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NAIA conference tournaments this week


The postseason has arrived for the state’s NAIA baseball teams.
Conference tournaments are this week for qualifying teams while the 2023 slate ended for a few others.
The Crossroads League tournament is scheduled for Wednesday through Monday, May 3-8 at Huntington.
Two play-in games are May 3 — No. 6 Spring Arbor vs. No. 7 Grace at noon, followed by No. 5 Mount Vernon Nazarene vs. No. 8 Bethel.
Double-elimination is slated May 5-8, beginning May 5 with No. 2 Huntington vs. the best seed from the play-in games at 11 a.m., followed by No. 1 Taylor (the regular-season champions) vs. the worst seed from the play-in games and No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan vs. No. 4 Saint Francis.
Marian and Goshen did not make the tournament field.
Indiana Tech is the No. 5 seed in the six-team Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament.
Concordia and Madonna host pool play May 4-5. Indiana Tech is in the pool with Concordia and Lawrence Tech.
A best-of-three championship series is May 8-9.
Tyler Yotkewich threw a no-hitter as visiting Indiana University Southeast beat Brescia 5-0 in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday, April 29 and clinched a three-way tie atop the River States Conference. Indiana University Purdue University-Columbus — which will compete in the RSC in the future — concluded the program’s first season.
The Grenadiers move on to the six-team RSC tournament May 4-7 in Chillicothe, Ohio as the No. 3 seed. IU-Kokomo is No. 4 seed and Oakland City No. 6.
Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament is in two stages — May 4-5 and May 8-9 at Joliet, Ill.
Saint Francis (Ill.) and Saint Ambrose are the top two seeds. No. 4 IU South Bend and No. 8 Calumet of St. Joseph are a part of the field.
The Crossroads, WHAC, RSC and CCAC will all send two teams to the NAIA Opening Round and a shot at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.

With the 2023 regular season winding down, 18 teams have already matched or surpassed their 2022 win total.
There’s Huntington (35 > 27), Indiana Tech (32 = 32), Indiana Wesleyan (32 > 31), Indiana (31 > 27), Indianapolis (29 > 21), Indiana State (28 > 26), Saint Francis (27 = 27), Indiana University-Kokomo (27 > 26), Ivy Tech Northeast (26 > 16), Vincennes (25 > 21), Wabash (22 > 20), Indiana University South Bend (21 > 16), Grace (21 > 17), Manchester (19 > 10), Bethel (19 > 17), Calumet of St. Joseph (17 > 16), Trine (14 = 14) and Marian’s Ancilla (8 = 8).

The state’s longest current win streaks belong to Huntington (6), Indianapolis (6), IU-Kokomo (3), IU Southeast (3) and Indiana Tech (3).

A glance at the NCAA Division I RPI (Rating Percentage Index) rankings through April 30 finds Wake Forest as the overall No. 1.
Among the state’s schools, Indiana State is No. 10, Indiana No. 30, Notre Dame No. 41, Evansville No. 68, Valparaiso No. 93, Ball State No. 106, Purdue No. 199, Butler No. 240, Purdue Fort Wayne No. 266 and Southern Indiana No. 282.

Below are season records, weekly results and links to web pages, schedules and statistics for all 39 programs.

Records Through April 30

Indiana 31-14 (9-6 Big Ten)
Indiana State 28-13 (16-2 MVC)
Ball State 28-15 (15-6 MAC)
Notre Dame 25-17 (13-11 ACC)
Evansville 25-18 (9-9 MVC)
Purdue 21-22 (10-8 Big Ten)
Valparaiso 16-19 (7-11 MVC)
Southern Indiana 15-28 (6-12 OVC)
Purdue Fort Wayne 10-35 (6-15 Horizon)
Butler 9-34 (2-10 Big East)

Schedule Links
Ball State
Indiana State
Notre Dame
Purdue Fort Wayne
Southern Indiana

Stat Links
Ball State
Indiana State
Notre Dame
Purdue Fort Wayne
Southern Indiana

Indianapolis 29-16 (14-14 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 12-31 (7-19 GLIAC)

Schedule Links
Purdue Northwest

Stat Links
Purdue Northwest

Franklin 27-9 (15-3 HCAC)
Wabash 22-14 (6-6 NCAC)
Anderson 19-15 (8-8 HCAC)
Earlham 19-15 (9-9 HCAC)
Manchester 19-16 (10-8 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 18-18 (10-8 HCAC)
Trine 14-22 (5-13 MIAA)
Hanover 12-21 (6-10 HCAC)
DePauw 11-22 (3-9 NCAC)

Schedule Links

Stat Links

Taylor 37-13 (30-6 CL)
Huntington 35-14 (27-9 CL)
Indiana Tech 32-15 (18-12 WHAC)
Indiana Wesleyan 32-17-1 (26-10 CL)
IU Southeast 30-18 (20-7 RSC)
Oakland City 30-19 (10-11 RSC)
IU-Kokomo 27-19 (17-10 RSC)
Saint Francis 27-23 (21-15 CL)
IU South Bend 21-23 (15-10 CCAC)
Grace 21-26 (13-23 CL)
Bethel 19-29 (12-24 CL)
Calumet of St. Joseph 17-30-1 (9-17-1 CCAC)
Marian 17-31 (11-25 CL)
Goshen 10-38 (6-30 CL)
IUPU-Columbus 5-41

Schedule Links
Calumet of St. Joseph
IU South Bend
IU Southeast
Indiana Tech
Indiana Wesleyan
Oakland City
Saint Francis

Stat Links
Calumet of St. Joseph
IU South Bend
IU Southeast
Indiana Tech
Indiana Wesleyan
Oakland City
Saint Francis

Junior College
Ivy Tech Northeast 26-15
Vincennes 21-27 (9-15 MWAC)
Marian’s Ancilla 8-34 (7-14 MCCAA)

Schedule Links
Ivy Tech Northeast
Marian’s Ancilla

Stat Links
Ivy Tech Northeast
Marian’s Ancilla

Through April 30
Monday, April 24

Indiana State 7, Southern Illinois 2

Tuesday, April 25
Indiana 9, Ball State 8
Eastern Illinois 11, Butler 2
Evansville 9, Lipscomb 3
Michigan State 12, Notre Dame 5
Southern Indiana 17, McKendree 7

Wednesday, April 26
Miami (Ohio) 8, Purdue 4
Dayton 11, Purdue Fort Wayne 10

Friday, April 28
Creighton 16, Butler 3
Evansville 2, Indiana State 1
Maryland 13, Indiana 2
Florida State 3, Notre Dame 2
Purdue 6, Rutgers 1
Northern Kentucky 13, Purdue Fort Wayne 8
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 10, Southern Indiana 3
Missouri State 4, Valparaiso 3 (10 inn.)

Saturday, April 29
Ball State 10, Bowling Green 8
Bowling Green 7, Ball State 3
Creighton 5, Butler 3
Indiana State 7, Evansville 4
Maryland 18, Indiana 2
Notre Dame 12, Florida State 2
Purdue 6, Rutgers 3
Northern Kentucky 23, Purdue Fort Wayne 15
Southern Indiana 12, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 5
Missouri State 12, Valparaiso 2 (7 inn.)

Sunday, April 30
Ball State 6, Bowling Green 4
Creighton 6, Butler 3
Indiana State 10, Evansville 4
Maryland 14, Indiana 8
Notre Dame 12, Florida State 8
Rutgers 9, Purdue 5
Northern Kentucky 18, Purdue Fort Wayne 12
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 14, Southern Indiana 4
Missouri State 9, Valparaiso 6

Tuesday, April 25

Indianapolis 11, Kentucky Wesleyan 10
Lewis 5, Purdue Northwest 1

Friday, April 28
Indianapolis at 19, Rockhurst 5

Saturday, April 29
Indianapolis 12, Rockhurst 2
Rockhurst 4, Indianapolis 3
Saginaw Valley State 4, Purdue Northwest 3
Saginaw Valley State 6, Purdue Northwest 5

Sunday, April 30
Indianapolis 6, Rockhurst 2
Purdue Northwest 5, Saginaw Valley State 3
Purdue Northwest 11, Saginaw Valley State 2

Tuesday, April 25

Wabash 14, Earlham 13
Spalding 18, Hanover 6 (8 inn.)

Wednesday, April 26
Heidelberg 7, Anderson 4
DePauw 16, Rose-Hulman 6

Thursday, April 27
Albion 2, Trine 0
Albion 10, Trine 0

Saturday, April 29
Anderson 11, Rose-Hulman 4
Anderson 9, Rose-Hulman 5
Kenyon 15, DePauw 5 (8 inn.)
Kenyon 13, DePauw 7
Mount St. Joseph 5, Earlham 3
Earlham 6, Mount St. Joseph 3
Franklin 18, Bluffton 8
Franklin 10, Bluffton 5
Manchester 7, Hanover 4
Hanover 16, Manchester 7
Wabash 13, Oberlin 6

Sunday, April 30
Heidelberg 17, DePauw 5 (7 inn.)
Earlham 7, Rose-Hulman 3
Rose-Hulman 16, Earlham 9
Franklin 11, Manchester 6
Manchester 12, Franklin 5
Albion 7, Trine 5
Oberlin 12, Wabash 8

Monday, April 24

Huntington 6, Goshen 5
Goshen at Huntington
Spring Arbor 7, Grace
Grace 5, Spring Arbor 0
Cumberland 14, IU Southeast 10
Saint Francis (Ind.) 5, Marian 1
Marian 1, Saint Francis (Ind.) 0

Tuesday, April 25
Trinity International 13, Calumet of St. Joseph 12
Lourdes 13, IUPU-Columbus 1
Saint Francis (Ill.) 19, IU South Bend 7
Kentucky State 10, Oakland City 9

Wednesday, April 26
Northwestern Ohio 7, Indiana Tech 5
Northwestern Ohio 4, Indiana Tech 1

Thursday, April 27
Grace 7, Bethel 3
Bethel 3, Grace 1
Taylor 15, Goshen 1
Taylor 11, Goshen 5
Spring Arbor 5, Indiana Wesleyan 4 (13 inn.)
Indiana Wesleyan 4, Spring Arbor 0
Oakland City 3, Point Park 2
Point Park 3, Oakland City 0
Saint Francis (Ind.) 10, Mount Vernon Nazarene 0 ( 7 inn.)
Saint Francis (Ind.) 7, Mount Vernon Nazarene 3

Friday, April 28
Judson 10, Calumet of St. Joseph 6
Huntington 6, Marian 5
Huntington 5, Marian 2
IU-Kokomo 5, Rio Grande 4
Grace Christian 17, IUPU-Columbus 15
IUPU-Columbus 17, Grace Christian 5
IU South Bend 7, Roosevelt 4
IU Southeast 16, Brescia 3 (7 inn.)
Indiana Wesleyan 10, Spring Arbor 8
Spring Arbor 4, Indiana Wesleyan 3

Saturday, April 29
Grace 6, Bethel 3
Bethel 16, Grace 13
Calumet 5, St. Joseph at Judson 4
Calumet of St. Joseph 9, Judson 9, tie (10 inn.)
Taylor 8, Goshen 4
Goshen 9, Taylor 8
Huntington 12, Marian 2 (7 inn.)
Huntington 16, Marian 5 (5 inn.)
IU-Kokomo 12, Rio Grande 5
IU-Kokomo 8, Rio Grande 6
IUPU-Columbus 10, Grace Christian 5
IU Southeast 5, Brescia 2
IU Southeast 5, Brescia 0
Cleary 6, Indiana Tech 5 (8 inn.)
Indiana Tech 12, Cleary 9
Point Park 4, Oakland City 1
Mount Vernon Nazarene 8, Saint Francis (Ind.) 7
Mount Vernon Nazarene 15, Saint Francis (Ind.) 12

Sunday, April 30
Indiana Tech 4, Cleary 0
Indiana Tech 4, Cleary 2

Junior College
Tuesday, April 25

Jackson 1, Ivy Tech Northeast 0

Thursday, April 27
Ivy Tech Northeast 23, Northwestern Ohio JV 1
Lansing 21, Marian’s Ancilla 2
Lansing 4, Marian’s Ancilla 1

Saturday, April 29
Lansing 13, Marian’s Ancilla 2
Lansing 13, Marian’s Ancilla 6
Lewis & Clark 8, Vincennes 1
Vincennes 3, Lewis & Clark 2

Sunday, April 30
Vincennes 8, Lewis & Clark 4
Lewis & Clark 5, Vincennes 4 (9 inn.)


Five is key number for new Notre Dame head coach Stiffler


Shawn Stiffler just started his first season as head baseball coach at Notre Dame.
Addressing a room of youth and high school coaches, Stiffler took the time Monday, Feb. 20 to pass along some of his philosophy to the monthly gathering of the Cubbies Coaches Club at Four Winds Field in South Bend.
“I’m a constant learner,” said Stiffler, who took over the Irish program July 12, 2022. “I’m trying to get better at it all the time.
“But unless it can make really good sense to me, I learned very quickly to stay out of the woods on it.
“I hope that everything I tell you tonight is something you can make your own.”
Finding a plan and committing to it is key.
“If you aren’t bought into it, there’s no way you can get your team to buy into it,” said Stiffler. “I will take a poor plan well-executed over a good plan poorly-executed every day of the week.
“We might not have the best bunt defense in the world, but if we do it right we’ll get outs most of the time. I believe that wholeheartedly.
“We might not have the sexiest hitting approach in the world, but if it’s ours we’ll execute it. We can adapt and we can coach off it.”
When Stiffler was at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., he became good friends with men’s head basketball coach Shaka Smart, who took the Rams to the NCAA Final Four in 2011.
Stiffler found out that Smart (now at Marquette University) had built his program around a number and that was 17. That’s how many turnovers he needed his players to get the opponent to make.
“When they got 17 turnovers their winning percentage was over 70 percent,” said Stiffler. “When they got 16 turnovers it was less than 50 percent.
“So the number 17 was all he cared about.”
Stiffler sought out his own number. He crunched the numbers and came up with 5.
“Every time we scored five runs or more we won 87 percent of the games between 2014 and 2022,” said Stiffler. “When we scored less than five we won 34 percent of the time.
So that became the foundation of his program.
“All we have to do is get five and we have a great opportunity of winning,” said Stiffler. “How do we score five? How to we prevent five? And — most importantly — how do we practice it?”
At Notre Dame, where scouting reports are readily available, the offensive plan begins with the opposing pitcher.
“The first thing we talk about is who are we facing?,” said Stiffler. “We can we do with him?
“Is he a strike thrower? Is he velo guy that maybe doesn’t hold the strike zone? Is he a guy who really holds the running game? Can we bunt on him? Whatever it is.
“What pitch are we eliminating? What do we have to attack? You’ve got to have a game plan for your hitters. The plate is 17 inches wide. Nobody in the world can hit all 17 inches. You can’t prepare (for all pitches).”
Stiffler wants his hitters to pick a pitch and a location — inner half of outer half — where they can do damage.
“You’ve got to know what you’re hunting,” said Stiffler.
After the starter, comes the opponent’s bullpen. It might be to your advantage to wait out the starter to avoid the electric arms of the relievers. Those might be the weak link and you want to knock the starter out to guy to those arms.
“Another piece when you’re putting together a game plan to score is the catcher,” said Stiffler.
At the college level, the catcher often calls pitches, blocks them when they go in the dirt, handles the pitching staff and has the ability to dictate where the baseball is between thrown.
What are the chances you can take extra bases on the catcher?
Stiffler wants his offensive unit to score first, extend the lead, answer back right away when other team team scores, get two-out runs batted in and play for the big inning (three runs or more).
“I will do anything to grab a lead,” said Stiffler. “You win 67 percent of the games you go up 1-0. If we’ve got to safety squeeze in the first (inning) because that’s the matchup we’ll safety squeeze in the first.
“Scoring runners from third is something we talk about in our program everyday. You have to be willing to go up 1-0.”
After that comes the expanding of the lead. The goal is to get to five.
If the team falls behind, the idea is to respond right away with one run.
“If (the other team) scores four in the first, I’m not trying to get them all back (at one time),” said Stiffler. “I’m just trying to get to five because I’m going to assume you’re not getting there.”
Another key is driving in runs with two outs.
“Talk to your team about two-out RBI opportunities,” said Stiffler. “Put it in your practice. Put it in your (batting practice).
“Two-out RBIs are nail-coffin. That breaks the back (of the opponent).”
When possible, Stiffler likes his team to get the “big inning” of three runs or more.
“Big innings are the result of two things — free bases (80 percent of big innings have three or more free bases) and quality at-bats. If you have a big inning, normally you’ve had about four or five quality at-bats.
“A three-run homer doesn’t just happen.”
In review: Score first, extend, answer whenever you can, get a two-out knock and play for the big inning.
“Those are things that we can chart in our dugout everyday and our guys know it,” said Stiffler. “If we can get three of those in one game you’ll win more than 70 percent of your games.”
Stiffler has also discovered that winning teams with a big inning will often have more runs in that one frame than the other squad has in the whole game.
“You see it all the time,” said Stiffler. “You’ll lose 6-4 and give it five in one (inning).”
Free bases come via base on balls, hit by pitch, errors, stolen bases, wild pitch, passed ball and these are things the defense team can control.
When his team is in the field, Stiffler wants his pitchers to throw strikes and his defenders get sure outs.
“I’m a big believer on team defenses clarifying with your team where the out is and where we’re taking it,” said Stiffler. “We put on bunt defense, my players know exactly where they’re throwing the baseball. We’re throwing the ball to first base.
“There’s a first-and-third steal attempt or first and third break early, they know if we’re getting (the trail runner) or preventing (the lead runner) from scoring. I don’t leave them gray area to have to decide.
“We’re getting this out, And let’s be really, really good and getting that out.”
Stiffler calls batting practice at Notre Dame Irish BP (Baseball Practice).
“I don’t believe in working on the swing on the field,” said Stiffler. “I think the swing gets worked on before or after practice. At the college level, we get very little time to be with our athletes.
“When we have a two- or three-hour practice that is designed to put together a plan to win baseball games.”
Swings on the field are turned into scenario-based live at-bats and the hitters, runners and defenders are all engaged.
Stiffler is a proponent of Coach Pitch or Machine Pitch games.
“Anytime you can coach live drill is awesome,” said Stiffler.
Taking questions from the audience, Stiffler addressed topics like specialization, team chemistry and what he looks for in a recruit.
“I have so many fond memories or playing football and basketball in high school,” said Stiffler. “I can’t imagine not doing that. I can’t tell a 16-year-old to not do it.
“It’s a family decision. I haven’t gotten to the point where I believe in specialization. I think I can do it all.”
At Notre Dame, 2022 Indiana Mr. Football Drayk Bowen is on the football and baseball teams.
“You just want these young kids to be athletic and play multiple sports,” said Stiffler. “Run and jump.
“Being the guy that goes from being the star (in one sport) to being the guy who serves and has to play another role as a team player that’s value in life.”
What about knitting all those personalties and abilities together?
“(Chemistry) is everything,” said Stiffler. “That’s my job. Very rarely am I teaching grips anymore. My job is to make sure the culture is at a high level.
“The biggest thing that sets a culture in my opinion is clearly-defined roles and clearly-defined expectations.”
Stiffler wants the messaging, behaviors and expectations to remain consistent.
“You have to have a position and defense has to be an absolute priority to you,” said Stiffler.
With Link Jarrett — who addressed the Cubbies Coaches Club multiple times as a guest of Mark Haley — as head coach, the Irish went 41-17 and played in the 2022 College World Series.
The 2023 team opened the season 1-2 at Lipscomb Feb. 17-19. ND’s home game is slated for March 21 against Valparaiso. Atlantic Coast Conference for Louisville visits Frank Eck Stadium March 24-26.
Before landing at Notre Dame, Stiffler went 340-198 in 10 seasons at VCU. His teams won three Atlantic 10 regular-season championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021 and went to the NCAA Tournament in 2015, 2021 and 2022.
A graduate of Somerset (Pa.) High School and a left-handed pitcher, Stiffler was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1997 but went George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. (1998-2001) and began his coaching career in 2002 at George Mason before becoming a VCU assistant.
Shawn and Jennifer Stiffler have three children — Wade, Scout and Penn.

Shawn Stiffler. (University of Notre Dame Image)

Misfortune can’t keep Clark away from baseball


Kalib Clark has faced obstacles aplenty. But family circumstances, injuries and a pandemic have not stopped him from coming back to the game he loves.
At 24, Clark has gotten into just a handful of regular-season games and his collegiate baseball dream lives on.
After impressing this summer in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League with the Norwich (Conn.) Sea Unicorns, right-handed pitcher Clark has accepted an invitation to pitch at MidAmerica Nazarene University, an NAIA program in Olathe, Kan. The Pioneers are skippered by former Bethel University pitcher and assistant coach Ryan Thompson. Former Taylor University assistant Colton Punches is MNU’s pitching coach. Former Grace College head coach Cam Screeton is an assistant. Former Bethel player Chad Jenkins is sports information director.
How did Clark get to this point?
It’s quite a journey.
Born in Mooresville, Ind., Clark got his organized baseball start at what is now Mooresville Junior Baseball/Softball League. He played travel ball for the Indiana Outlaws (now the Canes Midwest) from 12U to 15U and the Greg Vogt-coached Indiana Bulls during his 16U and 17U summers (Clark was later an intern for Vogt at PRP Baseball). He pitched some at 13 and 14, but was primarily a catcher.
That was Clark’s main position at Plainfield (Ind.) High School, where he was on varsity for four years (2013-16) playing for Jeff McKeon’s Quakers.
“Jeff McKeon is an absolutely great dude,” says Clark. “That guy had my back all four years — no matter what.”
After high school, Clark went to Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Ky. But he only spent a couple of weeks there. In the space of about a year, he lost two grandfathers and a grandmother.
He came back home, enrolled at Ivy Tech and trained with Greg Vogt.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Greg,” says Clark. “I probably would not have got back into pitching if not for Greg.”
Clark spent the next fall with Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. After the first semester, Clark transferred to Indiana University Kokomo. In his first game with the Cougars, he blew out his Medial Collateral Ligament and also developed a shoulder impingement.
That’s when Clark left IUK and walked away from baseball completely.
Kalib Clark and Kendyl Wheeler had been dating since high school. Kalib followed the former Plainfield softball player to Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, where he studied and delivered pizzas and she a student-athlete.
On Sept. 5, 2020, the two were married. That same week, Kendyl’s father, Tim Wheeler, passed away from cancer.
All the while Kalib heard the call of baseball.
“Every time I stepped away I just couldn’t stay away,” says Clark. “I had to finish what I started.”
But it would have to be answered in a different way.
“My body can’t handle catching,” says Clark, who turned himself into a pitcher. He trained with Jordan Kraus at T3 Performance in Avon, Ohio (Cross is now at Cressy Sports Performance in Hudson, Mass.).
Clark was recruited by Post University, an NCAA Division II program in Waterbury, Conn.
Because of COVID, no students were allowed on the campus in the fall. Then spring was canceled.
“I put a petition to get the season back,” says Clark. “It didn’t go very well for me.”
When students were allowed back, the Data Analytics Applied Mathematics major got COVID in the spring and could not play.
He began training at home and throwing at The Hit Club, located on the top floor of an abandoned warehouse.
But he had nowhere to play in the summer. The righty went to a FCBL tryout in Brockton, Mass., signed a 10-day contract then a full-season pact for 2021.
In 12 games (all in relief) with the Devin Belenski-coached Sea Unicorns, FCBL all-star selection Clark went 0-1 with three saves and a 3.78 earned run average. In 16 2/3 innings, he struck out 24 and walked 14 with a 1.38 WHIP (walk and hits per innings pitched) and the league hit .158 against him. If not for his last outing when he gave up four earned runs in 2/3 of an inning, his numbers would have been even better.
Having entered the transfer portal, Clark received a number of offers. He decided on MidAmerica Nazarene, where he will be allowed to finish his undergraduate degree and begin his graduate certification while continuing to play baseball.
Clark throws a four-seam fastball, slider and change-up with a low three-quarter overhand arm slot.
“My release height is low — about five feet,” says the 5-foot-8, 160-pound Clark. “I’m still over the top.
“The difference between pitching and catching is the slope. As a catcher you’re trying to the ball off as fast as you can. As a pitcher you’re trying to delay throwing the ball as fast as you can. You want to wait until your body gets down the mound then you want to throw hard.”
Clark’s best pitch is his slider, which has been measured at 3100 rpm on Trackman. From a presentation by Rob Friedman aka the Pitching Ninja, he switched the grip on his slider to one used by big leaguer Marcus Stroman, who is 5-8 and 170.
“It’s a splitter with 16 to 18 inches of horizontal run,” says Clark. “My fastball (which sits at 88 to 90 mph) is probably my third-best pitch.”
Before heading to MNU in late August, Clark plans to be in Plainfield and reunited with training partner Daylan Nanny.
During the lockdown in 2020, Clark, Nanny and Cooper Trinkle holed up at Powerhouse in Franklin, bathing in the sink and getting in lots of reps.
“It was baseball 24/7,” says Clark. “Weren’t able to leave except to go to Walmart for a grocery stop and come back.”
Nanny has transferred from Western Carolina University to Indiana State University. Trinkle is at Saint Leo (Fla.) University.
Kalib is the youngest of trucker driver Brian Clark and elementary school teacher Celeste Clark’s two children. Sister Aerial Clark was Female Athlete of the Year at Center Grove High School, graduated from Indiana University and now works for JP Morgan Chase in Houston.

Kalib Clark (Norwich Sea Unicorns Photo)

Indiana gets first no-hitter since ’84; Ball State leads MAC


It hadn’t happened since 1984. 

Indiana University’s pitching staff produced a no-hitter in the Hoosiers’ 8-0 Big Ten baseball win Saturday, April 10 against visiting Illinois.

Starter McCade Brown went five innings and reliever Braydon Tucker four for the combined no-no. 

The 1984 IU no-hitter came against Rose-Hulman. 

Indiana (13-7) trails Nebraska (15-6) and Michigan (15-7) in the Big Ten standings. 

Ball State (19-9) has the longest current win streak among the state’s 38 college baseball programs at eight. 

Coming off a four-game sweep at Akron, the Cardinals are 10-2 and atop the Mid-American Conference standings.

Indiana State (16-8) began Missouri Valley Conference play by taking three of four games at Illinois State. The Sycamores are second in the league in terms of conference win percentage.

Evansville (18-12, 3-4) took two of three MVC contests at Bradley.

Notre Dame (15-6, 14-6) went 2-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference series at Georgia Tech. The Irish are in second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

NCAA Division II Southern Indiana (15-12, 12-8) went 3-1 at Great Lakes Valley Conferene foe McKendree. The Screaming Eagles are in third place in the GLVC Blue Division.

UIndy (13-11 overall, 11-5 GLVC Blue) split four game at Missouri-St. Louis.

In NCAA Division III, Franklin (13-5, 13-5) leads the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Grizzlies beat Manchester and Defiance once each in a rain-interrupted weekend and pushed their win streak to four.

Earlham (15-9, 15-9) took two at Mount St. Joseph and lost two against Transylvania in HCAC competition.

The clash in the NAIA’s Crossroads League — Taylor (30-11, 19-3) at Indiana Wesleyan (29-10, 18-4) — saw the host Wildcats and visiting Trojans split a Friday doubleheader. Saturday’s rain pushed another twin bill to today (Monday, April 12).

Also in the Crossroads, Saint Francis (25-13, 15-7) is riding a four-game win streak which includes two against Marian.

Huntington (22-8, 15-7) won two against Goshen Friday and was to make up the other two today.

By going 2-1 against Point Park, Indiana University Southeast (28-12, 17-1) remained in first place in the River States Conference. 

A doubleheader split against Vincennes puts National Junior College Athletic Conference D-II member Ivy Tech Northeast at 18-17 while VU is at 16-15.


Records Through April 11

NCAA Division I

Ball State 19-9 (10-2 MAC) 

Evansville 18-12 (3-4 MVC) 

Indiana State 16-8 (3-1 MVC) 

Notre Dame 15-6 (14-6 ACC) 

Indiana 13-7 (13-7 Big Ten) 

Purdue Fort Wayne 9-14 (6-10 HL) 

Butler 6-12 (1-3 Big East) 

Purdue 5-15 (5-15 Big Ten) 

Valparaiso 5-16 (0-4 MVC) 

NCAA Division II

Southern Indiana 15-12 (12-8 GLVC) 

Indianapolis 13-11 (11-5 GLVC) 

Purdue Northwest 7-10 (1-7 GLIAC) 

NCAA Division III

Earlham 15-9 (15-9 HCAC) 

Franklin 13-5 (13-5 HCAC) 

Anderson 13-8 (13-8 HCAC) 

Hanover 13-11 (13-11 HCAC) 

Wabash 11-11 (4-4 NCAC) 

Rose-Hulman 10-8 (10-8 HCAC) 

Manchester 9-14 (9-14 HCAC) 

DePauw 8-10 (1-3 NCAC) 

Trine 1-14 (1-5 MIAA) 


Indiana Wesleyan 30-11 (19-3 CL) 

Taylor 29-10 (18-4 CL) 

Indiana University Southeast 28-12 (17-1 RSC) 

Saint Francis 25-13 (15-7 CL) 

Huntington 22-8 (15-7 CL) 

Indiana University-Kokomo 17-16 (7-8 RSC) 

Marian 17-19 (10-12 CL) 

Oakland City 15-20 (8-10 RSC) 

Indiana Tech 14-19 (3-3 WHAC) 

Indiana University South Bend 13-17 (9-6 CCAC) 

Grace 9-24 (6-18 CL) 

Bethel 8-29 (5-17 CL) 

Calumet of Saint Joseph 5-25 (3-13 CCAC) 

Goshen 3-28 (2-20 CL) 

Junior College

Ivy Tech Northeast 18-17 

Vincennes 16-15 (4-8 MWAC) 

Ancilla 6-17 (2-6 MCCAA) 


NCAA Division I

Big Ten

Atlantic Coast (ACC)

Big East 

Horizon (HL)

Mid-American (MAC)

Missouri Valley (MVC)

NCAA Division II

Great Lakes Valley (GLVC)

Great Lakes Intercollegiate (GLIAC)

NCAA Division III

Heartland Collegiate (HCAC)

Michigan Intercollegiate (MIAA)


Crossroads League (CL)

Chicagoland Collegiate (CCAC)

Wolverine Hoosier (WHAC)

River States Conference (RSC)

Junior College 

Mid-West Athletic (MWAC)

Michigan Community College (MCCAA)

Stowe building baseball in Perry Central community


Enthusiasm for baseball is building in a small community in southern Indiana.

Perry Central Junior-Senior High School in Leopold, Ind., and its feeder system is making the diamond sport a priority as the high school gets ready to play its first games since 2019 after missing 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adam Stowe was hired as head coach of the Perry Central Commodores for 2020 and is building for the spring of 2021 and the long term.

“The challenge of high school baseball is really, really unique — you develop players you already have,” says Stowe. “I relish that challenge.

“We’re trying to develop a program by building a collaborative culture to better baseball in our area.”

Perry Central youth baseball tends to have four to five teams per age group — 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12. 

“It all starts with our youth and treating them right,” says Stowe. “It’s all about the kids and what’s best for them.”

Many kids play both recreation and travel ball.

The junior high (seventh and eighth graders) plays 20 to 25 games in the spring with a varsity and a junior varsity.

Those squads share a field with the high school — a diamond which got plenty of TLC in 2020. There has been a revamping of the mound and plate areas. A new hitting area and re-done bullpens are planned as well as an update for “The Barn” indoor facility.

“It’s amazing what it’s become,” says Stowe. “We try to take it to the next level each year. With the help of the administration, we do what we can.” 

With 61 wins the last 10 years, Perry Central is known for its football. Stowe wants baseball to be a strong part of the school’s identity.

Perry Central (enrollment around 370) is a member of the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference (with Crawford County, Mitchell, Orleans, Paoli, Springs Valley and West Washington).

The Commodores are part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Evansville Mater Dei, Forest Park, North Posey, South Spencer and Tell City. Perry Central has never won a sectional baseball title.

In 2019, the Commodores reached the championship game of the South Spencer Sectional and were optimistic about the 2020 season. But that campaign did not happen.

“We were expected to compete at a high level (in 2020),” says Stowe. “It was rough.”

Perry Central had one senior and that was career earned run average leader Bill Hubert.

“He’s an amazing kid,” says Stowe.

When things began to open up again after a long quarantine, Stowe helped organize Senior Games which brought senior baseball and softball players from Indiana and Kentucky to play at Cannelton (Ind.) Junior/Senior High School.

“It gave some of them closure,” says Stowe. “They were able to display their skills one last time. 

“It meant a lot to the people of our area.”

At Perry Central’s small size, three-sport athletes are common. Stowe appreciates his relationship with head football coach Greg Gibson and head boys basketball coach Matt Carter.

“They’re both classy guys,” says Stowe. “Everybody supports each other really well.”

There were no baseball workouts in the fall. Right now, players not in a winter sport are conditioning and lifting weights. In February comes more baseball activity.

Stowe says he is expecting to a have 35 players in the program, including 10 seniors. For the first time, there are three seniors who have committed to college baseball — starting catcher Brayden Stowe (Adam’s son) to Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky., ace pitcher/infielder Wes Scamahorn to Oakland City (Ind.) University and first baseman/pitcher Reece Davis to Southeastern Illinois College — a junior college in Harrisburg, Ill.

Stowe, a 2001 graduate of nearby Tell City (Ind.) High School, teaches History and Social Studies at Perry Central.

Before coming back to Indiana and serving as hitting instructor for the Jeremy Edwards-coached Commodores in 2019, he coached travel ball for various age groups in Meade County, Ky. He holds a Social Studies/Teaching degree from the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville and a masters in Counseling from Western Kentucky University.

Besides Stowe, the 2021 Perry Central coaching staff features Jason Scamahorn, Sam Bland, Larry McDaniel and volunteer hitting instructor Jim Huber.

Besides Brayden, Adam and wife Amber (physical therapy patient care coordinator) have a 12-year-old seventh grade daughter named Emma.

Adam Stowe is the head baseball coach at Perry Central Junior/Senior High School in Leopold, Ind. (Perry Central Commodores Photo)

Zangrilli’s baseball path takes him back to Carmel Greyhounds


With lasting influences from two coaches, John Zangrilli decided that education and coaching were for him when he was still a teenager.

It was while learning and playing for Jeff Massey (baseball) and Ken Randle (basketball) that Zangrilli saw his career path. Massey was the head baseball coach for Zangrilli’s last three years at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, following Steve Goeglein. Randle was a freshmen/assistant coach, teacher and mentor. 

Since graduating from Lawrence Central in 1994, Zangrilli has enjoyed many baseball experiences and encounters with successful diamond minds.

Zangrilli — aka Z or Coach Z since his father (Papa Z) and son (Little Z) are also named John — has coached in three central Indiana high school programs (two assistant stints at Carmel and head coaching tenures at Brebeuf Jesuit and Zionsville). 

As a head coach, Coach Z-led teams went 247-81 with six sectional championships (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 at Brebeuf and 2012 at Zionsville), three regional crowns (2005 and 2009 at Brebeuf and 2012 at Zionsville), one Final Four appearance (2012 at Zionsville), two Hoosier Crossroads Conference titles (2011 and 2012 at Zionsville) and one Marion County crown (2010 at Brebeuf in a an extra-inning game against Lawrence Central at Victory Field that Zangrilli calls the best game he’s ever seen).

Six of Zangrill’s players were chosen for the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series and he was the South head coach for the 2009 games in Evansville. 

He has coached 28 players who went on to college careers and 18 academic all-state honorees

Among Zangrilli’s coach of the year honors include IHSBCA all-district (2009, 2012), all-North (2011) and Marion County (2005, 2009, 2010).

There has been involvement with three travel organizations (Zionsville Baseball Club, Carmel Pups and Indiana Bulls) for Coach Z. He helped start the ZBC and re-tooled the Carmel Pups. He coached with the Pups while his son, John, moved from 8U to 12U. Both will be with the Indiana Bulls 13U Silver team — dad as head coach and son as a player — in 2021.

As a collegiate pitcher, Zangrilli enjoyed three NCAA Division I seasons (1995 for Hoosiers head coach Bob Morgan at Indiana University and 1996 and 1997 for Bulldogs head coach Steve Farley at Butler University). 

“Coach Farley and Coach Morgan couldn’t be any more different in terms of their personalities

Intense,” says Zangrilli, describing Morgan as intense and Farley possessing an even-keel temperament. “Coach Morgan was extremely detail-oriented. Every moment of every day was organized. It’s the first time I was introduced to something like that. It was about understanding your role on the team. As a coach, I drew on that a little bit.

“I really enjoyed the way Coach Farley created a calm atmosphere for his athletes to relax and take what they had been taught and then go out and play the game.”

Zangrilli earned an Elementary Education degree with an endorsement in Physical Education and Health from Butler in 1998. He has worked in Carmel schools for 22 years and is now a Wellness Education teacher at Woodbrook Elementary School.

His first high school coaching gig was a three-year stint on the coaching staff of Carmel Greyhounds head coach Tom Linkmeyer in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Carmel lost 1-0 in 11 innings to eventual state runner-up Evansville Harrison in the 2000 State semifinals.

Born in central Pennsylvania, Zangrilli roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Penn State University. He came to Indiana early in his elementary school years.

At 14, Zangrilli worked for Jeff Mercer Sr., at Mercer’s Sports Center on the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

One of the first players to log more than one summer with the Indiana Bulls, Z was with the elite organization 1992-94. Mike Stein was head coach that first year. The next two years, Dennis Kas was head coach and was helped by Kevin Stephenson, Brent Mewhinney and Linkmeyer, who was also the Wellness Education teacher at Woodbrook prior to Zangrilli.

“They were imparting all this baseball knowledge on us,” says Zangrilli. “It was eye-opening. It was the intersection of talent and instruction and we took off. We had a great deal of success.

“Dennie Kas was the first guy I played for who instilled an appreciation for preparation,” says Zangrilli. “He had a real knack for reading the pulse of his team.

“He could walk in the dugout and know if they needed to be calm or pick up the energy.”

Zangrilli was head coach at Brebeuf for seven campaigns (2004-10) and Zionsville for three (2011-13). 

“Between my years at Brebeuf and Zionsville it was an embarrassment of riches,” says Coach Z.

Among his assistants at Brebeuf were Andy McClain (former player and assistant under IHSBCA of Famer Bill Tutterow at Martinsville and head coach at LaVille and Arlington who went on to be head coach at Brebeuf, Norwell and Lawrence Central) and Tim Phares (son of IHSBCA Hall of Famer George Phares). 

Standout Braves players included catcher Radley Haddad (Western Carolina University, Butler University, player and coach in New York Yankees system), outfielder Jack Dillon (Butler University), Tres Eberhardt (Xavier University), outfielder Nathan Koontz (Ball State University), catcher Mitch Overley (Ball State University, Wabash College), infielder/outfielder Ty Adams (University of Notre Dame), outfielder Kevin Simms (University of Dayton, Wright State University), outfielder Stevie Eberhardt-Gipson (Northern Kentucky University) and right-handed pitcher/catcher John Krasich (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology).

Pollard, Tibbs, Jered Moore, Quinn Moore, Jeremy Honaker and Josh Medveseck were among those on Coach Z’s staff at Zionsville. 

Right-hander Parker Dunshee (Wake Forest University, Oakland Athletics organization), infielder/outfielder Max Kuhn (University of Kentucky, Oakland Athletics organization), infielder Troy Kuhn (Ohio State University), third baseman Ben Kocher (Belmont University), outfielder Drew Small (Butler University), left-hander Alex Westrick (Xavier University) and outfielder Nick Barrientos (Wabash Valley College, Northwood University) are part of a long line of Eagles players who went on to college and/or professional baseball.

John and wife Jackie have two children. After the 2013 season, Z turned his focus to teaching as well as coaching Little Z and daughter Olivia (a travel volleyball player).

When former Butler teammate Matt Buczkowski (son of IHBCA Hall of Famer Len Buczkowski) became head coach at he — and all the returning Carmel talent — lured Zangrilli back into high school coaching. 

Coach Z remembers Buczkowski’s request going something like this: “I’ve got a Ferrari of pitching staff. I need to have somebody help me drive it.”

Buczkowski inherited a stable of arms developed by former Carmel pitching coach Jay Lehr.

The 2017 senior class featured left-handers Tommy Sommer (Indiana University), Max Habegger (Lipscomb University), Shawn Roop (Manhattan College) and right-handers Cameron Pferrer (University of Missouri) and Aaron Ernst (University of Dayton, Wright State University) plus outfielders Parker Massman (Miami University of Ohio) and infielder Rhett Wintner (Ball State University). There was also junior infielder Jack Van Remortel (University of Michigan).

“I didn’t plan on coming back to high school coaching,” says Zangrilli. “But I was intrigued. I had a pretty good history with Butch. 

“My wife gave me the thumbs-up.”

The ’17 Greyhounds went 23-3 and won the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference.

The spring of 2021 will be Coach Z’s fifth since returning to the Carmel dugout.

Zangrilli, Buczkowski and former Westfield and Carmel field boss and current hitting coach Eric Lentz represent more than 500 head coaching victories on a Hounds staff. Pitching coach Fred Moses came to Carmel from Lawrence Central with Buczkowski.

“My role is whatever they need as any given day,” says Zangrilli, who has been a pitching coach, first base coach and a camp coordinator. The past five years, he helped oversee the Carmel Pups.

COVID-19 shut down the 2020 high school season days before tryouts (Carmel went 21-8 and finished second in the MIC in 2019) and prevented the 12U Pups from making a trip to play in Cooperstown, N.Y. 

“It’s extremely unfortunate,” says Zangrilli. “It proves it can be taken away from you at any point.”

Fortunately, many Carmel players did get to play last summer. Coach Z helped Kevin Christman coach during the last few weeks of the inaugural College Summer League at Grand Park.

Following health precautions, Zangrilli says the Hounds were able to accomplish as much as they did during last year’s Limited Contact Period fall workouts.

Says Coach Z, “All systems are go.”

John Zangrilli is a teacher and baseball coach in Carmel (Ind.) Clay Schools. (Carmel Clay Schools Photo)
Carmel (Ind.) High School assistant baseball coach John Zangrilli hits fungos to the Greyhounds.
John Zangrilli is a Wellness teacher and baseball coach in Carmel (Ind.) Clay Schools. The 2021 season will be the firth in his second stint with the Greyhounds. The former Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana University and Butler University pitcher has also served as head coach at Brebeuf Jesuit High School in Indianapolis and Zionsville (Ind.) Community High School and has coached with the Carmel Pups and Indiana Bulls.

Indiana Tech’s Alwine gains new perspective on coaching



Indiana Tech’s 2019 season ended in Lewiston, Idaho, at the NAIA World Series. The Warriors went 42-16-1.

Tech concluded play in 2020 much sooner than planned because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

With a win against Viterbo March 11 in Georgia, the Warriors finished at 11-5.

Since then, the Tech team and coaching staff have been moving forward while social distancing.

“Everybody’s numb to how it happened,” says second-year assistant coach Brent Alwine of how the season was rolling and then came to a screeching halt. “We’ve got (players) doing workouts. We’re hoping a lot of guys get to play this summer.

“So much is unknown.”

What is known for Alwine is that he is not the same coach at 36 and married with three sons and with many different diamond experiences behind him than he was at 23 and just out of college.

“I used to think there was only one way to teach,” says Alwine, who works with infielders and hitters. “You learn to adapt to the personnel you have rather than philosophy that’s cut and dried.”

It has also become relational vs. transactional. It’s a point that has become clearer since Brent and Brandi Alwine, a physician’s assistant for Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, have had Beckett (7), Bode (5) and Brooks (8 months). All three have baseball ties to their names.

There are four reasons for Beckett — the sports card magazine, the ballplayer (Josh Beckett), the brand of boilers his father, Jim, sells, and the town in Massachusetts where he worked at a camp with former Indiana University head baseball coach Bob Morgan. The boy’s full name is Beckett Steven James Alwine. Brandi’s father Steve passed away in 2001. The other middle name to to honor Brent’s father, who has coached high school baseball at North Miami and Peru.

Bode’s middle name is Maddux as an homage for Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.

Brooks is a nod to former Western Michigan University catcher Brooks Beilke.

“I’m coaching someone’s kids,” says Alwine. “I want to win. But I would rather win and 10 years down the line have a relationship with the players I coached.”

Alwine joined head coach Kip McWilliams in Fort Wayne, Ind., having been an assistant to Billy Gernon at Western Michigan (2011 and 2012), Ed Servais at Creighton University (2009 and 2010) and Gernon at alma mater Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne (2007 and 2008). He holds a bachelor’s degree from IPFW (now Purdue Fort Wayne) and a master’s degree from Indiana University.

He was head coach at Perry (Mich.) High School (2013) and a director for Prep Baseball Michigan and has coached with the Summit City Sluggers, leading 12U, 13U and then 17U travel teams and served as an associate scout for the Texas Rangers.

“You learn a lot when you coach younger kids,” says Alwine. “You have to really explain things and get them to buy into it.”

An attribute that Alwine appreciates about McWilliams is that he values the opinions of his assistants.

“He lets his assistant coach,” says Alwine. “He doesn’t micro-manage and he looks for our input.

“I trust him. In today’s world, it’s hard to trust everybody.”

Alwine has a few points of emphasis with his infielders.

“I want them to be athletic and take good angles to the baseball,” says Alwine. “It starts with our throwing program. Throwing and catching is the main thing in baseball.”

He makes it a point to observe when his fielders are playing catch to see that they are getting their footwork right and taking it seriously.

“When the pressure’s on, a good throw is going to win you a game,” says Alwine, who has his infielders practicing double players during between-innings warm-ups.

Alwine observes how organized McWilliams is, something that is vital when you carry a roster of more than 60 players — varsity and developmental.

“You have to be organized to get everybody involved,” says Alwine. “Year 2 helped me see that a little better than Year 1.”

The Warriors make a point of hustling all the time — even the coaching staff runs on the field.

“That’s the way it should be,” says Alwine. “(On game day), it sets a tone for your own team and the team you’re getting ready to play.

“These guys are here for business.”

Alwine says having the season stopped is likely to make the players more appreciative of the opportunity to play when fall camp rolls around.

“Fall can be a tough time to motivate because there’s nothing on the line,” says Alwine. “(Players) should be excited. They had baseball taken away from them.”

Alwine says 10 of 14 seniors this spring have opted to come back for an extra year of eligibility granted by the NAIA.

With the Indiana Tech campus closed to all but essential workers, students have been finishing their spring term online.

“It’s new to a lot of these professors, too,” says Alwine. “Everybody’s going through the same thing. It’s brought a sense of community back.”

To stay connected the to the baseball community,  Alwine says Tech coaches have regular Zoom meetings. These have been done by class and within the staff, which also includes Gordon Turner, Miguel Tucker and Marshall Oetting, and will also include positions, incoming freshmen and transfers.

Alwine was born in Peru, Ind., and grew up in Mexico, Ind. He played soccer, a little basketball and baseball North Miami Middle/High School. John Burrus was the head coach for basketball and baseball. Alwine was a shortstop on the diamond.

At IPFW, he played second base for Gernon.

“He does things the right way,” says Alwine of Gernon. “He demands a lot of his players. He care for his players, too.”

Alwine went to Creighton to be a volunteer coach. Within a month of arriving in Omaha, Neb., a paid assistant position opened up and he took it. There, he was in charge of outfielders and catchers.

“It made me a better coach,” says Alwine. “I had to learn those positions in detail to make players better.”

Servais displayed an attention to detail and stressed the fundamentals.

“That’s why Creighton — year in and year out — leads the country defensively.”

Servais, the uncle of former big league catcher Scott Servais, did not get too high or too low.

“He’s very level-headed,” says Alwine. “He thinks forward — next player, next pitch, next at-bat.”

The Bluejays skipper has been rewarded with 745 career victories.

More than 20 players that have been selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including two at Creighton that made it to the majors — San Franciso Giants first baseman Darin Ruf and Baltimore Orioles left-handed pitcher Ty Blach.

Alwine coached infielders and hitters at Western Michigan. He was in the fall of his second year with the Broncos when he got into a very bad car accident on I-94 near Kalamazoo, Mich.

He was put into an induced coma with a traumatic brain injury. After a couple weeks at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, he was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. After about three weeks, he regained consciousness.

Among the first requests he had was for a second opinion on the plastic surgeon.

“I am very, very fortunate to be alive,” says Alwine. “God was looking out for me that day. The biggest thing is the amount of people who prayed for me.

“I had very positive people around me who supported me and got me through it. I get to coach baseball and see my kids grow up.”


Brent Alwine (left) observes players during Indiana Tech’s 2019 NAIA World Series appearance. It was Alwine’s first season on the Warriors baseball coaching staff. (Indiana Tech Photo)


Brent Alwine (center) is in his second season as an assistant baseball coach at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2020. He is a graduate of North Miami High School and Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne. (Indiana Tech Photo)


Baseball structure a living memorial to a coaching legend




There’s a brick, over there by the third base dugout.

A memory of when Northrop baseball coach Matt Brumbaugh and his high school teammates built the press box at what is now Chris Stavreti Field.

The players built the structure — it lasted about 40 years. What they didn’t know at the time the veteran coach was crafting them into adults and leaders.

That brick, and a few others like it are all that remains of the humble structure that once stood behind home plate.

Sometime, this spring or summer, when the COVID-19 virus precautions are lifted they’ll officially dedicate the Chris Stavreti Press Box and Clubhouse.

Stavreti died in November 2012 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. At Northrop, his Bruins were common visitors to the later rounds of the IHSAA baseball tournament.

They were his calling cards, dating back to a short stint tenure at East Noble High School in Kendallville. When it was all done, the Indiana Baseball Hall of Famer recorded 559 wins, 255 losses and collected state title in 1983, three semi states, eight regionals and 13 sectional titles.

The structure that came to life this fall fits “Stav’s” style. Practical and real. It’s packed with purpose. Intentionally designed just like the coach would lead. It grew from need.

A simple one.

“My whole goal was just to have two bathrooms at the field,” Brumbaugh explained. “That’s all I wanted. We’ve had a portajohn the whole time I’ve been here.

“Now we have a coaches office, a locker room, concession stand and two bathrooms, one on each side. It wouldn’t be possible without him. The lessons I’ve learned through the years playing for him and coaching for him. Everyone here, he’s touched in some way.”

It’s not a stone or giant work of art. It’s engaged.

“It’s here. It’s reality. It’s beautiful,” Brumbaugh said. “Everything is at the field now so we don’t have to run back and forth to the football field.

“It’s about Coach Stavreti. He’s got the No. 1 locker. His wife Dottie has a locker. The clubhouse is named after him. The field is named after him. “I’d say he’s pretty happy with what we have here.”

Brumbaugh admits he almost gave up on the dream of a new press box.

Then a few years ago, momentum picked up, the project gained steam with donors and FWCS approval. Brumbaugh says the privately funded facility appraises at six-figures through the labor of love by former players, friends and people touched by Stav.

Once the concept came into focus it picked up steam quickly. It took about a week to sell nearly 40 locker sponsors.

“Being a Northrop baseball player — once you are in, you are in for life,” Brumbaugh said. “Everybody who plays in this program cares about the program. It’s evidenced by guys who have bought lockers.”

Support that spans decades of Bruins baseball history, including former major leaguer Eric Wedge, all-state players Colin Brockhouse and Barry Ault as well as Bruin basketball star Walter Jordan.

“It runs the gamut from the ’70’s to the present,” Brumbaugh said.

A former bat girl, Aimee Myers of the William J. & Bonnie L. Hefner Foundation and Scott Gidley who leads the Stavreti Scholarship Fund was instrumental from the start.

As it grew and received approval from Fort Wayne Community Schools others jumped in including electricians and other skilled trades. Specifically, Bercot Construction under the leadership of Chris’ brother-in-law Steve Bercot. Steve Baumgarte of Zumbrun Construction and Jack Laurie Flooring, where former player Brian Bunner’s brother was instrumental in the flooring install.

Brumbaugh says the structure shows the value of a coaches impact.

“I try to do this myself – coaches make a difference,” Brumbaugh said. He made a huge impact on people who’ve given. It’s the love of the program, the love of Coach Stavreti.”

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The exterior of the new Stavreti Press Box and Clubhouse at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Northrop High School’s baseball field — Chris Stavreti Field. (Dean Jackson Photo)


The lockers in the new Stravreti Press Box and Clubhouse at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Northrop High School’s Chris Stavreti Field. (Dean Jackson Photo)


Matt Brumbaugh has been a part of baseball at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Northrop High School for decades. He is now Bruins head coach. He stands in the locker room at the new Stavreti Press Box and Clubhouse at Chris Stavreti Field. (Dean Jackson Photo)


Indiana baseball teams coping with COVID-19 separation



UPDATE: Since this story was published, the spring sports season has been canceled by the Indiana High School Athletic Association. The announcement came shortly after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that there would be no more in-person classes for the 2019-20 school year.

This was supposed to be the first week of the 2020 Indiana high school baseball regular season.

But the game is on hold while the world deals with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic through social distancing.

In a landscape that is ever-changing, many states have already closed down for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has ruled that all Indiana schools be closed until May 1.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association has stated that there is hope for shortened regular season beginning with five required practices — rather than the usual 10 — after schools are allowed to re-open. The state tournament series would follow.

Right now, sectionals are slated for May 27-June 1 with regionals June 6, semistates June 13 and the State Finals June 19-20 at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Futures Game and North/South All-Star Series is to be the next week in Evansville.

Time will tell if any of that happens.

How are some coaches and teams dealing with the quarantine?

Crawfordsville coach John Froedge has his Athenians working together though they are physically apart.

“Our players have been strongly encouraged to follow all local, state and federal guidelines in helping to not spread the virus,” says Froedge, an IHSBCA Hall of Famer. “We are beginning to ramp back up this week with anticipation of a May 4 start.”

The Athenians, ranked No. 3 in the IHSBCA Class 3A preseason poll, have been communicating via calls, texts and Zoom video conferences and had a meeting scheduled to share team and position workouts through Google Sheets that includes links to instructional and motivational videos, articles etc.

“The workouts are all the things they can do by themselves or with a brother or dad,” says Froedge. “The idea is that we’re all working in the same things remotely. They then long each day what they’ve done and share with teammates in various ways, short videos included.

“Our hope for the players — especially seniors in all spring sports — is that they will get some kind of season, however brief it might be. But even if we don’t have a season, we still have a team and are creating memories and imparting life lessons.”

Jon Gratz coached Columbus East to a 4A state runner-up finish in 2019.

He has communicated with his Olympians, ranked No. 3 IHSBCA 4A preseason poll, through texting. He suggests things players can do as individuals since school and other facilities are now off limits.

“It’s about getting creative,” says Gratz. “It’s tough to know what guys are doing.

The biggest concern is that if we have five days of practice and play games to know that guys are in shape to throw and do all that stuff.”

A math teacher, Gratz has been using a platform called It’s Learning three days a week to lead AP and lower level classes. He has made some videos and shared them with his students.

Remind is a platform that is used for group messages.

Gratz says he is taking advantage of the extra time at home to spend with his family and learn things about baseball that he normally would not have time to learn.

At 4A Lake Central, fourth-year head coach Mike Swartzentruber was a few days from beginning tryouts at a school of 3,300 when the shutdown came.

The Indians were return seven starters from regional finalist squad and is ranked No. 2 in the preseason 4A poll.

“You feel for the kids, especially the seniors who have put in so much time and done what you’ve asked them to do for four years,” says Swartzentruber. “It’s hard trying to find the words to say to kids.

“But, in the grand scheme of things, people’s health is greater than playing a game. The trend is not very good right now. But we’re trying to stay positive.”

Swartzentruber has shared workouts that players can do in their basement, garage or driveway. He asks them all to find regular cardiovascular exercise.

“It’s all up to them,” says Swartzentruber. “We say whatever you do, make sure you do don’t put yourself in jeopardy from a health standpoint.”

Swartzentruber teaches seven classes and is now doing that from home since Lake Central adopted eLearning. Assignments are given through the Canvas platform.

“Its a little tricky,” says Swartzentruber. “I know there’s going to be some things lost in translation when you’re not face-to-face.”

Shane Edwards, head coach at 3A Oak Hill and a member of the IHSBCA executive council, has kept plenty busy fielding questions from other coaches from around the state.

“Coaches are nervous,” says Edwards. “They’re concerned and want to be informed.

“We’re kind of in the dark about where this is going.”

Edwards has stayed connected to his players with weekly emails to suggest workouts they can do on their own or with a parent or sibling. The Golden Eagles coaching staff uses group texts to stay on the same page.

“We still hold out hope that we’re going to play,” says Edwards.

With a late start and an abbreviated season, Edwards says many teams will be doing in May what they normally do in March and April.

“Usually by May, you feel comfortable with your lineup and pitching staff,” says Edwards. “So now do you try to get a lot of games in or make progress for when the tournament comes? It’s a delicate balance we’re all going to have to play.”

Oak Hill typically has in-season hitting sessions a couple of times a week during the season. Edwards says that time might be used to bring his young players up to speed on varsity baseball.

“You can’t replace game situations,” says Edwards. “I would want as much coaching time as I could have in those practice situations.”

Also an assistant high school principal, Edwards says Oak Hill is looking to supply some district students with laptops will begin online learning next week.

IHSBCA Hall of Famer Dave Gandolph is just three career wins shy of 800.

When he’s not home tending to projects ordering puzzles or watching TV with his wife, Gandolph has been going to Indianapolis Scecina Memorial High School two or three times a week to work on the Crusaders’ facility.

“I’m just by my lonesome,” says Gandolph, who has mowed grass and done work on Scecina’s new hitting building in the block house where the old weight room was located.

March 16 was supposed to be the first official day of IHSAA practice. During the Limited Contact Period, the Crusaders got a chance to work out on the grass.

2A No. 3-ranked Scecina’s first game was slated for this Saturday at the end of spring break.

Should the season begin in early May, Gandolph foresees his team hosting a Saturday doubleheader against Providence and then getting in one round of Indiana Crossroads Conference games before the postseason.

“I don’t get too hung up on planning,” says Gandolph. “It’s a day-by-day type thing anyway.”

He takes that same attitude about the milestone victory in his future.

“(No. 800) will come whenever it comes,” says Gandolph, who has been a his alma mater since the 2014 season after years at Center Grove, where he also taught for 40 years.

Gandolph says he has kept in-touch with players through texts and Twitter posts.

“I give suggestions to keep them busy and healthy and, hopefully, keep them positive,” says Gandolph.

While the team has not yet done any Zoom conferences, the Gandolph family has used the technology and is planning to do so this week to celebrate the seventh birthday of one of Dave’s grandsons.

Washington Township was 1A state runner-ups in 2019 with Randy Roberts as coach. The Senators are No. 1 in the IHSBCA preseason rankings.

Like many, Roberts has seen the levels of coronavirus restriction increase. Until the latest constraints were put in place, some players were going to the homes of teammates with batting cages at their homes and conducting their own practices.

“Parents are now following the guidelines that have been set down and keeping their kids at home,” says Roberts. “They’re in that better safe-than-sorry mode.”

Roberts says he has witnessed two extremes on social media regarding COVID-19.

“It’s not that big a deal and no more than flu and older people with prior health issues (are at risk) or on the other side, it’s serious, don’t mess with it,” says Roberts. “We’re expecting the worse and hoping for the best.”

Roberts says many of his players put in plenty of off-season work before the interruption.

“I keep hoping that this thing will level off and we can get back to school,” says Roberts. “Our boys and their parents were pretty devastated when they got sent home from school.

“If theres a glimmer of hope, the boys will start hooking up and getting in their time before I can be with them.”

Roberts has been home with two baseball-playing sons. Max Roberts is a pitcher in the Seattle Mariners organization. William Roberts is a 2019 Washington Township graduate who sat out a year while getting ready to go the junior college route.

Randy and William went to see Max, who was attending a Mariners “gas” camp in Arizona, when they began to shut things down and send players home as minor league spring training was about to start.

Roberts says some in his area have talked about playing two or three games a week prior to the sectional. If possible, he can see the Senators playing just about everyday leading into the postseason.

A teacher at Washington Township Elementary, Roberts has been instructing via laptop.

Having taken online classes himself, he is convinced of one thing: “Kids need to be in school.”

“You find yourself doing assignments just to get them done,” says Roberts. “Without the interaction, I never thought there was a whole lot of learning getting done.”

Daleville, with Terry Turner at the helm, is ranked No. 2 in the IHSBCA 1A poll.

“My heart goes out to all these high school seniors in all spring sports if they don’t have an opportunity to participate,” says Turner. “It’s just an awful feeling.

“I guess I’m being selfish here, but in the last four years I’ve won two (1A) state titles (in 2016 and 2018). We have the possibility of a third one (with six players, including five starters, from the 2018 team). I was really excited about it. We have right group of kids with the right mentality.

“I have my doubts we’ll even get to see what would happen.”

Turner has had little contact with his players since the lockdown began and has been doing his best to teach online to his pupils at Anderson High School.

“I’m bored out of mind,” says Turner. “I can’t get out to talk to these kids. That’s the worst part.

“Some of the kids have texted me. I have great senior leadership. They’ve gotten together a few times to go throw and stuff. I tell them to do the best they can to stay in baseball shape.”

Daleville was fundraising to pay for its overnight trip to Jasper, but for safety-sake, Turner put an end to that.

Turner had beefed up the Broncos schedule to get them ready for the state tournament.

“I wouldn’t have done that unless I felt like I had a team that could compete,” says Turner. “I said, ‘let’s have a challenge.’”

Regardless of what happens this year, Turner says he has decided that 2021 is going to be his last spring as a coach and teacher.

“I have grandkids I want to spend some time with,” says Turner. “I have a bucket list I want to do.”

At 4A Terre Haute South Vigo, the Braves were hoping to dedicate a full season to Brian Pickens, a 25-year assistant coach who died of throat cancer Jan. 28.

“I still think about him everyday,” says South Vigo head coach Kyle Kraemer. “It’s all perspective.

“The biggest thing is the fear of the unknown. There are so many what-ifs and unknowns. It’s just crazy.

“We are living through history. You’re talking about fighting something you can’t see.”

The Braves spent to winter building up a library of Hudl videos of themselves hitting and pitching that can now be used as references for at-home workouts.

“I’m trying to be prepared,” says Kraemer, who is hopeful that South Vigo might be able to play Conference Indiana opponents and some others prior to the postseason — if there is one.

When the IHSAA ruled this past winter that teams can have 10 summer practices with four contest dates, Kraemer says he didn’t think much about it.

“Now I think a lot of coaches are going to take advantage of that if possible,” says Kraemer.

Also a teacher, Kraemer says eLearning is to kick in Vigo County on April 6. This is spring break. There were eight waiver days prior to that.

Mark Schellinger, head coach at 3A New Prairie, has spent part of his days tending to eLearning — either from home or at the school — and has joined with his assistants in working on Harry “Bear” Tolmen Field.

“It was weird, knowing (players) could not be out there with us,” says Schellinger, whose Cougars are No. 10 in the 3A preseason rankings. (It’s tough for everybody, but it’s really tough for the kids.

“But we have to take a step back and see there is a bigger picture.”

Schellinger says safety and health are the first priority for players, followed by staying on top of their eLearning and then staying in shape, especially with throwing.

“We’re hoping to be proactive so we have a plan in place,” says Schellinger. “But it’s hard to make those decisions or make those plans.

“There’s just so much unknown right now.”

Should the season get started in early May, Schellinger says he favors playing as many regular-season games as possible.

“The kids want to play, especially in a short time span,” says Schellinger. “Hopefully our pitchers are ready for that.”

New Prairie does have pitching depth, though Schellinger hardly expects 100 from anyone out of the gate.


(2020 Preseason)


1. Penn

2. Lake Central

3. Columbus East

4. Crown Point

5. Hamilton Southeastern

6. Andrean

7. Columbus North

8. Center Grove

9. Carmel

10. Noblesville

Receiving votes: Avon, Carroll (Fort Wayne), Fishers, Homestead, Jasper, Jeffersonville, Munster, New Albany, Northridge, Westfield.


1. Edgewood

2. South Bend St. Joseph

3. Crawfordsville

4. Western

5. Silver Creek

6. Brebeuf Jesuit

7. West Vigo

7. Yorktown

9. Lebanon

10. New Prairie

Receiving votes: Danville, Evansville Memorial, Griffith, Guerin Catholic, Hanover Central, Heritage Hills, Indian Creek, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, Kankakee Valley, NorthWood, Norwell, Providence, South Dearborn, South Vermillion, Southridge.


1. Alexandria-Monroe

2. Lafayette Central Catholic

3. Indianapolis Scecina Memorial

4. Lewis Cass

4. North Posey

4. Speedway

7. Wapahani

8. Delphi

9. University

10. Linton-Stockton

Receiving votes: Blackford, Boone Grove, Covenant Christian, LaVille, Monroe Central, South Adams, Wheeler.


1. Washington Township

2. Daleville

3. Tecumseh

4. Lanesville

5. North Miami

6. Shakamak

7. Rossville

8. Riverton Parke

9. Barr-Reeve

10. Kouts

Receiving votes: Clinton Central, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian, Fremont, Hauser, Loogootee, North Daviesss, North White, Rising Sun, South Central (Union Mills), Trinity Lutheran, Wes-Del.


Notre Dame Law School students explore baseball arbitration



What’s a player in Major League Baseball worth?

The player’s side has one figure in mind.

The club side presents another number.

To decide who wins, it sometimes comes down to a third party — an arbitrator.

Thanks to Professor of Law Emeritus Ed Edmonds, University of Notre Dame Law School students get a taste for this process with an internal tournament in the fall and by sending a team to the Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition at Tulane University in New Orleans in January.

The 2020 contest was the 13th for the TIBAC, run by the Tulane Sports Law Society as a simulated salary arbitration competition modeled closely on the procedures used by MLB.

According to the Tulane Law School website, “Like most law school moot court competitions, TIBAC’s main goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to sharpen their oral and written advocacy skills.

“However, the competition is unique in that it allows law students to sharpen these skills within the specialized context of MLB’s salary arbitration proceedings.

“The competition is held annually in the early part of the spring academic semester at Tulane University Law School.

“Additionally, at the conclusion of the arbitration competition, Tulane’s Sports Law Society hosts a panel of experts to discuss legal issues related to baseball.”

The popular event usually has a waitlist.

About a decade ago, Edmonds got Notre Dame involved in the TIBAC. For the past five years, there has been an internal contest at Notre Dame.

“We tend have about 12 to 15 students per class that have a very, very strong interest in sports law,” says Edmonds, advisor to Notre Dame Law School’s Sports Communication & Entertainment Law Forum — the student organization that sponsors the internal competition and those that attend the TIBAC. “About three quarters of them were a college athlete or work experience in the sports area. (The internal competition and application) is a much more objective way of picking our team members.”

Edmonds has been doing research on baseball arbitration since the 1980s and co-authored with Frank G. Houdek the book “Baseball Meets the Law: A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events” (published by McFarland & Co., 2017).

During the internal arbitration competition, Edmonds advises two-person teams to develop a theme and follow it throughout the whole argument.

Edmonds says he hopes that the Notre Dame Law School, Mendoza College of Business and athletic department will be able to work closer in the future.

Representing Notre Dame at Tulane this time around were team members Kevin Francese, Sebastian Bellm and Ryne Quinlan and coach Elizabeth Lombard.

Francese and Lombard are in their third year of law school (3L). Bellm and Quinlan are in their first year (1L).

Bellm and Quinlan teamed up to win Notre Dame’s internal competition, which centered around former Fighting Irish player and current Baltimore Orioles right fielder Trey Mancini and required the player side argue a penny above the mid-point and the club side a penny below the mid-point to win the argument, besting Francese and Paige Carey in the finals. Francese, Bellm and Quinlan applied and were chosen by Lombard to go to Tulane.

With three rounds, the field was trimmed from 31 to eight on the first day and those eight advanced to the second day. Fordham University won its second straight title. Notre Dame was runner-up in 2019 (team members John Casey, Dominique Fry and Reid Fulkerson were coached by Stephen Scheffel).

The three players featured at the 2020 IBAC were New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, Colorado Rockies right-handed starting pitcher Jon Gray and Milwaukee Brewers lefty closer Josh Hader.

Notre Dame was assigned to argue on the player side for Judge, the club side for Hader and had to be prepared on both sides of the argument for Gray.

TIBAC teams were required to produce exhibit slides and share them with competing teams.

Going before a judge and head-to-head with another team, they argued using a mid-point salary figure for each player.

First came the player argument then the team argument followed by the player rebuttal and team rebuttal. Two people had to talk during each argument. Points were assigned in each round.

Areas considered in the arguments included career contributions, injuries, past compensation, club attendance, team appeal and comparable players aka “comps.”

For Gray, who had a mid-point of $5.4 million, it was New York Mets righty starter Michael Wacha, Atlanta Braves righty starter Mike Foltynewicz and Texas Rangers lefty starter Mike Minor.

Lombard, a Chicago Cubs fan from the Chicago suburb of Western Springs, Ill., has been involved in baseball arbitration competition in all three years of law school. As a 1L, she was a team member. As a 2L, she ran the on-campus tournament and was an assistant coach. As a 3L, she ran the tournament, selected the team and went to Tulane as coach.

“This is unique for law school,” says Lombard. “It’s a non-confrontational way of arguing.”

There were several practice sessions with interruptions just like during the competition. Even law school students not involved were asked for their input.

While she could not get too involved, Lombard was able to help team members craft their arguments and edit their 10-page briefs. There were mock trial sessions at Notre Dame.

After the mental exhaustion of law school finals, much of the preparation happened during Christmas break.

TIBAC prizes were on the line for written presentations due in late December and oral presentations given in January.

“It was a really great experience,” says Lombard, who has a position in the general practice group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York waiting on her after law school. “You don’t have to work in baseball for it to be an asset to you.

“You get to learn about another area of the law. You’re exploring salary arbitration and get to hone general negotiation skills.”

Guests at Tulane have included people like past TIBAC finalist Greg Dreyfuss (Director of Analytics and Baseball Operations for the MLBPA) and former Notre Dame baseball player Matt Nussbaum (Deputy General Counsel for the MLBPA and son of Midwest League president Dick Nussbaum).

“It’s super cool to be able to talk to people in the industry who are interested in our success,” says Lombard.

She nows looks at the game in a different way.

“My love for baseball has totally transformed,” says Lombard. “Now I feel I can talk with the best of them. It’s not only back of the baseball card, but advanced statistics.”

Lombard notes that the baseball player market has blown up and its sometimes difficult to value them.

“You get once or twice in a lifetime players,” says Lombard. “(Players rank) somewhere between (new Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder) Mookie Betts and someone else.”

Francese came to ND from Chappaqua, N.Y., which is 30 miles north of New York City. This was his first time in baseball arbitration competition. He pulls for the New York Yankees.

“We were assigned the player side of Aaron Judge, which is great because I’m a Yankee fan,” says Francese. “I had to talk up Aaron Judge, not talk him down. I don’t know how we didn’t win our Aaron Judge argument.

“I do play fantasy baseball. I don’t take (Boston) Red Sox as a policy.”

Bellm, another Cubs fan who moved with his family to Mishawaka, Ind., in 2008 and graduated from Marian High School in 2011. He graduated from St. Bonaventure (N.Y.) University with an accounting and finance degree in 2016. He lived in Chicago for three years before law school.

“This is different than anything I’ve done before,” says Bellm. “I’ve always been a baseball fan. But I had to dig into a deeper level.

“It was also nice change of pace from regular law school.”

Competitors get no extra credit and do the work on their own time.

Bellm notes that baseball salary arbitration is a niche area of the law and there might be 50 lawyers in the country who specialize in it and 20 or so of them attend the TIABC as guest judges.

“Jobs (for lawyers in baseball arbitration) are few and far between,” says Francese. “It’s not a wide spread thing. Certain people in big law firms do it.

“I hope to get back into sports law at some point in my career.”

He says he hopes to stay involved with the competitions throughout his time in law school.

Bellm notes that studying for Mancini’s case was helped by his position.

“With more outfielders, there’s more comps,” says Bellm.

It’s easier to compare corner outfielders than a second baseman to a shortstop.

While competitors had to be versed in the player and club sides, Bellm says the argument was stronger on the player side for Mancini, who was coming off a strong platform year (the season before arbitration). It’s their most-recent performance.

Mancini had a solid rookie year, a sophomore slump then had a uptick in his platform year. Those arguing for the player would emphasize his improvement. On the club side, they would point out a lack of consistency.

“It’s one of the most important factors considered in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (between the 30 MLB clubs and the MLBPA),” says Bellm of the platform year.

To make the competition more realistic, only real arbitration-eligible players are used. If a player’s real case is settled prior to the competition, that information can’t be used.

Edmonds says in most years 150 to 170 MLB players are arbitration-eligible, but few of those go to hearings.

For the record, Judge and the Yankees avoided arbitration and the club agreed to pay him $8.5 million. His 2019 salary was $684,300.

Gray and the Rockies reached an agreement and avoided arbitration. His salary went from $2.925 million in 2019 to $5.6 million in 2020.

Hader lost his arbitration case. He requested $6.4 million. He was given $4.1 million.

Mancini and the Orioles avoided arbitration. He earned 575,500 in 2019 and signed for $4.75 million in 2020.

Quinlan is from the Chicago suburb of Algonquin, Ill. He received a undergraduate and master’s accounting degrees from Notre Dame in 2016 and 2017. He serves in the U.S. Army National Guard.


Repesenting Notre Dame Law School at the 2020 Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition (from left): team members Kevin Fracense, Sebastian Bellm and Ryne Quinlan and coach Elizabeth Lombard.