Baseball: Jeff Moeller busy with latest project
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org August 19, 2013 2:58PM
Jeff Moeller stands in the baseball training facility he constructed on his property in Plato Center. Moeller is the president of the Elgin Warrior Baseball travel program. | Erik Jacobsen~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:06AM
In a variation of the adage from the movie “Field of Dreams,” Jeff Moeller is working under the premise that if you build it, they will come.
Moeller is over a year removed from stepping down as Westminster Christian’s baseball coach, and these days he is more involved than ever in the development of the Elgin Warrior Baseball travel program he helped start four years ago.
What began as a side project is now running full steam as the organization has grown to include 60 players spread across five teams. Those numbers are expected to rise in 2014 when the Warriors continue to expand their high school program.
Along the way Moeller has built a full-fledged indoor baseball training facility complete with two hitting tunnels and a room for pitching instruction in the barn he previously used for ostrich farming on his property off Rohrsen Road in Plato Center.
“It’s funny how things can just evolve into something you didn’t really think of off the top of your head,” Moeller said. “Now I look at this organization as a great opportunity to do something special like we did at Westminster and help give these kids the tools to achieve their goals in baseball.”
Moeller, 51, spent 12 seasons as the head coach at Westminster Christian and led the program to the Class 1A state championship in 2010. Among his other accomplishments were a trip to the state finals in 2007, five straight 25-win seasons and twice being named Courier-News Coach of the Year.
The Elgin Warrior program started out with players mostly from around Dundee but has since attracted participants from Huntley, Elgin, St. Charles, Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Hampshire and Burlington. Moeller serves as the club’s president.
“The success we had at Westminster was tied directly to a philosophy and a system of how we did things,” Moeller said. “It’s the same here.”
This summer Elgin Warrior Baseball fielded 12U, 13U and 14U teams as well as two 15U squads, which marked the first time the program included high school athletes. The organization leases the fields at Carpentersville Middle School for practices and games but hopes to develop its own outdoor facility in the future.
Moeller says what sets the program apart from others is its emphasis on year-round training. During the offseason each player receives 10 weeks of individualized training for two hours per week at Moeller’s practice facility with Moeller or one of the club’s other coaches.
“This winter we’re going to do a lot more video analysis to kind of step our game up a little bit so parents can see the progression as time goes on,” Moeller said.
The primary goal of the Elgin Warrior program, according to Moeller, is to get youth players ready to compete in high school and high school players prepared to compete in college. Focusing on fundamentals with younger players and providing specialized training for older players helps meet the objective.
“Kind of like at Westminster, we’re trying to do things differently than everybody else,” Moeller said. “We’re trying to be on the front end of everything.”