by Martin Barrett
Locher as a Highline Pirate in 2012
In the last few years, Lori Box has been on a roll, recruiting young coaching talent to Highline High School. This spring, one of her newest recruits takes the helm of a team with whom he is familiar.
Jonny Locher graduated from Highline High in 2012 with a scholarship to play Baseball at Stanford. “From a young age, I knew that was where I wanted to go. Stanford is excellent academically and has a great baseball team. It was challenging. The academics were very tough. It was Pac-12 Baseball. It was year-round, every day. We studied in the bus, in the plane, in the dugout “, said Locher. For Locher, the best part was the relationships. “The team and the teammates made the experience great.”
Locher grew up in Gregory Heights. His older siblings also played ball. He followed them to the fields and stadiums. Baseball was deeply ingrained in his family and him. As a Pirate, the team went to the state tournament when he was a freshman and sophomore under Coach Dave Larson. “There are so many good things I am inheriting, so much momentum from those that came before me,” said Locher. After college, Locher returned to Burien and picked up the Highline fall ball season coaching responsibilities. Then in 2017, ’18, and ’19, he volunteered as an assistant on the Highline staff. The team experienced success and, in 2018, made it to the “Final 8” in the state tournament.
When COVID hit, the coaching stopped. So Locher was thrilled when Box called and invited him to be a candidate for the job of Head Coach.
“I enjoy coaching. When I was in 7th grade, my coach believed greatly in me. Because of his confidence in me, I accomplished more than I thought I could. I want to do the same for these kids. I want to help them achieve more than they thought they could “, said Locher.
Jonny Locher playing for Stanford in 2016
“Baseball is a game of failure. It is a mental game. You are successful if you get a hit one time in three tries—each time, you have to be mentally tough. You have to learn how to handle failure. Go back up to the plate with the mindset that this will be your best at bat. It makes you know how to focus on what is right in front of you right now. You have to learn to press into the edge of your skills and improve”, a smiling Locher said.
“In high school, you are still discovering who you are as a player and a hitter. The best players know themselves and their strengths and play into them. They do not try to be something or someone they are not”, added the coach.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be the Head Coach, to be able to work with these players. I see potential in them for leadership. We have a shot at making this year very special”, a humble Locher said.
I was struck by a common thread of the three teams I have been covering this year, boys’ football, basketball, and baseball. That thread is three young coaches who understand that the drive for excellence on the field transcends the burning desire to win. The drive for excellence in sports is a training ground to be an excellent husband, father, employee, business owner, and overall person. We are blessed to have Jonny Locher back home and leading our young men on the diamond and in life.