Corey Scott — who is in his second stint as head baseball coach at Anderson (Ind.) Preparatory Academy — says the Jets are looking to establish a culture of success. “We’re still a relatively-new school,” says Scott, noting that APA opened as a middle school in 2008, grew into a K-12 school and had its first year of IHSAA tournament eligibility in 2015-16. “We want to get to when we can be competitive on a game-to-game basis.” Scott was an assistant coach when the Jets were still in a probationary period in 2015 and were not eligible to participate in sectional play after posting an 11-10 record. “We were pretty solid,” says Scott of that ’15 team. The 2022 team included 14 players with just one senior and two juniors. APA went 0-15. Scott moved up from assistant to head coach three weeks into the season. Scott is entering his 10th year at Anderson Prep, where he is also the head boys basketball coach. “We were extremely young last year,” says Scott, whose Jets went 1-21 on the hardwood. Anderson Prep (enrollment around 250) is part of the 10-member Pioneer Conference (with Bethesda Christian, Greenwood Christian, Indianapolis Shortridge, Liberty Christian, Muncie Burris, Park Tudor, Seton Catholic and University playing baseball and International not having a program). The Jets hosted an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping in 2022 with Cowan, Daleville, Liberty Christian, Southern Wells, Tri-Central and Wes-Del. APA has not yet won a sectional championship. APA plays home games at Memorial Field — less than a mile from campus on 29th Street. The Jets conduct most practices on the school’s practice football field. They worked out once each at Memorial Field and at Liberty Christian — about a mile away on Columbus Avenue — then hosted an IHSAA Class 1A Sectional at Memorial Field in 2022. Anderson High School just built two new on-campus diamonds. Scott is hopeful that will mean more access to Memorial Field. An IHSAA Limited Contact Period goes from Aug. 29-Oct. 15, but many players will be busy with soccer. Scott says he hopes an assistant coach — as yet unconfirmed — can lead baseball players through workouts this winter while he is occupied with basketball. Scott is a 1995 graduate of Daleville (Ind.) High School, where he played hoops for Broncos head coach Everett Gates and on the diamond for Mike Reese and was later his assistant for five years while Daleville won its first two baseball sectional titles (1999 and 2000). After high school, Scott played basketball for two years at Glen Oaks Community College (Centerville, Mich.) then transferred to Anderson (Ind.) University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and began coaching — first as a volunteer — and then as a paid assistant for basketball and baseball. Scott is an elementary Physical Education and middle School Health teacher for APA. Corey and wife Erin Scott have two sons — Jack (19) and Ben (17). Jack Scott played soccer, basketball and baseball at Anderson Prep. After finishing U.S. Army basic training, he will start his sophomore year at Ball State University. Ben Scott is an APA senior who plays basketball and baseball.
Blade Rheinhart is leading the baseball program at his alma mater with responsibility and discipline as points of emphasis. “I like to keep kids disciplined — on and off the field — that creates better young gentlemen,” says Rheinhart, a 2014 graduate of Southern Wells Junior/Senior High School in Poneto, Ind., who took over the Raiders prior to the 2020 season canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We do a lot of reflection.” Rheinhart expects to have 10 or 11 seniors in 2022 — many of them who played at what is now Blackford Youth Baseball coached by his father Art Rheinhart and himself, including little brother Branson Rheinhart. “They know my expectations,” says Rheinhart. “They know how things are going to be done and what it takes to possibly turn the program around. “We should be very productive.” Senior Evan Reynolds is to sign next week to study and play college baseball at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne and some other Raiders are considering their college options. Evan Huffman, a 2017 Southern Wells graduate who played at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., and Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, has joined a Raiders coaching staff which also includes Brett Vickery and Tyler Sonnigsen. Huffman was a high school classmate of Brennen Rheinhart, Blade’s middle brother and son of Art and Brandy Rheinhart. Southern Wells (enrollment around 260) is a member of the Allen County Athletic Conference (with Adams Central, Bluffton, Heritage, Jay County,South Adams and Woodlan). In 2021, the Raiders were part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Anderson Preparatory Academy, Cowan, Daleville, Liberty Christian, Tri-Central and Wes-Del. Southern Wells has not yet won a sectional title. The Raiders’ home field is on-campus and gets year-to-year maintenance. Southern Wells once had junior high baseball, but does not currently. Local players can go to three different youth baseball leagues— Blackford, Bluffton and Warren. Rhinehart decided he wanted to be a teacher and coach during his freshmen year at Southern Wells. He went on to earn an Elementary Education degree at Ball State University in 2018 and now teaches sixth grade math at Blackford Intermediate School in Hartford City, Ind. “I knew the path I wanted to take,” says Rheinhart. “I had excellent teachers throughout my whole career. I wanted their job. Sports a huge part of my life.” Rheinhart played baseball and basketball at Southern Wells. His head baseball coaches were Keith Kinder (2011 and 2012), Chad Smekens (2013) and Ben Mann (2014). Leading the Raiders in basketball were Ryan Thomas (2010-11 and 2011-12) and Brody Tarter (2012-13, and 2013-14). Another generation came into the Rheinhart baseball family this year. Two days before Southern Wells’ first baseball game in 2021, Blade’s son William was born. Three days later, the baby was at his first contest.
Wes-Del went 20-8-1 and reached the semifinals of the IHSAA Class 1A Liberty Christian Sectional in Daniel Hanson’s first season as head baseball coach in 2021. That squad had no seniors. “We bring everybody back,” says Hanson. Among the returnees is right-handed pitcher and Indiana Wesleyan University commit Zack Todd (Class of 2022), son of former Wes-Del head coach and current assistant Bob Todd. Besides Todd, Hanson’s Wes-Del’s staff includes Mason Whitted, Ben Krider and Ed Dennis. With 22 players in the program last year, there was a limited junior varsity schedule. As the Warriors prep for ’22 during the current Limited Contact Period window Hanson has two points of emphasis in twice-weekly sessions: Growing arm strength for all players and hitting. “We had good defense and pitching, says Hanson of ’21. “Our lineup needed to be better. “We’re breaking down swings and working in weight room (this fall). We want to hit with more power next spring.” Hanson saw his Wes-Del players buy into his philosophy. “We were able to win ugly at times with small ball and baserunning,” says Hanson. I believe you have to coach to what you have and figure out ways to win with what we have. That (2021) group maximized and played to its strengths really well. “We were very focused on the details in all the phases. But baseball’s about putting balls in the gap. Being good offensively really helps.” Wes-Del (enrollment around 290) is a member of the Mid-Eastern Conference (with Blue River Valley, Cowan, Daleville, Eastern Hancock, Monroe Central, Randolph Southern, Shenandoah, Union of Modoc and Waphani). In 2021, the Warriors were part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Anderson Preparatory Academy, Cowan, Daleville, Liberty Christian, Southern Wells and Tri-Central. Wes-Del has won five sectional titles — the last in 2011. The Warriors play on-campus on a field that received new batting cages and an inning-by-inning scoreboard last year. The bullpen mounds were also upgraded. On the radar are new dugouts and press box. Wes-Del’s feeder system includes a middle school team of seventh and eighth graders in the East Central Indiana league plus recreation leagues in Gaston and Muncie and area travel teams. Hanson is both at coach and an administrator at Wes-Del Middle/High School near the Delaware County town of Gaston, Ind., also holding the title of assistant principal. “I enjoy it,” says Hanson of the two roles. “They bring different relationships with students. (As assistant principal) you’re involved with he whole school. (As coach) I love taking care of the field. “It does present its challenges with time management. And then I’m a father and a husband as well.” Daniel and wife of seven years, Alicia, reside in Anderson, Ind., with their two daughters – first grader Paisley (6) and pre-schooler Avery (3). Alicia Hanson runs Sweet Pea’s Child Care out of their home. Before coming to Wes-Del, Daniel Hanson was at Daleville (Ind.) Junior/Senior High School. He was head baseball coach prior to Terry Turner and also served as athletic director and head boys basketball coach during his time with the Broncos. Hanson is a 2005 graduate of Shenandoah High School near Middletown, Ind., where he played football, basketball and baseball — the latter for Raiders head coach Jack Lewis. “I learned a lot from Jack,” says Hanson of Lewis. “I played for him then coached with him (at Liberty Christian with each man taking turns as head coach). He had passion, which is something I try to instill in my players. He wanted to compete at a high level and had an attention to detail.” Hanson started coaching when he was still a student at Ball State University, where he earned an Elementary Education degree and began teaching middle school math at Daleville. He later got a Masters in Administration at Indiana Wesleyan.
Austin Earley is going to be busy in 2021-22 as a varsity coach in two sports, a teacher, husband and father. Earley was hired in June as head baseball coach at Daleville (Ind.) Junior-Senior High School. He was junior varsity coach for the Broncos in 2018 and 2019, would have been a varsity assistant in 2020 (a season taken away by COVID-19) and did serve in that position in 2021 on the staff of Terry Turner, who retired after that campaign. Daleville won IHSAA Class 1A state championships on Turner’s watch in 2016 and 2018. “Coach Turner is definitely a baseball enthusiast and he loved being part of the high school game and having relationships with the kids,” says Earley. “He related things to life. A lot of things he did we’re going to continue to do.” Earley expects to field varsity and junior varsity teams in 2022. “We lost eight seniors and are bringing in eight or nine freshmen,” says Earley. “It’s a balancing act with total innings.” The winter of 2020-21 marked Earley’s first season as head girls basketball coach at Daleville. He was junior varsity boys basketball coach under Broncos head coach Tyler Stoller from 2017-18 to 2019-20. With Bryce Drew as head coach, Earley served as head manager for the Valparaiso (Ind.) University men’s basketball team, graduating from VU in 2015. Earley credits the experience in shaping him as a coach and person. “It instilled the philosophy of servant leadership,” says Earley. “I try to convey that to all my kids. Even as the head coach I don’t consider myself to be above anybody. “You never know who’s watching.” He played one season of baseball at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. (2012), then transferred to Valpo U. During the school day, Earley teaches physical education for Grades 7-12. Austin and wife of seven years, Ellie, have an adopted son named Dukane (who turns 4 in October). Austin is a 2011 graduate of Pendleton (Ind.) Heights High School, where he was a four-year outfielder for Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bill Stoudt. “Coach Stoudt — to this day — is a big mentor for me,” says Earley. “He’s one of the first persons I talked to when I got (the job as Daleville head baseball coach). He’s a lifelong friend and lifelong mentor.” Earley appreciates the discipline and organization Stoudt brought to Arabians baseball. “Down to the smallest detail he had a plan mapped out,” says Earley. An IHSAA Limited Contact Period goes from Aug. 30-Oct. 16 and Earley has been leading baseball players two times a week. “We’re doing the best we can,” says Earley, who coaches at a school with an enrollment around 275. “We’ve got quite a few shared athletes and we started soccer (at Daleville) this year.” High school and junior high players have been at fall baseball activities. Spring baseball for Grades 6-8 was started at the school in 2019. “We’re trying to continue and build the legacy of Daleville baseball,” says Earley, who is assisted by Jake Sorenson, Curtis Wilson and Elliott Jackson. Daleville is a member of the Mid-Eastern Conference (with Blue River Valley, Cowan, Eastern Hancock, Monroe Central, Randolph Southern, Shenandoah, Union of Modoc, Wapahani and Wes-Del). In 2021, the Broncos were part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Anderson Preparatory Academy, Cowan, Liberty Christian, Southern Wells, Tri-Central and Wes-Del. Daleville has won 11 sectional titles — the last in 2019. Recent Daleville graduates to move on to college baseball include Evan Etchison (Grace College), Cayden Gothrup (Ball State University), Ryan Hale (Huntington University), Josh Price (Anderson University), Peyton Smith (Goshen College), Max Stecher (Indiana University Southeast), Jared Waltermire (Crown College in Saint Bonifacius, Minn.) and Ayden Wilson (Indiana Wesleyan University).
Tab Greenlee is trying to change the way baseball is perceived at Liberty Christian School in Anderson, Ind. “It’s all about culture change and getting them excited,” says Greenlee, who was hired before the 2020 season taken away by the COVID-19 pandemic, finished the 2021 campaign with 14 players and is preparing now for 2022. “I have 100 percent buy-in from the parents and it’s amazing.” How much buy-in? A recent field day brought out 50 people. “It was the coolest thing to watch,” says Greenlee. Baseball began at the school in 2006 and the Lions have yet to post a record over .500 or win a sectional title. “There’s been no consistency in coaches throughout the years,” says Greenlee, who spent 2021 setting the tone for the Lions, presenting a detailed practice plan while insisting the players also achieve in the classroom. “You get an F, you don’t play,” says Greenlee, who had to let five go last spring because of grades. “If you can’t be excellent in the classroom, I can’t trust you to be excellent on my field.” Greenlee, who teaches high school biology and middle school math, gets players the help they need to excel in academics. While four Lions graduated last spring, Greenlee is seeing progress. “We will be a lot stronger this next spring,” says Greenlee. “We have a foundation on how we play this game. We’re understanding the why.” An IHSAA Limited Contact Period goes from Aug. 30-Oct. 16. Off-season workouts were drawing up to 13 and that’s with soccer and cross country going on this fall at Liberty Christian (enrollment around 130). The Lions are part of the Pioneer Conference (with Anderson Preparatory Academy, Bethesda Christian, Central Christian Academy, Greenwood Christian, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, Indianapolis Shortridge, International, Muncie Burris, Park Tudor, Seton Catholic and University). In 2021, host Liberty Christian was part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Anderson Prep, Cowan, Daleville, Southern Wells, Tri-Central and Wes-Del. Greenlee, who is assisted by Jamie Woodyard, has two seniors who have been drawing interest from college baseball teams — Beckham Chappell and Tyler Houk. Both are three-sport athletes — soccer, basketball and baseball. “We encourage that,” says Greenlee. “Scouts want to know grades and they want to know if they play other sports. College sports in year-round.” At a school the size of Liberty Christian, multi-sport participation and cooperation is vital. “We are at each others’ games,” says Greenlee. “We’re there to support each other.” Besides boys soccer, boys and girls cross country and volleyball in the fall, LC has boys and girls basketball, boys and girls swimming and boys and girls archery in the winter and boys and girls track track and softball in addition to baseball in the spring. Liberty Christian plays its home games on a field rented from the city that’s adjacent to the Columbus Avenue campus where grades 7-12 meet. Preschool through Grade 6 meet in a building on Hillcrest Drive. To help feed the high school, Greenlee established a junior high baseball program at Liberty Christian last spring with 13 players – many of whom had never played the game. The plan is to add fifth and sixth graders this spring and third and fourth graders in the future. Greenlee, a 1985 Crawfordsville (Ind.) High School graduate who played baseball for Mike Klauka at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Mich., was at Toledo (Ohio) Christian prior to coming back to Indiana to be closer to family and to be a pastor at Tri-County Christian Church in Middletown. In seven years at Toledo Christian, he was head baseball coach for five and football offensive coordinator for four. When he took over in baseball he was the fourth head coach for the seniors. That team went 21-7 and won sectional and district titles. The next year, the Eagles won 24 games and also took sectional and district championships. Tab and wife Heather have three children — Taylor (26), Zach (22) and Calyb (12). Taylor and husband Christian Beck have a daughter, Harper Grace. Calyb is a Liberty Christian sixth grader who plays soccer, basketball and baseball.
“Last year we didn’t get to play,” says Marker. “We’re very young this year.”
Louie Falcone, a Seton Catholic graduate, was a freshman on the baseball team at Hanover (Ind.) College this spring.
Seton Catholic (enrollment around 90) wrapped the 2021 regular season with a 7-6 win against Union County. Patriots head coach Jordan Ashbrook, a former Richmond assistant, helped get the game moved to Day Air Ballpark — home of the High-A Central League’s Dayton (Ohio) Dragons.
Seton Catholic, which has three buildings in downtown Richmond (elementary, middle school and high school), has added a middle school baseball program of grades 6-8 in 2021.
“There’s work to be done to grow the program,” says Marker.
Marker, who teaches K-5 physical education at Test Intermediate School and is in his 23rd years in Richmond Community Schools, was a baseball assistant to Shawn Turner for four seasons (2016-19) at Richmond High after 10 seasons as assistant to Red Devils softball coach Kyle Ingram. His assistants at Seton Catholic are Ingram, Robert Cornell and Brice Brown.
A few summers back, Marker coached for the Midwest Astros travel baseball organization.
A graduate of Randolph Southern Junior/Senior High School in Lynn, Ind., where father Larry was a longtime athletic director, Marker played for the Rebels and for the John Lebo-managed Richmond Post 65 state runner-up team.
“I’ve had some pretty good coaches who took me under my wing,” says Marker.
It was in March 1986 while Marker was away playing baseball that his hometown was rocked by a tornado.
“That was before cellphones,” says Marker. “For three days, I did not get ahold of mom and dad.”
When he got back to Lynn, his parents were fine.
After college, Marker had a few professional tryouts and hurt his arm. He played for the Portland (Ind.) Rockets and in fast pitch softball with K&G Sporting Goods (Seymour) and New Construction (Shelbyville).
Marker also teaches summer school P.E., umpires church league softball and likes to run haunted houses.
Whitehead is in his 19th season leading the Panthers program. He is also the Upper School athletic director at the private K-12 school (Grades K-5 in the Lower School, 6-8 in the Middle School and 9-12 in the Upper School – 9-12). The institution, which has about 375 in the Upper School, sports a 100 percent college placement rate.
“We’re big on education-based athletics and helping shape these young men and prepare them for their future,” says Whitehead. “It’s about having them learn lifelong lessons through baseball and what it means to be a good teammate, be focused, win and lose with grace and learn how to compete.
“Pretty soon they’ll have to compete in the game of life and it’s pretty tough out there.”
As far as the baseball part of the equation?
“We want to be fundamentally sound, have a high baseball I.Q., throw strikes (as pitchers) and make the right play,” says Whitehead. “We play fundamentally well and we execute.”
Park Tudor has 21 players in the program in 2021 and plays both a varsity and junior varsity schedule. That means players are asked to play multiple positions and many get a chance to pitch.
The baseball-playing schools see each other once each during the season.
The Panthers are part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Cascade (the 2021 host), Covenant Christian, Monrovia, Speedway and University. Park Tudor has won seven sectional titles — the last in 2013. A 1A state championship was earned in 1999 (Bob Hildebrand was head coach).
Micah Johnson, a 2009 Park Tudor graduate, was a standout at Indiana University and played in the majors for the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. He is now blossoming in the art world, frequently traveling back and forth from Indy to LA.
Current Panthers senior C.J. Richmond has committed to Western Illinois University. Whitehead says he expects that underclassmen will have a chance to play college baseball.
Park Tudor plays its home games on its campus located on College Avenue — about three miles northwest of Bishop Chatard High School and three miles northeast of Butler University.
A large backstop/net system was just installed at the Panthers’ field, which typically hosts IHSAA sectional and regional tournaments but with the construction of a new wellness center those events will be hosted in 2021 by Cascade.
In a non-COVID-19 year, Park Tudor will usually field a sixth grade team and a seventh/eighth grade squad that take on area independent and public middle schools.
“This is not a normal year,” says Whitehead. “(Grades 6-8) are practicing but not competing due to the pandemic.”
Whitehead is a 1996 graduate of Crawfordsville High School, where he played for Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer John Froedge and longtime assistant Rhett Welliever and was a teammate of current Athenians head coach Brett Motz.
“My four years we won a lot of ball games,” says Whitehead. “Coach Froedge was a big fundamentals guy. We were the start of Crawfordsville being really good.
“We went 30-3 and lost to Portage in semistate my junior year. That’s when there was one class.”
A celebration honoring Froedge was postponed in 2020 and is slated for Saturday, May 15 when Park Tudor plays at Crawfordsville. Bruce Whitehead, Courtney’s father, was Athenians AD for many years.
Courtney Whitehead played three seasons of college baseball — two at Indiana University Purdue University (IUPUI) for Bret Shambaugh and one at Goshen College for Todd Bacon.
As AD at Park Tudor, Whitehead oversees an athletic department that has 20 varsity teams, including baseball, boys golf, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, girls softball, girls tennis, boys track and field and girls track and field in the spring.
“I’ve got good people to help me to manage events and good set of coaches,” says Whitehead. “We communicate well.”
Whitehead began his coaching career at Lowell (Ind.) High School, assisting Kirk Kennedy in football and Mike Magley in basketball.
He was then a football assistant to Sean Tomey at Lafayette Central Catholic High School in the same school year that he helped Jamie Sailors with Harrison High School (West Lafayette) baseball.
Assisting Whitehead at Park Tudor in 2021 are Toby Rogers, Fred Pinch and Madison Foster with the varsity and Brent Smith and Lane Waters with the JV. Rogers played high school ball at Bloomington South then at IUPUI for Shambaugh. Pinch is from the Washington D.C. area. Foster, a 2012 Park Tudor graduate, played for Whitehead and was on three consecutive semistate teams before playing at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois.
Brent Smith is the father of former Whitehead player Calvin Smith. Harrison graduate Waters played baseball for the Raiders then basketball at Calvin University in Michigan.
Courtney and wife Beth have two sons and a daughter — all attending Park Tudor — freshman Nolan (as in Nolan Ryan), sixth grader Camden (as in Camden Yards in Baltimore) and second grader Addison (as in Clark and Addison, site of Wrigley Field in Chicago).
“My wife is a big sports and baseball person,” says Courtney Whitehead.
Many of Whitehead’s relatives are in the Nappanee/Bremen area.
A.J. Whitehead, who was a basketball standout at NorthWood High School in Nappanee and Bethel College (now Bethel University) in Mishawaka, Ind., is associate director of strength and conditioning at Purdue.
Stevens took over the Patriots just a few months before the 2019 campaign, got through a year without games because of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) and expects up to 20 players in 2021 at a private school of about 85 students.
“I’m trying to make this program relevant again,” says Stevens. “Baseball has been an afterthought for awhile.”
Bethesda Christian’s junior high baseball coach for a few seasons, Stevens was asked to head up the varsity in January 2019.
“We had to circle the wagons and get some practices going,” says Stevens. “We had no equipment and no set routine for the varsity schedule.
“We started building it basically from scratch.”
The school has replaced its rickety press box and Stevens would like to get a new backstop.
The Patriots began workouts for 2020-21 in October and just finished the latest IHSAA Limited Contact Period for bat-and-ball activities. Players are now using a speed and agility routine devised by strength and conditioning expert Zach Dechant and a throwing strength training course put together by Jason Taulman, a former college coach who runs the Indy Sharks travel organization.
“I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made in the speed on my baseball team,” says Stevens of Dechant’s system. “It really works.
“I use (the throwing program) with the entire team. We use med balls and J-bands and do core work.”
With Bethesda’s basketball teams getting first priority on gym time in February, a handful of baseball players were at the school a 6 a.m. Friday workout.
Stevens’ assistant coach is Bethesda Christian graduate Josh Stroud.
Besides the junior high team, Stevens would like to establish a feeder system at the elementary level.
“I want to get them younger if I can,” says Stevens. “You have to build a program from the bottom up.”
“Before that Southmont played Crawfordsville and North Montgomery (school system players) and that was it,” says Stevens, who helped the league branch out to find a variety of competition around Indianapolis.
Tom and wife Christy’s daughter, Madi, transferred to Bethesda when she was a ninth grader. She’s now an elementary education major at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
When their sister changed schools, brothers Garrett and Wyatt — who began playing T-ball at Southmont — decided to also make the switch.
Garrett Stevens is now a Bethesda senior. Bethesda is preparing to put stage “Beauty and The Beast” in March and Garrett is to play The Beast.
The Patriots’ top pitcher touches 90 mph on the radar gun, Garrett will be a teammate of freshman Wyatt.
Garrett is committed to play baseball at Anderson (Ind.) University.
“(Ravens head) Coach (Matt) Bair knows baseball, but he’s a good mentor and cares about the boys,” says Stevens. “I’m more interested in these boys become good young men and that they become all-stars at leaders in their communities and their families.”
Bethesda Christian graduate Brayden Sayre is on the baseball roster at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind.
Stevens is a licensed electrician, but has not worked in that field for about five years. He had a home improvement company in Crawfordsville. For the past three years, he’s been an apprentice to his wife in Winding Creek Ranch, a Crawfordsville-based dog breeding business specializing in Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
Stevens has coached travel ball, but he’s partial to the community leagues for younger players.
“Travel ball has no place for any kid below the junior high level and that’s pushing it,” says Stevens. “Let’s play ball locally.”
“Our focus is to get back to the basics, be better fundamentally and get the numbers up,” says Arnold. “We want to make sure the kids are giving back to the community and be visible in the youth leagues.”
The Tipton County-based Trojans are part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Anderson Preparatory Academy, Cowan, Daleville, Liberty Christian, Southern Wells and Wes-Del. Tri-Central has won three sectional titles — 1987, 2003 (1A) and 2004 (1A).
Arnold expects to have athletes splitting their time between track and baseball. Sharing athletes at a small school means cooperation among coaches.
“All get along and work together,” says Arnold. “Kids have to pitch which sport is their priority.”
“There are several in next few years that could play at the next level,” says Arnold, who will be assisted by Scott Overley, Jason Dyer and volunteer Dean Muehller.
Tri-Central plays its game on campus. There are no planned updates to the field, but the Trojans are expected to get a new look.
“They used to have an all-white home uniform,” says Arnold. “We’re going to get away from that. We have a grass field with brick dust and it’s hard to get that stuff out.”
Consequently, Tri-Central will go with gold tops at home, blue tops on the road and gray pants.
Arnold is a 1988 Elwood (Ind.) Community High School graduate. He attended William Penn College (now William Penn University) in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Indiana University Kokomo for one year each.
Shane and Kelly Arnold have been married for 28 years and have four children and three granddaughters. Son Shane Thomas Arnold is an Elwood High teacher and the Panthers new head baseball coach. Daughter Caitlyn is married for a Marine at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina named Jordan. Son Aiden is a Tri-Central senior football and baseball player. Son Brody is TC sixth grader who plays football, basketball and baseball.
“There’s no down season at our house,” says Arnold. “It’s football, basketball, baseball, something.”
The Arnold family shares a moment at the football field. Tri-Central head coach Shane Arnold is with son Aiden Arnold, wife Kelly Arnold and son Brody Arnold. Shane is also the head baseball coach for the Sharpsville, Ind.-based Trojans.
Shane Arnold, Kelly Arnold and Aiden Arnold enjoy a family moment. Shane is the head football and baseball coach at Tri-Central High School in Sharpsville, Ind.
Kelly and Shane Arnold pause while on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Shane is the head football and baseball coach at Tri-Central High School in Sharpsville, Ind.
Kelly and Shane Arnold have been married for 28 years. He is head baseball and football coach at Tri-Central High School. He has coached softball Tri-Central and Taylor High School and been involved in youth baseball for decades.
Shane Arnold (left), the head baseball and football coach at Tri-Central High School in Sharpsville, Ind., stands with son Aiden, a senior on both teams in 2019-20.
The two Shane Arnolds between games of a 2019 high school baseball doubleheader. The father (on the left) is head coach at Tri-Central High School. The son (at the right) was an assistant last spring and is to be the head coach at Elwood (Ind.) Community High School in 2020.
Entering his second season in 2019, Todd is emphasizing defensive communication and execution at the school in Gaston, Ind., northwest of Muncie.
“If you’re defense is bad, it’s hard to win even if you do hit,” says Todd. “We try to limit the free 90’s and win that battle every game.
“That gives us a chance to at least be in the game.”
During this IHSAA limited contact period, Todd’s Warriors have been in the small middle school gym on Wednesday or Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.
“We usually have stations for defensive reps or conditioning for an hour then do hitting and flat-mound bullpens for an hour,” says Todd. “We keep them working. Everybody is doing something. We don’t want anybody standing around. We’re getting a lot of things accomplished and getting better at all times.”
MEC teams play each other once at various times during the spring to determine a conference champion.
Todd says it has been announced that beginning in 2021 conference games will be played every Tuesday and Thursday with schedules being laid out around those days.
Non-conference opponents include Alexandria-Monroe, Anderson Preparatory Academy, Blackford, Delta, Eastbrook, Elwood, Frankton, Liberty Christian, Madison-Grant, Muncie Burris, Seton Catholic, Southern Wells, Union City and Yorktown. The Delaware County tournament is slated for May 7 and May 11.
The home field is located behind the school on North Yorktown-Gaston Pike (North 600 West).
The Warriors are in an IHSAA Class 1A grouping with Anderson Prep, Cowan, Daleville, Liberty Christian, Southern Wells and Tri-Central. Wes-Del last won a sectional title in 2011.
Todd is assisted by Ken Zvokel (varsity) and Zach Tanner (JV) with occasional help from other volunteers. Mary Helen Bink has been a scorekeeper for Wes-Del for more than three decades.
A year ago, Wes-Del had 20 players in the program. Nine of those have graduated and two others are not expected back. Based on call-out meetings, Todd says he may have as many as 24 this spring.
The first official day of practice is March 11. Spring break for Wes-Del Community Schools is March 22-29. The baseball team is slated for open its season April 2 and have six games scheduled in the first eight days.
“Players have 10 practice to get before spring break,” says Todd, referring to the IHSAA rule for participation. “It’s imperative that they come to all practices.”
Wes-Del Youth Athletic Association provides baseball and softball for T-ball through age 12.
To provide baseball opportunities for middle schoolers, a team has been organized for Wes-Del boys that plays in the spring and summer.
Others Wes-Del athletes participate in the summer in the East Central Indiana League and in travel baseball.
Bob and Felicia Todd have two children — McKenzie (20) and Zack (15). Zack Todd is a freshman baseball player at Wes-Del and plays with the Indiana Nitro during the travel ball season.
Bob Todd is a 1996 graduate of Muncie South Side High School, where he played freshmen baseball when Larry Lewis was head coach.
Before taking the job at Wes-Del, Todd had coached in area travel ball organizations, including the Indiana Mojo.
Todd is employed as a general manager for American Pest Professionals, which has offices in Muncie and Marion.
The Todd family (from left): Felicia, Zack, Bob and McKenzie. Bob Todd is head baseball coach at Wes-Del High Sch