By STEVE KRAH
His grandparents lived right across the center field fence and did not have to travel far to check out the action on Tiger Field.
P.J. graduated from Yorktown in 1989 and brother Gabe in 1994. Both played baseball for the green and white.
Decades later, P.J. is back at that same field as Tigers head coach. He was preceded by Mike Larrabee.
After head coaching stops at two other Delaware Country school (IHSAA 1A Wes-Del from 1998-2001 and 4A/3A Muncie Southside from 2004-11) and plenty of travel baseball experience, the 2017 season was his first leading the program at his alma mater.
Fauquher coached Wes-Del to a sectional championship in his first season leading the Warriors.
When he arrived at Southside, the once-strong Rebels (future big league pitcher Richie Lewis went to Southside in the 1980’s) had fallen on hard times and went 1-28 the season in 2003.
“We took a lot of work to try to re-build that program,” says Fauquher of a school which closed its doors at the end of the 2013-14 school year. “But the feeder system dried up. Players did not have much experience before high school. We did not have great numbers.”
Thanks to his involvement with the Yorktown Junior Athletic Association League (ages 8-13) travel team, Yorktown Middle School program and future and current YHS players on his Indiana Prospects travel team, this is far from the case at Yorktown High.
“I coached almost every kid in our program when I got there,” says Fauquher, who followed Mike Larrabee as Top Tiger and credits his job as senior consultant at Ontario Systems for his coaching flexibility and availability. “I didn’t know any of the players going into Wes-Del and Muncie South. We were stockpiled good talent at the high school level.
“We have two goals: win championships and develop young players as well,” says Fauquher. “It’s about being a great teammate.”
His 2017 Yorktown squad sported 10 seniors and 10 juniors and a large freshmen class while the Tigers won the school’s second baseball sectional crown in three seasons. Some of the players are sons of people that were in school at the same time as Fauquher.
Several other Yorktown graduates went on to college baseball, including Clay Dungan (Indiana State University), Cole Barr (Indiana University), Jordan Coleman (Manchester University), Brady Horine (Indiana Wesleyan University), Brody Mariotti (Concordia University in Illinois). Though they are not now playing there, Jake Preston went to Purdue University and Jake Clawson to Ball State University.
P.J.’s parents — Terry and Connie — are Yorktown graduates. So is sister Cherish and wife Lori (Class of 1990). P.J. and Lori also have an 11-year-old daughter — Addie.
Fauquher played for Chris Goodwin at Yorktown and learned the importance of working hard and not getting too high or too low.
“He got us to play through the ups and downs of the game and was always supportive,” says Fauquher, who saw his old coach at a Tigers game in 2017.
P.J. played at Manchester College (now Manchester University). Jeff Hood was the Spartans head coach his freshmen season and Rob Hammond the last three.
Greg Miller and Nick Hollowell are expected back as Yorktown baseball assistants in 2018.
The HHC plays Friday night varsity doubleheaders with JV doubleheaders on Saturday.
As for beloved Tiger Field, where the county tournament and sectional has been held for a long time, there are plans to re-build the mound and upgrade the batting cage area in right field. In recent seasons, netting and a block wall replaced the chain-link backstop.
“It’s been a nice field for so long,” says Fauquher. “We’ve had to take care of it.”
Fauqhers after Yorktown High School’s 2017 sectional baseball championship (from left): Quin, P.J. and Evan.