BY STEVE KRAH
Four decades ago, David Bradshaw received an invitation from the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association to participate in the annual IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series.
As a left-handed pitcher at Jac-Cen-Del in Osgood, Ind., Bradshaw was selected in the 26th round of the 1979 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Montreal Expos and signed before the series as did Evansville Memorial’s Don Mattingly and Rob Jackowiak of South Bend St. Joseph’s, Keith Call of Hammond Tech, Mike Jakubowicz of Hammond Clark and Bill Fink of Greenfield-Central.
Bradshaw went on to compete in the minors with the Expos in 1979 and Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1980.
Fast forward to 2019 and Bradshaw just completed his 35th season as head coach at his alma mater and will be head coach for the South in the 2019 all-star event June 21-23 in Madison and Hanover. Practice was Friday and games are slated Saturday and Sunday at Madison Consolidated’s Gary O’Neal Field.
Why does Bradshaw stay with the game?
“I just love the game,” says Bradshaw, who has won 499 games with seven invitational tournament, six conference, eight sectional, two regional and two Final Four appearances. “When I couldn’t play it anymore, I knew I wanted to become a teacher so I could coach. It’s been a really great ride over the last three and half decades.
“I’ve coached just about everything there is a coach at Jac-Cen-Del. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Bradshaw, who led the Eagles boys basketball program to an IHSAA Class 1A state championship in 2008-09 and was head coach as recently as 2012-13, teaches physical education and health.
He points to the lessons learned on and around the court and the diamond.
“You’re going to learn so many things from athletics,” says Bradshaw. “You’re going to learn not only how to work together. You’re going to learn how to be responsible. You’re going to have to learn to become determined and focused.
“I like to see the kids come out of our program with idea that it takes teamwork for anything to happen just like it does in life.
“You can have all kinds of determination on your own, but you need to have a support system, too.
“It takes a lot of hard work and determination to get somewhere in life.”
Jac-Cen-Del (enrollment around 300) is a member of the Ohio River Valley Conference (with Milan, Rising Sun, Shawe Memorial, South Ripley, Southwestern of Hanover and Switzerland County).
The ORV plays a double round robin to determine its champion.
In 2018-19, the Eagles were part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Hauser, North Decatur, Oldenburg Academy, Rising Sun and South Decatur. Jac-Cen-Del has won eight sectional titles — the last in 2016.
The 2019 Eagles went 11-13.
“I started eight sophomores,” says Bradshaw. “I’m looking forward to the next couple years.”
Bradshaw will get to be around the all-stars for a couple days, but he has advice for them.
“I just want them to enjoy the moment,” says Bradshaw. “They must’ve done something right to get themselves here.
“They don’t bring people in that are not good people and good athletes. It’s a pleasure and an hour to be here.”
Bradshaw is proud of JCD’s home field, saying it is one of the finest in southeastern Indiana.
“We put a lot of time and effort into it,” says Bradshaw. “Everything was completely re-sodded on the inner portion of the diamond. Everything was re-done as far as the clay mixture and the meal mix.
“We put in a new backstop and new fencing in the last 10 years. For a 1A school, it’s a pretty nice field.
“(Batesville coach Justin) Tucker loves to come there and play.”
David Bradshaw has been head baseball coach at his alma mater — Jac-Cen-Del High School — for 35 years. He has won 499 games. He is head coach of the South for the 2019 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series at Madison. (Steve Krah Photo)
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