Brian Voigt set to play at Augustana next year

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

Southland grad Brian Voigt has done a lot of winning in his baseball career and he hopes to keep it up.

Voigt has played in two Junior College World Series with Riverland Community College and he was on the Southland baseball team that took second at state in 2008.

So naturally, winning was a big priority when he went about choosing a four-year school to play for.

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Voigt, who was a first-team All-American this year at RCC, has signed a letter-of-intent to play at Augustana College of Sioux Falls, S.D., which was 34-22 overall and 12-6 in the Northern Sun Conference this last year.

“It always makes it more fun when you’re winning. That was pretty important,” said Voigt, who received a partial scholarship at the Division II school. “They’re getting better and they have a lot of young players.”

Making the decision easier was the fact that RCC head coach Scott Koenigs is very familiar with Augustana head coach Tim Huber, who used to coach at Dakota County against Koenigs.

“Tim took Dakota from the bottom to the top. His expectations are pretty high and he’s focused on baseball,” Koenigs said. “Brian had a lot of good offers from different programs, but I told him he can’t go wrong by going to play for Tim Huber. He’ll make you the best player he can be.”

Voigt said he likes the facilities at Augustana, where there is a 24-hour batting cage and he hopes to play right away for the Vikings, who he visited and watched play a couple of times

“I was mostly looking to play at a higher level,” Voigt said. “Hopefully we can make a push and play deep in the postseason next year.”

Before he heads to school, Voigt will be playing the best competition he’s every gone against this summer when he plays in the Jayhawk League in Kansas.

While Voigt was set to play for the Austin Blue Sox amateur baseball team this summer, Koenigs was contacted by the Dodge City A’s head coach Jeremy Irlbeck, who coached at Minnesota West for a year.

“Jeremy was pleased to get an All-American and Brian had been looking to get in a collegiate league this summer,” Koenigs said. “I talked to Brian about it and he was gone the next day.”

Voigt, who was 1-for-4 with a double in his first game with the A’s, didn’t hesitate to head down to Kansas and get on the field. In return, he’ll get a place to stay and about 35 games to play in until the end of July.

The league is composed of six teams from Kansas and it features a lot of Division I players. Some of its past players include major leaguers Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.

“This summer will help me a lot,” Voigt said. “When I got an opportunity to play in a league like this, I just couldn’t pass it up. I’d say it was a great choice to make.”

Koenigs thinks that focusing on just baseball will be big for Voigt, who also played basketball at RCC.

“I think he’s ready to make an impact (at Augustana),” Koenigs said. “Brian could go 0-for-four with two strikeouts one game and the next day he’ll go three-for-four with two homers. He’s a game changer and he works hard. I’m looking forward to how good he can be.”

The city of Sioux Falls, which has a population of over 155,000, will be big change for Voigt, who grew up in a small town

“Wherever I chose, I was going to have to move,” he said. “It’s far enough from home for it to be a change but it’s also not too far away. I’m looking forward to it.”

Voigt was 7-3 with four saves on the mound with an ERA of 1.97 for RCC this past spring. He struck out 56 in 59.1 innings, while allowing 56 hits and 20 walks.

Voigt, who also played shortstop, hit an RCC-record 16 homers, while hitting .470 with 17 doubles, 7 triples, 59 RBIs, and 54 runs.

Koenigs said that a lot of schools have been scouting RCC players lately and Voigt is not the only Blue Devils player moving on to a four-year school. Jeff Huth and Derek Hahn are close signing with schools to play baseball.

Other former Blue Devils who are looking to play college baseball next year include Pat Wolard at St. Cloud State, and Brady Banse and Andy Behnke at Viterbo in La Crosse, Wis.