Riley Jauch didn’t want to watch from the bench again this year.
He wanted to play.
Jauch — a senior at Milton — tried out for the baseball team last spring as a junior, but didn’t make the cut. So he became the team’s manager.
“It was the second year in a row I didn’t make the team,” Jauch said. “But I really liked the guys. I wanted to stick with it because I love baseball. It was really the only way I could stick with it at that point.”
Jauch made sure he wouldn’t be cut his senior year.
He went to almost every open gym, only missing a few throughout the offseason. He worked on his pitching in the fall and developed his own workout program in November to gain muscle.
Jauch said he felt like he was well on his way to making the team this year.
“I never had official confirmation I made the roster, but I had been working all offseason,” Jauch said. “I felt like I definitely deserved a spot this year compared to other years. I was very pumped to get the chance to play and not just have to be a cheerleader on the sideline.
“I did everything in my power to make sure there was no reason to cut me this season.”
It wasn’t the coaches that cut Jauch this season, it was the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled Milton’s spring sports season.
“It was disappointing, especially from my end,” Jauch said. “I put in all this work throughout the offseason. I hadn’t been able to play an actual game of baseball since my sophomore year.”
And it was more than disappointing on an individual level. Jauch knows how good the Red Hawks – who advanced to the sectional final last season — could have been this year.
“Our team was going to be really good this year,” Jauch said. “We had a legitimate shot I think to at least make it to state. It was just really bad timing.”
Jauch won’t get a senior baseball season, but he’ll leave his mark on Milton in a different way.
For the past three years, Jauch has been a sportscaster for Milton’s Red Hawk Media. This year specifically he did play-by-play for football, basketball and wrestling.
Jauch called it a really good, fun experience.
“It’s definitely what I’ m looking into as a career at this point,” Jauch said.
“I’m really looking forward to doing this for real.”
Jauch said he’s already inquired about play-by-play positions in radio stations in Janesville and Madison, including talking with Matt Lepay, who is the voice of the Wisconsin Badgers’ men’s basketball team and football team.
“I’ve always had a natural affinity toward it (sportscasting),” Jauch said. “I’ve always really enjoyed listening to the top calls from announcers.
“I really got into it sophomore year after I did my first basketball game. I was super nervous. It was not great.
“But everyone said, ‘Wow you’re pretty good, sounds good.’ I thought maybe I could do this. It’s fun. I kept going with it. I got more comfortable.”
Something else Jauch has gotten comfortable with is using photoshop, specifically for graphic design. He’s posted a couple sports-related graphic designs on Twitter that have reached over 500 likes.
Jauch said he’s not interested in doing design as a career, but will keep it as a hobby. He will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he will study Communications.
Jauch will never get the chance to play his senior baseball season with Milton. But maybe he’ll move on to bigger and better things one day.
“I think my dream job would be radio play-by-play for the Brewers,” Jauch said. “That would be fantastic.”