BOZEMAN — Christopher Wrench, a recent graduate of Bozeman Gallatin, announced he'll be heading to the University of Oregon in the fall to play college baseball.
“It’s Oregon, man, you know, it’s the Ducks," he smiled.
"We took a facilities tour and everything, and I was just blown away how well they conducted everything," he explained his decision on choosing the Ducks. "I mean the coaches were all, you know, awesome. It just felt like home. I’m from Washington, I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so you know, staying there was really appealing to me.”
The former Bozeman Buck made one of the hardest, but worthwhile, decisions for his baseball career just over one month ago: He moved from the Bozeman Bucks to join the Mercedes-Benz Baseball Club, an 18U college prep program competing year-round in the Pacific Northwest.
They're based out of Seattle, so he uprooted his life to move there on his own and compete for the summer.
He was leaving behind not only his immediate family, but also his second family on the field in Bozeman, where he became the player he is today.
“You know, this is kind of my last shot, right, and I’m going to go big or go home," he explained. "So I kind of just put it on myself and I said, 'You know, I’m going to take the leap. If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.'”
And work out it has, to say the least.
Wrench is heading to a Power Five school and a team that just made it to a Super Regional, with Omaha and the Men's College World Series as the end goal every season.
It’s one of those decisions you dream of when you’re younger.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said. "You know, it’s one of those things you, again, can’t take for granted. You can only get there through hard work. That’s honestly what I’m more excited about for Oregon. Just being able to grind with a ton of like-minded guys, who all want a cumulative goal. ”
Wrench is left handed, primarily playing first base before his freshman year of high school. That's when his coach switched him to pitcher.
The transition wasn’t easy at first, but during his junior year a switch flipped, and he’s been dialed in ever since.
“I’ll remember the moment my whole life," he said. "We, (the Bucks), were in Billings playing the Royals, and I went out there, and it was my first start of the year. The first inning didn’t go very well, and I came to the dugout and said, 'I’m not going to have another year like this.'”
That's when the head coach of the Bozeman Bucks program, Sean Potkay, came over and gave Wrench a pep talk that not just motivated him, but changed his career.
"Coach Potkay came over, and he sat me down and was like, 'Dude, I believe in you. This is your time,'” Wrench recalled. "And I went back out there and went four innings, and I didn’t allow a run. It just really flipped a switch for me. After that, I’ve been a lot more consistent. It’s been a lot easier to do everything, right. I’m not pitching scared. I’m not pitching anything. I’m just pitching with confidence.”
Where he gets his drive and what motivates him day in and day out: his family.
“They’ve sacrificed so much for me, right," Wrench said. "You know, I’m living on my own out there. I’m living away from my brother and sister, which is super hard. I love them, they’re probably my two best friends. I can’t take it for granted. They all believe in me, and I’m not going to let them down.”
And for Wrench, Bozeman will always be home. It’s a town that’s shaped him to the player and person he is today.
“All my teachers have been so influential on me, you know, all those coaches and everything, it’s just such an incredible city," Wrench said. "And it’s somewhere that I’ll always call home and want to come home to.”
Wrench heads back to Seattle for the rest of the summer to finish up the season with the Mercedes-Benz Baseball Club, and then he'll head to Eugene, Oregon, and UO in the fall.