BY STEVE KRAH
Evan Kahre is coming to the close of a college baseball journey that has led to hundreds of relationships.
A senior outfielder at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Kahre has graduated with a Finance degree and is exploring his future options.
“I don’t have anything set in stone yet,” says Kahre, who turned 24 in April. “But I have a lot of things I want to try to do. I know I have a lot of different opportunities. The great thing about playing baseball and going to three different (colleges) and playing summer ball I know I have 300-500 guys that could call me at anytime to offer me a job or an opportunity to work anywhere or do anything.”
Kahre (pronounced Car-EE) was born in Evansville, grew up on the north side of town and graduated from Evansville Central High School in 2017. He has spent two years each at Olney (Ill.) Central College, the University of Evansville and USI.
He played in 65 games and hit .356 (67-of-188) with three home runs, three triples, 13 doubles, 31 runs batted in, 56 runs scored and 18 stolen bases for the OCC Blue Knights in 2018.
Kahre committed to Evansville in the fall of his sophomore year at Olney then had hand surgery after winter break. He got into just two games in 2019 and took a medical redshirt.
He appeared in 12 games at Evansville in 2020 — the season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic and got that year of eligibility back.
Kahre played in 19 games for the Purple Aces in 2021 and went 0-of-7 at the plate and opted to move on.
“I was very fortunate,” says Kahre. “Growing up in Evansville I knew a lot of guys around USI’s baseball team. Coach (Tracy) Archuleta was one of the first people to call me after I entered the Transfer Portal.
“I just love him as a person and as a coach as well. He’s very personable and easy to talk to.”
Archuleta, who has led the Screaming Eagles program since the 2007 season, has shown the ability to get the most out of players.
“When it comes down to it, if you mess up in a game he’s going to hold you accountable, which is good,” says Kahre. “He expects more out of every individual than they think they’re capable of and that’s how he’s created great teams and great players in the past.”
Southern Indiana went from NCAA Division II in 2022 to NCAA D-I in 2023.
“I already knew what we were getting into,” says Kahre, having been with a D-I program at Evansville. “I really wish a lot of other guys could have seen that.
“Baseball is so mental. It’s about the mindset and what you think of it. If we think we’re going to lose we probably don’t have a good chance to win. If we think we’re just as good as any team we have a really good chance to win.”
Many of the players on the 2022 USI roster made the transition in 2023.
“The guys we’re playing now aren’t any different than the ones we played in Division II,” says Kahre. “They put their shoes on the same way in the morning as we do.”
Kahre sees no skill gap between D-I and D-II position players. There might be a little with hitters and there tends to be more velocity coming from DI weekend starting pitchers.
USI is in the nine-team Ohio Valley Conference. The top eight makes the OVC tournament. The Screaming Eagles (15-36, 6-14) are currently in eighth ahead of Lindenwood.
A regular season-closing series at Tennessee Tech is May 18-20.
“We really need to get some wins this weekend,” says Kahre.
As an outfielder, Kahre works with assistant Seth LaRue as well as Archuleta.
Kahre, who is 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds and throws and hits right-handed, goes into the Tennessee Tech series hitting .304 (49-of-161) with two home runs, three triples, seven doubles, 21 runs batted in, 36 runs scored, 22 walks and 12 stolen bases. He has started in all 40 games in which he has played.
In 2022, he played in 43 contests (all starts) and hit .290 (40-of-138) with no homers, five triples, six doubles, 22 RBIs, 34 runs, 29 walks and eight stolen bases.
“I’ve always been able to run a little bit,” says Kahre. “The goal is to get into scoring position.”
Kahre is aware of pitchers throwing off-speed pitches. He studies his pick-off move and reads balls in the dirt.
During the season, Kahre was moved to the lead-off spot in the Southern Indiana batting order.
“I see it as a leadership role,” says Kahre. “I’m trying put together a good at-bat and get on-base to start us in a positive direction.”
The past two years, Kahre played in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
“I had a great host family,” says Kahre, who stayed both years with Trevor and Abbey Hash.
He did not play summer ball in 2020 and was with the Dubois County Bombers in Huntingburg, Ind., in 2018 and 2019. Andy Lasher (who is now head coach at Oakland City University) was the manager the first year and Travis LaMar the second.
Kahre’s formal baseball start was in Cal Ripken. He played travel ball for Boonville/Indiana Gold and in his 17U summer the Indiana Outlaws (now known as the Canes Midwest) and the 18U Evansville Leathernecks (based out of the training facility then now as Extra Innings and now Complete Game).
Mike Goedde, a former USI head coach and two-time UE pitching coach, was Kahre’s head coach at Evansville Central.
“Playing in high school is where I learned a good amount more about how the game should be played,” says Kahre. “(Goedde) taught us how to do the little things right.”
Brett and Stacey Kahre have three sons — Evan, Dax and Ashton. Brett Kahre played football at Evansville Central and now works in engineering for Brake Supply in Evansville. Stacey Kahre played softball at Evansville Reitz and UE and owns Midwest Skin Institute, a dermatology business in Evansville.
Dax Kahre (Evansville Central Class of 2021) played baseball in high school and is now a USI student. Ashton Kahre played baseball and soccer and picked up lacrosse in high school. He is an Evansville Central senior.