyler 6 Ponak, Reece (2015) 7
Parsons, Brad (2011) 6 Casias, Rudy (2005) 6
Brito, Alfredo (2011) 5 Pettikas, Zach (2005) 6
Canales, Coba (2005) 5 Rose, Ryan (2007)  6
Melville, Mark (2017, 2018) 5 Hirshman, Jake (2013) 6
Schick, Phil (2013) 6
McKinney, Marcus (2016) 6
RBI Strikeouts
Duckworth, Cameron (2008) 47 Maynard, Ben (2005) 61
Eager, Tyler (2012) 41 McElroy, Zach (2010) 60
Reynolds, Gregory (2016) 41 Mitchell, Trey (2009) 60
Canales, Coba (2005) 40 Martinez, Derek (2011) 54
Vogt, Stephen (2005) 38 Garza, R.B. (2008) 52
Reynolds, Gregory (2015) 36 Huggins, Chuck (2006) 51
Duckworth, Cameron (2009) 33 Kearney, Blake (2006) 51
Brito, Alfredo (2012) 32 Mills, Joe (2012) 51
Solomon, Luke (2013) 32 Hopper, Jared (2009) 49
Yingling, Andy (2012) 31 Vasquez, Rafael (2012) 49
Zaidel, Tyler (2012) 31 Kelley, Bobby (2007) 48
Barrow, Kane (2012) 30 Protano, Jason (2006) 47
Nixon, Dwight (2006) 30 Hirshman, Jake (2013) 47
DelGrippo, Lenny (2008) 29 Maynard, Ben (2006) 46
Hodson, Scott (2005) 29
Dudley, Taylor (2016) 28
Shaffer, Kaleb (2019) 28
Spotanski, Matt (2007) 27
Jones, Seth (2017) 27
Stolen Bases Saves
Del Mastro, Carmen (2008) 21 Lenz, Aaron (2007) 8
Allen, Eddie (2010) 20 Wilcox, Travis (2010) 7
Canales, Coba (2005) 19 Patti, Willie (2011) 6
Hoover, Stosh (2006) 19 Hirshman, Jake (2015) 5
Nixon, Dwight (2006) 17 Patti, Willie (2009) 5
Levette, Gherrett (2005) 16 Vessella, Tom (2005) 5
Snype, Myles (2017) 15 Lenz, Aaron (2008) 5
Allen, Eddie (2009) 14 Marreel, Trevor (2018) 5
Vogt, Stephen (2005) 14 Reese, David (2019) 5
Banos, Jason (2008) 14 Abell, Andrew (2005) 4
Pruitt, Kirk (2011) 14 Brown, Graylon (2012) 4
Erickson, Brett (2019) 14 Hodson, Scott (2005) 4
Matta-Lloyd, Tyler (2019) 14 Narva, Aaron (2005) 4
McKinney, Marcus (2013) 4

Foxes In Professional Baseball
Stephen Vogt, 2005-06 Foxes

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