By STEVE KRAH
Confidence and consistency.
They are the foundation of the baseball program Bruce Stanley has built as head coach at Shenandoah High School in Middletown, Ind.
Taking a cue from Tug McGraw and Stanley’s last college coach, Rich Maloney, the Raiders carry the motto: Ya Gotta Believe!
“I’m big on consistency. Make the routine play. Throw strikes. It’s basic things of baseball like competing and believing in yourself,” says Stanley, who enters his fifth season as head coach in 2019. The 1993 Shenandoah graduate has also also served two stints as an assistant at his alma mater. “Everything you attack in life, you gotta believe you’re going to do it and do it well.”
Shenandoah (enrollment around 450) is a member of the Mid-Eastern Conference (with Blue River Valley, Cowan, Daleville, Eastern Hancock, Monroe Central, Randolph Southern, Union of Modoc and Wapahani).
MEC teams play each other one time to determine the conference champion. The Raiders joined the league in 2017-18. Stanley says plans call for conference games to be played on Tuesdays and Thursdays in 2021.
Among Shenandoah’s non-conference foes are Alexandra-Monroe, Anderson, Centerville, Frankton, Hagerstown, Jay County, Mt. Vernon (Fortville), Muncie Central, New Castle, Pendleton Heights, Richmond, Rushville and Wes-Del.
The Raiders are part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Frankton, Lapel, Monroe Central, Muncie Burris and Wapahani. Shenandoah has won 12 sectional titles — the last in 2006.
Stanley’s assistant coaches are Ryan Painter (varsity) and Rusty Conner (junior varsity). The Raiders normally have about 30 players in the program each spring.
Shenandoah plays home games on its campus at the Dale Green Field complex. In recent years, the facility has gotten new dugouts, a new backstop and fencing has been replaced. This spring will bring a new scoreboard.
The feeder system for the high school includes Little League and Babe Ruth program in Middletown and several travel baseball organizations, including the Indiana Bulls, Indiana Longhorns, Indiana Nitro, Indiana Premier, Indiana Prospects and Midwest Astros.
Stanley, who was chosen for the 1993 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series, was selected three times in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — 1993 by the Pittsburgh Pirates (41st round), 1996 by the Baltimore Orioles (11th round) and 1997 by the Kansas City Royals (18th round).
The right-handed pitcher says the first time he was drafted, he planned to go to college (he earned four letters at Ball State University). The second time the money wasn’t right and the third time he decided it was time to move on and start a family.
Bruce and Holly Stanley, who attended Shenandoah and Ball State together, have two children — Cy (18) and Meg (15). Cy Stanley is a freshman left-handed pitcher at Taylor University. Meg is a sophomore softball player at Shenandoah.
Other recent Raider player now in college baseball is shortstop-second baseman Max McKee (Indiana University Kokomo).
Current Shenandoah senior pitchers — left-hander Hadden Myers (Indiana Tech) and right-hander Gavin Patrick (Wabash College for baseball and football) — are also college-bound.
Pat Quinn was Ball State’s head coach when Stanley arrived in Muncie.
Stanley appreciates the way Quinn instilled work ethic and competitiveness.
“(Quinn) was a big influence,” says Stanley. “He showed me how to go about things in a professional way.
“He brought intensity to the game. It really helped me be successful.”
Stanley says Maloney was also intense and set expectations high.
“He was good at bringing about the family atmosphere,” says Stanley. “We were working for each other. He was a great mentor, leader and father figure.
“I’d have run through a wall for him repeatedly.”
Stanley has been a teacher for 20 years. He spent 14 years at South View Elementary in Muncie and is in his sixth year as a special education teacher at Shenandoah.
Bruce Stanley (left) coached his son at Shenandoah High School in Middleton, Ind. Cy Stanley (right) now plays for Taylor University.
Holly and Bruce Stanley both attended Shenandoah High School and Ball State University. The couple have two children — Cy and Meg. Bruce is head baseball coach and a special education teacher at Shenandoah.
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