Baseball is all in the family

Published 9:27 am Friday, April 3, 2009

COURTLAND—From the age of 4 to his current senior year at Southampton Academy, Tyler Lass has had one baseball coach — his dad, Tim.

That will all change next year when Tyler heads to Hampden-Sydney College, also his dad’s alma mater, to play baseball. Tim started at third base fours years for the Tigers.

Tyler is a pitcher and shortstop for the Raiders this year. He also played quarterback for the football team and was a member of the boys basketball team.

Tim taught and coached baseball three years at Southampton Academy right after he graduated college in 1982. He also coached JV basketball and varsity football, capturing a Virginia Commonwealth Conference championship in 1985. He went back to school, then went to work at Union Camp. He is currently a day manager at International Paper Co. and has coached baseball again the last seven years at Southampton Academy, three as the JV coach and the last four as the varsity coach.

Tim first coached Tyler in tee-ball and has followed him all the way up to high school. According to Tyler, baseball is always a hot topic of conversation.

“Even at home we’re always talking about it. We are talking about the game that night or even the next day,” Tyler said. “We go over a lot of plays. He sits down and gets the book and talks about it.”

The father-son relationship applies to the field.

“He’s a good kid and a pleasure to coach. We do have a good relationship and he points out things that he sees, too. He’s like a coach on the field. He know what I am thinking and I know what he’s thinking,” Tim said.

Tim coached the 2007 Southampton Academy team that won the Virginia Independent Athletic Association Division III championship. Tyler, a sophomore that year, was a big part of that team as a the starting second baseman and third pitcher. Tyler led the team in hitting that year and closed out the championship game on the mound.

“It made it even more special having my dad as coach, especially since I was a sophomore and as young as I was,” Tyler said.

“It was a special moment,” Tim added.

With Tyler moving on to college, Tim is contemplating whether or not he will come back next season.

“I don’t know. It all depends what happens next year at the mill. Tyler is going to play at Hampden-Sydney and they have day games during the week. I’d like to see that. I can’t say yes and not a definite no.”

The clock is winding down for Tim coaching his son for the last time and turning over the job to Hampden-Sydney coach Jeff Kinne. As the final game approaches, Tim said that day will be tough.

“It will hit me at the spring sports banquet. But I know that he’s got at least four more years,” Tim said.