When USF sophomore third baseman Jonathan Koscso steps between the white lines, he’s all business. Koscso, a second-year starter for the Bulls, said he isn’t the type to draw attention to himself. Instead, he lets his play do all the attention-grabbing.
“He’s one of those irreplaceable kinds of guys,” said center fielder Ryan Lockwood, a high school teammate of Koscso. “He bunts, he hits and he plays good defense. He works hard and is successful.”
Koscso, who has hit from the second spot in the USF lineup for most of the year, is
hitting .342, almost a .70 point increase from a year ago.
Koscso isn’t a stranger to success. As a senior at Jesuit High School, he batted .525 and was District 13’s Player of the Year in Florida. He played mostly shortstop, attending school with fellow teammates Kevin Quackenbush, Stephen Hunt and Lockwood.
“We’ve created sort of a pipeline, I guess you could say,” Lockwood said. “Young high school players see a bunch of high school teammates go to the same college and follow suit.”
Koscso said he’s glad he chose USF for an opportunity to play with his high school teammates. Now that he’s here, he treats every day the same.
“Everything has the same amount of importance to me, no matter what drill in practice or whatever I’m doing,” he said.
A high point this season came when Koscso hit a game-winning two-run homer against Pittsburgh on April 5, preserving a USF sweep.
He credits much of the success to USF assistant coach Bryant Ward and grad assistant Charles Cleveland.
“Since the first day of fall, we put a lot of emphasis on hitting,” Koscso said. “(Ward and Cleveland) spent hours every day looking at our swings, filming them, seeing how they can improve. That’s been the biggest reason for my improvement — the different techniques they’ve shown me.”
While Koscso dishes out the credit to others, Ward said the primary reason for his success is the sophomore’s hard work.
“He won’t leave this university without being the best player and person he can possibly be,” Ward said. “He puts in hours and hours (of work). If he’s not as good of a player as he wants to be, it’s not because of effort.”
In addition to his hours spent in the batting cages, Koscso had to make a transition in the field during the offseason.
Koscso started all 58 games at second base for the Bulls last season, one of only two Bulls to do so, the other being Addison Maruszak. Koscso, however, was asked to move across the diamond to third base this year, making room for junior college transfer Peter Brotons.
“Last year was actually the first time I’ve ever played on the right side of the infield,” Koscso said. “The transition this year was smooth. Growing up, I was a third baseman.”
Last season, Brandon Smith, Victor Pina and Cleveland all shared time at third. But just like last season at second base, Koscso has solidified the spot.
“It’s not easy to switch positions across the infield like that,” Ward said. “He’s done a great job putting out the fire over there.”
Koscso’s attitude has helped him achieve success in the classroom as well. In high school, he was a member of the National Honors Society, the Spanish National Honors Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. He was also named a
2007-2008 Big East Academic All-Star.
And no matter what it is he’s doing, Koscso puts his heart into it.
“Academics are important in everything you do,” Koscso said. “If you try to be the best in anything you do, other aspects will benefit. Putting in all that hard time with school has translated to me wanting to put hard work into athletics.”