Student-Athletes

A league of his own

Humble catcher from California wins with heart and hustle

Recognized at Washington for his acrobatic plays and hot bat, catcher Johnny Tincher has come to earn the respect of teammates, coaches and fans. However, there is one fan in particular who inspires Johnny the most: his little brother, Adam.

Even though they are separated by thousands of miles, the bond Johnny has with his 8-year-old brother transcends any distance. “Baseball brings us together,” explains Johnny. “My brother has told me that he wants to follow in my footsteps and be a catcher. That motivates me to be the best player and role model I can be.”

Often dismissed, and even heckled, due to his 5-foot-8 frame, Johnny is determined to show his brother and other young athletes that heart is all that matters. “Negativity about my height just gives me the motivation to show what I can do,” explains Johnny. “I’m not afraid of competition. I believe anything is possible if you work hard and want it more than every other player on the field.”

This tenacity and determination led to a breakout season last year, with Johnny moving from limited playing time to a more pivotal role. He finished second on the team with a .314 batting average and a .393 OBP, and he earned All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors. His success is made possible thanks to an endowed scholarship and the support of many generous donors.

For Johnny, his perseverance is modeled after the love and dedication of his family who live in California. “Growing up, my parents did everything to support our dreams,” explains Johnny, who also has three sisters. “Even after a long day at work, they still found a way to take everyone to practice. My mom would jump in the car to take me to Baseball, then take my sisters to Softball, and then Dad would pick everyone up. They had a whole routine.”

While distance makes it hard for his family to see him play in person, “I’m just glad they always find a way to watch the games, whether online, on the phone or on the TV.” They make it a point to try to see all the California games they can, even when his mom was recovering from back surgery and in a wheelchair. She didn’t want to miss Johnny’s first season opener start, so she drove to watch it with Johnny’s dad and brother when they faced Cal Poly last season. He was also elated when his whole family finally got to see him play in person when UW traveled to California to battle USC. “I hit a home run and got chills as I ran the bases, knowing they were in the stands.”

Recently, Johnny has been able to turn his passion for helping young athletes into action. Through Montlake Futures, he volunteered with “Shoes That Fit” to deliver athletic shoes to local elementary school students in need. Something as simple as a new, properly fitting pair of shoes can boost students’ self-esteem, improve academic success and increase activity levels.

“The experience was amazing, and it really meant a lot to me,” explains Johnny. “Being able to help kids find that confidence.”

Looking ahead, Johnny is excited for the upcoming season and dreams of playing professionally after college. “Baseball is my life,” he says. “I love the sport and want to continue to be an inspiration for my brother and other young athletes.”

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