By STEVE KRAH
Catcher has been Canton Terry’s primary position since he began playing baseball as a boy at Clinton (Ind.) Little League.
He backstopped Babe Ruth League teams in Terre Haute, Ind., and at South Vermillion High School in Clinton, the second of four Terry brothers to playing for father Tim Terry. There’s T.J. (24), Canton (21), Cooper (19) and Easton (15).
Canton’s high school days also saw him catch two travel ball summers each for the Matt Merica-coached Indiana Thunder and Tony Smodilla-coached Indiana Havoc.
At present, Terry is a lefty-batting catcher/designated hitter at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. The 2020 season was his third for head coach Jake Martin’s Little Giants.
“The catcher controls the game almost more than the pitcher does,” says Terry. “It comes down to good quality pitch calling. My whole career I’ve always called all the pitches. I take take a lot of pride in it. I take every pitch into consideration and how the batter did the previous at-bat and what pitches are working for (the pitcher).”
Terry has an aptitude for remembering what batters did within a game.
“I see how he handled the last pitch or even how his confidence looks at the plate,” says Terry. “Where they have their hands to load the swing (also comes into play).
“We definitely don’t give them their cream-of-the-crop pitch, but try to keep them off-balance.”
Sometimes, Terry puts on an auto-shake for the pitcher. He will appear to shake off the sign when he really intends to throw — for instance — a first-pitch fastball.
“Having him do that can throw off the batter,” says Terry.
Like he has for years, Canton also had a brother for a teammate. The 2019-20 school year was Cooper Terry’s freshmen year at Wabash.
“I helped him raise expectations and know what level of play he needs to get to,” says Canton of Cooper. “I also showed him the do’s and don’ts of college.
“Wabash is a pretty academically-rigorous school. You have to put in hard work.”
Canton’s leadership was not contained to his brother.
“I try to lead by example and not try to cut anything short,” says Terry, who notes that the Little Giants were still getting into the weight room and working out in the winter when coaches were not allowed to be a part of it. “Putting in the hard work it takes to make a championship level team.”
The COVID-19 pandemic halted the 2020 season for Wabash (6-2) in March and Terry started in three games and finished with a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 with 11 putouts and two assists.
During the shutdown, he stayed ready for his next baseball opportunity and is now with the Nighthawks in the 12-team College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. He drives two hours from Clinton twice a week to play for the team that has Anderson University assistant John Becker as head coach.
“It’s been an awesome opportunity to get a lot of playing time and a lot of at-bats,” says Terry. “I’m with a great group of guys.
“I don’t think we’ve had a single bad game with chemistry.”
Terry played in 14 games with three starts as a Wabash freshmen in 2018. He hit .313 (5-of-16) and drove in five runs while reaching base at a .476 clip. In 2019, he got into 36 games with 29 starts and hit .318 (28-of-88) with one home run, 19 RBIs and a .462 on-base percentage.
All the while he’s enjoyed playing for Martin.
“He’s been a really good coach,” says Terry. “He’s definitely a coach that cares for his players — in and outside of baseball.”
This summer has not all been about the diamond for Terry. There is also an eight-week internship with a Neuroscience professor, doing online research.
“We’re studying impulsivity for quitting smoking and other addictive behaviors,” says Terry, a Psychology major and Biology minor.
Terry started on a path to be a double major in Physics and Math before taking and enjoying a neuroscience class.
When the Wabash campus was closed, Terry came home and finished his spring courses online.
It was not easy having to focus that long with five other people in the house, including three rambunctious brothers.
“There are a lot more benefits to in-person (learning),” says Terry. “Wabash has one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios in the country. Overall, the learning experience is a lot more successful and functional in-person.”
On-campus classes at Wabash is scheduled to resume Aug. 12.
Terry is a 2017 graduate of South Vermillion. He earned 10 varsity letters — four in baseball and two each in cross country, soccer and basketball.
“I’ve been asked a lot about playing for my dad,” says Terry. “It wasn’t weird to me. I was always at high school baseball practices. It’s just the norm. There were no problems or issues.”
But expectations are higher.
“Being a coach’s son, you expected to give the hardest effort and have the most perfection,” says Terry. “That helped me.”
In 2017, senior class president and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader Terry hit .612 and was named district player of the year, first-team all-state and to the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series. He was also team MVP and team captain for the second straight year. In 2016, he was on the all-Western Indiana Conference team and led the WIC in hitting (.490). He was South Vermillion’s rookie of the year in 2015.
Canton played soccer for Juan Montanez and basketball for Phil Leonard as a freshman and sophomore and ran cross country for Mike Costello as a junior and Kent Musall as a senior.
“I had several concussions in sports so I focused mainly on baseball,” says Terry. “As a catcher I always have a helmet on — on defense or batting.”
Tim Terry, who is also South Vermillion’s athletic director, was the South head coach and T.J. Terry was an assistant for the 2019 IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series in Madison.
Kim Terry, Tim’s wife and the mother of the four boys, is a science teacher at SVHS.