Riverview senior pitcher and third baseman Kipp Kochera received a Wade Boggs Athletic Achievement Award Honorable Mention. (Photo courtesy of the Riverview baseball program.)

Riverview High School senior pitcher and third baseman Kipp Kochera received a Wade Boggs Athletic Achievement Award Honorable Mention.

“I was in shock, there are so many kids that could have been picked, so when I found out that I won, I was just so happy and blessed that I was given the opportunity,” said Kochera. “I have put in a lot of work to get to where I’m at, so it took the words out of my mouth when I found out.”

According to the Hillsborough County website, The Wade Boggs Athletic Achievement Award honors a high school baseball player or team in Hillsborough County who displays outstanding athletic, scholastic and community achievements. Wharton High School senior Zach Erhard won the award this year and Kochera, along with Alonso High School senior Zen Hiatt, won an honorable mention.

Kochera, team captain and four-year starter, had an outstanding season with two complete games, two saves and an earned run average of 3.36 in 11 appearances and 33.1 innings pitched. He hit .310 and had a .956 fielding percentage at third base. The two-way player was the team’s closer at the beginning of the season, but later became a starting pitcher after an injury to a teammate. Kochera is an honors student with a 5.3 GPA and earned a baseball scholarship to play for Palm Beach State College and will study marine engineering.

“I will miss my guys at Riverview because I have played with a lot of them for most of my life, and valued playing with them,” said Kochera. “My next chapter at Palm Beach State College excites me a lot, and I’m looking forward to going out and competing for a starting spot and taking my baseball career as far as possible.”

Riverview Head Coach Jason Smith, who coached Kochera for two seasons, raved about his leadership. He said that his star pupil was the first player to arrive at the field to practice and was the last to leave, and he helped mentor the younger players as well.

“Kipp was somebody that I knew would be reliable and give me seven innings on the mound even if he was tired,” said Smith. “He’s a team-first player and was very reliable in the field at third base, making very few errors. He’s also a very smart ballplayer with a high baseball IQ. He earned this award, and I’m very happy for him. It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”

The Board of County Commissioners established the award in 2005 in honor of first-ballot National Baseball Hall of Fame member Wade Boggs. A resident of the Tampa Bay area since he was a boy, Boggs is a 12-time all-star who ended his 18-year Major League Baseball career as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and retired his number 12 in 2000.

“I want to thank my dad, my brothers and my family for everything they have helped me get through and overcome,” said Kochera. “I am very fortunate and blessed to be in the position that I am in, and I can’t wait to go and make my family proud in the next chapter of my life.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.