Marty Kurth has won over 500 games in 31 seasons at Gehlen Catholic.
Every high school baseball coach in Iowa knows that if they lose in the post-season, they're done. That sense of urgency means a little more to Gehlen Catholic coach Marty Kurth. The long-time coach is losing his eyesight and this will likely be his last season. He's hoping to make it one to remember.
Kurth has won over 500 games as a high school baseball coach. But His 31st season at Gehlen Catholic has been difficult. Over the last year, Kurth has suffered a stroke in each eye, causing a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. The last time it happened was in June and it left him legally blind.
"It's all about this team right now," said Kurth. "It's nothing about me, it's nothing about my eyesight or anything like that right now. It's something what these guys can do and maybe make some history on their own."
The Jays started this season 0 and 4 but they've won seven of their last eight games. But no one knows when the run will come to an end.
"As the day goes on, you starting thinking a little bit about that the season could be over after today," said Kurth. "It's one and one. If you lose, you're done. But at the same time, we're staying focused as a team and we've got a goal that we'd like to reach and we know that's a process and right now that's all that we're focusing on.
Only one team in Class 1A will end the season with a win, something Kurth has done twice with state championships in 1995 and 1999.
"It's all about the young men and teaching the game of baseball and the game of life at the same time," said Kurth. "No pun intended but I've seen a lot of things. I love the game. I love being around the kids. I've been thinking the last couple years, is this going to be it, is this going to be it," said Kurth. "I was hoping I might go one more year possibly but I think the good Lord has got something else in mind for me right now and this looks like this will be my final season."
Gehlen plays ninth-ranked West Sioux in the district final. That game is Saturday at 7 o'clock in Hawarden.