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Eric Peterson, Published April 11 2014

Cobbers' Olson is in the midst of a 22-game hitting streak

MOORHEAD - The pingpong table the Concordia baseball team has in its locker room serves two purposes – to promote team bonding and also improve hand-eye coordination.

“We got some guys that can throw down,” Cobbers senior Michael Olson said with a laugh. “I have one loss. I am 0-1 to start of my pingpong career here.”

What Olson has done on the baseball field this spring is no joke. The center fielder has hit safely in all 17 games and leads the team with a .422 batting average.

Olson, from Monticello, Minn., is in the midst of a school-record 22-game hitting streak that dates back to last season.

“If you have a 22-game hitting streak, you have to be doing a lot of things right,” said Cobbers head coach Bucky Burgau. “He has turned into a pretty doggone good hitter.”

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Olson is also one of the team’s best baserunners and defensive players.

“I don’t think I’ve coached a better center fielder as far as going and catching the ball,” said Burgau, who is in his 36th season as Cobbers head coach.

When Olson came to Concordia, the plan was to play both football and baseball, like his father, Dan Olson, a two-sport standout for the Cobbers. Dan Olson, who graduated from Concordia in the early 1980s, is in the Cobbers Athletic Hall of Fame.

Michael Olson had a brief football career with the Cobbers. He decided to focus on baseball after being injured for a good portion of his first year at Concordia.

Olson played football, hockey and baseball in high school.

“He came to us as a talent and needed to learn how to play the game,” Burgau said. “He’s done a good job with that.”

Cobbers associate head coach Chris Coste – a former major league player and World Series champion – has helped Olson develop as a hitter.

“He has gobbled up and listened to every word Chris Coste has told him about hitting,” Burgau said of Olson. “If Chris tells him something, he will work on it until the sun goes down.”

Burgau said at times coaches have to tell Olson to scale back his training so he doesn’t overwork. Heading into today’s games against Hamline, Olson has a .352 career batting average in 110 games.

“I’m playing well,” Olson said. “There is always room for improvement. There is always something new to be learned.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com