By STEVE KRAH
These are three of the building blocks for South Vermillion High School baseball.
“Attitude’s such a big thing,” says Wildcats head coach Tim Terry. “They pick each other up (and don’t point fingers when things don’t go their way). Once everybody starts doing that, that attitude is catching and they don’t stay down.”
During the season, the team comes to school early to get in some hitting practice.
“The kids work pretty hard,” says Terry. “We hit every morning. We probably take at least 100 cuts before school starts. That has a lot to do with our success.”
The Wildcats went 20-4 in 2017 and followed that up with 27-4 in 2018. The 2017 squad set a school record for consecutive victories with 15. With six starters moved on, the 2018 team won the first 20 games of the season and went on to earn the program’s ninth sectional championship and seventh on Terry’s watch.
“I’ve got an advantage because with a lot of these players, their dads played for me I’ve been around so long,” says Terry, who has helped the Wildcats take sectional hardware in 1982, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2002 (2A), 2014 (2A) and 2018 (2A).
At the 2018 postseason banquet, Terry brought out some of those trophies for two-generation photo opportunities.
Between the genuine family atmosphere and players going out to breakfast after the early-morning hitting sessions and many of them playing in the summers together with Clinton American Legion Post 140, there is plenty of camaraderie.
“We had real good unity,” says Terry of the 2018 squad, which featured four seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. “Everybody accepted their roles and I didn’t have to worry one bit about that kind of stuff.
“In this day and age, those kids are hard to find. (Many) think they ought to be varsity players as soon as they walk up. That’s not the case if you want to have a good program.”
One this year’s seniors — Indiana State University-bound third baseman/pitcher Matthew Panagouleas — was selected to play in the 2018 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series in South Bend.
Matthew’s father, Steve Panagouleas, played for Terry. Steve’s connection to First National Bank and helped get a donation of a $16,000 scoreboard to South Vermillion baseball.
Assisting Tim Terry are oldest son T.J. Terry (a former outfielder and pitcher) and Brian Pestoff.
Cooper Terry (a pitcher, shortstop and outfielder) is heading into his senior year and Easton Terry (a catcher, pitcher and first baseman) the eighth grade in 2018-19.
Most South Vermillion players grow up playing in the Clinton Little League. The three youngest Terry boys have played travel ball with the Terre Haute-based Indiana Havoc.
T.J. Terry is now the Clinton Post 140 manager with his father as an assistant coach.
Tim Terry was a three-sport athlete at Clinton High, playing football for coaches Rene Foli and Brent Anderson (South Vermillion gridders now plays on Coach Brent Anderson Field), basketball for coach Ron Henricks (the Clinton Wildcats won a Western Indiana Conference title during Terry’s prep career) and baseball for coach Don Shearer (1968-81 at Clinton/South Vermillion).
Terry went on to play baseball for coaches Jim Rendel and Bob Warn at Indiana State. His first teaching job came at Turkey Run High School in Marshall, Ind. His second year there, he became head baseball coach and was then coaxed home to join Shearer’s coaching staff at South Vermillion before taking over the reins.
For more than three decades, Terry was also head girls basketball coach at South Vermillion. He gave that up after the 2013-14 season. He has been the school’s athletic director for four-plus years.
The Wildcats are members of the Wabash River Conference (along with Attica, Covington, Fountain Central, North Vermillion, Parke Heritage, Riverton Parke and Seeger).
Tim Terry, a 1973 Clinton (Ind.) High School graduate, has been head baseball coach at South Vermillion High School since the 1982 season. (Steve Krah Photo)