Outside the box approach: New GJ baseball coach Alexander gives tennis a try

New GJ baseball coach Alexander gives tennis a try

New Grand Junction High School baseball coach Donnie Alexander waits at the net during his match with his stepson-to-be, Matt Gottschalk, Saturday during the father/son bracket at the McDonald’s Family Classic.

He returned a serve off the frame of his racket long, a one-hopper to the fence.

“Double!” Donnie Alexander said.

The new Grand Junction High School baseball coach wasn’t playing baseball, though. He was trying his hand at tennis with his future stepson, Matt Gottschalk.

“I figured I’d come out and have some fun,” said Alexander, who is marrying Gottschalk’s mother Sept. 1. “We knocked the ball around a little bit.”

Alexander knows the idea of tennis is to return the ball inside the white lines until it’s unreturned.

It didn’t work out that way enough Saturday in the McDonald’s Family Classic at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University. Scott and Cameron Thomas defeated Alexander and Gottschalk 6-2, 6-2 in the Father/Son 16-under round-robin draw.

“We heard about the tournament and decided to play,” Gottschalk said. “There wasn’t a lot of talking involved.”

“It was, ‘Do you want to? Sure,’ ” Alexander said.

Although they lost their first match, they weren’t upset.

“It would’ve been great if we won, but it was fun,” Gottschalk said. “I had a good time. I got to play tennis. It’s fun to do, period.”

Gottschalk has played tennis for a few years, but this was his first tournament, he said. He plays in high school. Gottschalk will be a junior at Grand Junction High School in the fall.

When asked how much tennis he’s played, Alexander said, “Not much. I need to do more, come out and play with Matthew.

“I had a tennis class in high school. That was about the only (tennis) I’ve done. Matt and I have gone out a few times and hit around a little bit. I enjoy it.”

It took a while for Alexander to understand court positioning and where he needs to be in certain situations, but he adjusted as the match progressed.

“I like to wander,” Alexander said. “He’s got to tell me where to go. By the end I got it figured out.”

They have another match in the round-robin draw this morning.

The tournament continues today with the final matches in the seven divisions.


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