An unlikely story of friendship, fandom, and family. Omaha Airbnb rental hosts first guests,
Family of 2018 CWS star Trevor Larnach.
Mary E Mahowald
Theresa and Mike Kokesh owned and managed a rental home in the Millard (South West Omaha) area for the past 18 years. When their tenant of 10 years moved out, they decided to do a complete and total home renovation. With the explosion of Vacation Home Rentals entering the marketplace, they opted to take the risk and make the shift in business plan.
Mike, the ultimate DIYer undertook the renovation himself, with the help of a few contractors, Theresa and the kids. It took nearly an entire year to complete the project from top to bottom, including removal of the deck and the pouring of a new concrete patio.
The Kokesh’s made the last-minute decision to post the rental on Airbnb before they headed out of town on Vacation, knowing the CWS was coming and they didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get their rental to market. They had purchased only a sparse amount of furniture. with more on order.
The Kokesh family was exploring the Smithsonian Museum in DC with their brother and sister-in-law, when Theresa’s phone buzzed. She received the first notification of an “instant booking,” followed almost immediately by a personal message from the potential guest.
A little shocked that their first rental attempt had been booked so quickly, Theresa read the personalized message Jeannine had sent. It went something like this: “I am a mom, Jeannine Yore, and my son will be playing in the College World Series. We will have a variety of family members coming to visit, watch Trevor play, and celebrate his success!” She had also instantly booked for a dozen nights, and requested a little flexibility. Jeannine knew all to well the volatility of the tournament, and that, like last year, her son’s team, family in-tow, could be sent packing after any game.
Theresa, neither a baseball fan, nor a gambler, brought the proposal to her husband and business partner, Mike. It was a “Hard No” for him. Mike did not want to risk his guests being sent home, leaving them with an empty rental house for the rest of the series. Theresa, the risk averse bean-counter persuaded Mike to have a little faith and take the leap.
The Kokesh’s arrived home from vacation and had approximately 1 week ‘til the ETA of their very first guests. There was so much to do! Most of the furniture still needed picked up, and moved in, the mattresses were still in packaging, décor items and some of the furniture had yet to be purchased, the house was just not ready. They worked tirelessly throughout the week, Theresa after work, and they even recruited some other family members to help.
Just like an HGTV home reno show, the Kokesh family was tying up loose knots on the last night before check-in. A fabulous decorator, Theresa, worked feverishly to clean, wash all the bedding (she had just bought), make all the beds, hang the artwork, and perfect the decor. Mike and some nephews were moving in the last pieces of furniture, when they ran into a snag. The couch would not fit down the staircase, it wouldn’t pivot. They needed a plan B. Right now. They quickly decided to move the couch back up the stairs, out the door, onto the truck, and into their garage, 8 miles away. Improvising, they borrowed the chairs from own living room, as to offer seating for their guests in the game room. The entire family burned the midnight oil at the rental, working on the final touches.
A Nebraska themed rental, the hosts stocked the pantry and refrigerator with the basics: milk, bread, and eggs, and included some local favorites: Theresa’s favorite local brew: Infusion Brewery’s Vanilla Bean Blonde and muffins from the local Summer Kitchen Café and Bakery. They were finally ready and left the house just moments before their guest’s Friday arrival.
Theresa’s daughter Liz was scheduled to perform a baton routine with her team at the opening ceremonies and after chatting a bit, before arrival, Theresa offered to pick up her new friend Jeannine to attend the opening ceremonies together.
The two moms hit things off immediately. They chatted about both families, and Jeannine talked about her family’s extensive athletic history and ability. Of course, her son, Trevor Larnach was brought up. The right-handed outfielder, left-handed hitter, was a force to be reckoned with at the plate, and was having an amazing season!
Nicknamed “The Big Bat,” she pointed out his picture that hung on the wall in TD Ameritrade Park. She talked about his college accomplishments, that he was a 40th round draft pick in ‘15, his short 2017 visit to the series, and his recent first round-20th draft pick by the Minnesota Twins! She mused about how he was “really due for a big home run!”
At this point, in addition to making a fabulous new friend, Theresa began to see a bigger picture of a world that was foreign to her. Omaha native, Kokesh had never attended even a single CWS session, but began to realize that this guy is “kind of a big deal!”
Starting Saturday, the rental became a revolving door for family and close friends of Jeannine and Trevor. Siblings, Grandma, extended family, girlfriend, Dad, and Step-Dad all came to watch and support their boy! Trevor’s aunt, Benedictine Sister CC, the Hula-Dancing-Nun stole the show!
Mike was on-edge after the first game of the Series was an upset. OSU lost to North Carolina by 2 runs, and he was sure his new listing would soon be vacant. Mid-series, nonetheless. Jeannine, however, was not stressed at all, and assured Theresa not to worry. “That’s how they play, that they’re a come-back team.” Mike was less optimistic.
Theresa purchased tickets for her first ever CWS session thinking it may be their last chance to get to see Trevor play. The Beavers made their second appearance of the series, but halfway through the game, there was a major weather delay. One of the many that year. The Kokesh’s were unable to wait out the delay, knowing that OSU hadn’t showed up so far in the game. They left the ballpark fearing a loss both for their new friends and for their rental.
Just as Jeannine predicted, they were, in fact a come-back team, and ended up winning the game 14-5, sending Washington packing.
Theresa, who had never previously attended a game, and Mike who had been to only a couple, vowed to go to each Beaver’s game of the series, as it could be the last. Jeannine had a couple extra family tickets, when they could spare them. They alternated between sitting in the family section, and box seats.
Theresa the fashionista, and avid Orange-refuser, settled on some sporting some orange beads and Leis-which were perfectly appropriate considering Trevor’s Hawaiian heritage. They shared with Larnach’s family, and all wore them the remainder of the tourney.
The Kokesh’s kept their vow and made it to every single game! OSU went on to beat the Tar Heels for a second time, and Mississippi State twice, before advancing.
As the stay endured, Trevor’s family were welcome recipients of doorstop gift and beer drops. The family, especially Trevor, enjoyed their quiet time away from Downtown, the crowds, and the fans, and instead dined on home-cooked meals, and BBQs on the new patio, prepared by his loving Mom.
The OSU Beavers had made it to the finals, but Mother Nature, again did not cooperate. The first game of the finals was postponed an entire day due to storms. On Tuesday, the Beavers battled the Arkansas Razorbacks. Theresa was annoyed, to say the least by the pig-calling fans. Soooooooo-ie! The Beavers lost by 3. One more loss and they too would be on their way home.
Wednesday Game 2 of the finals, June 27th, 2018. Bottom of the 9th, and up 3-2, The Razorbacks where already planning their victorious dogpile. The Beavers had a runner on 3rd, and 2 outs. Cayden Grenier of OSU was at bat. A POP-FLY! Right down the first base line. Cake. But wait, there was an error, and the ball dropped. Cayden dashed to first, securing the tying run. And guess who was next in the batting order?
That’s right. Now a tied game, with 2 outs. Our boy Trevor Larnach steps up to the plate, and after two pitches that missed their mark, Larnach likes the third, a low fastball. He drops it past the fence in right field for a 2-run homer, his nineteenth of the season, ensuring a third and final winner-takes-all game!
After this amazing Game 2 comeback, the Kokesh’s were finally able to meet their new hero and friend: #11 Trevor Larnach! The girls were amazed at how humble (and TALL) he was! The gracious college junior, coming off the high of a pivotal, game-winning home run, thanks MY sister for being so kind and accommodating to his mom and family!
Game 3. The Beavers clinched 5 unanswered runs for the win! The 2018 Men’s College World Series Champs, the OSU Beavers! Oregon State, 3-time National Champs are among only 3 teams in history to lose the first game of the series and come back to win it all!
1 Year Later: Where are They Now?
Larnach has played for Twins feeder teams, the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League, a Rookie Level team, advanced to A, and now an A Advanced team, the Fort Myers Miracle. Trevor has a notable 36 batted in runs, and an impressive .318 batting average, ranking him 5th in his league for the 2019 season thus far (as of 06.23.2019).
In his junior year “Larnach went from a contributing player on a good team to a breakout star on a national title contender. He hit .348/.463/.652 with 19 home runs and 19 doubles.” Christie ended his article noting that “Larnach’s bat might be strong enough to push any player out of his way.”Cody Christie in Minor Leagues, The Twins Daily 2019 (02.11.2019) Top Prospects: #4 Trevor Larnach.
“Larnach’s 19 home runs and 77 RBIs rank second all-time at OSU in a season.” He goes on to say the 2018 team records were the best overall in the school history.Bob Lundeberg, OSU baseball: Beavers finish the job,win third CWS title (07.02.2019) states
Oregon State’s 2019 Roster lost some key players from the previous year and was unable to duplicate 2018’s success. They didn’t make it past regionals this time. The Razorbacks made a comeback but were eliminated after their first 2 games.
The best first guests ever! The Kokesh’s have remained friends with Jeannine to this day and follow Trevor’s career in the media.
With mementos of the first visitors, CWS baseball memorabilia, and a baseball theme, the downstairs game room of the rental now has its own very unique personality and story to share.
The home rental can be found at Airbnb and VRBO. The Kokesh’s have never received less than a 5-star (the highest) rating on either site and the home has consistently ranked in the top 20 (of 500) in Omaha since it’s 2018 debut.