Tag Archives: Ball State University

Club baseball thriving at Indiana, Ball State, Notre Dame, Purdue

BY STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Varsity baseball on Indiana college campus gets the attention.
But those teams aren’t the only ones taking to the diamond representing their schools in 2022-23.
National Club Baseball Association — a division of Pittsburgh-based ColClubSports — features two squads at Indiana University (D-I and D-II) and one each at Ball State, Notre Dame and Purdue.
These four plus Illinois and Illinois State belong to the NCBA Great Lakes South. Squads played one or two series in the fall. Most games are in March and April.
The four-team NCBA D-I Great Lakes Regional is slated for May 12-14 at Ash Centre/World Baseball Academy in Fort Wayne, Ind. The eight-team NCBA D-I World Series is May 26-June 2 in Alton, Ill.
D-II regionals are May 5-7 at sites to be determined with the eight-team D-II World Series May 19-May 23 in Alton.
Indiana-based teams are made up of players with high school and/or high level travel ball experience.
The NCBA tracks rankings, statistics, standings and selects All-Americans.
Notre Dame is No. 9 and Illinois State and Illinois are vote-getters in the D-I Week 16 poll.
NCBA Great Lakes team previews can be found HERE.

Indiana
IU club officers are president Garrett Larson (Lucas, Texas), secretary Spencer Puett (Eden Prairie, Minn.), treasurer Jacob Kortenber (New Haven, Ind., graduate) and social media chair Casey Fanelli (Westfield, Ind., alum). Brenden Schrage (Elmhurst, Ill.) is a future vice president.
Games tend to be on Saturdays and Sundays.
Indiana’s D-I team went 2-4 in the fall — 1-2 against both Illinois and Illinois State. Beginning the Week of March 13, the spring season sees IU play Eastern Kentucky, Marquette, Ohio State and Tennessee for single games. Ball State visits for three games and the Hoosiers play three-game sets at Notre Dame and Purdue.
The D-II squad went 4-2 in the fall — 1-2 vs. Xavier and 3-0 vs. Eastern Kentucky.
Beginning the Week of Feb. 27, the spring season includes a three-game home series against Michigan State, three at Akron and three at home against Ohio State.
“The club experience is a great one not only for myself but a lot of other people because our club consists of mid- to high-level high school baseball players who could not make it at the next level or wanted to only play Division I college ball or go to a bigger school and get a better education,” says Larson, a junior Sports Media & Advertising co-major. “Club baseball is a way for us to keep playing the game we love.”
At Indiana in 2022-23, 85 to 100 players tried out for 26 vacancies on two teams. There’s about 20 players on each squad.
The club is responsible for securing playing fields and off-campus practice facilities, umpires and uniforms.
Club dues and fundraising helps pay expenses.
Bloomington North High School is Indiana’s home field.
“We’re very appreciative for that opportunity,” says Larson.
The club makes a donation to the school for the use of the Cougars’ diamond.
In past seasons, the club played some games at Bedford North Lawrence High School.
The club also supports the varsity Hoosiers when they play at Bart Kaufman Field aka The Bart.
“We go to those games all the time,” says Larson. “A lot of our best players tried to walk on and came to play for us.”
Club players tend to sit close to the home dugout and backstop and can be heard on TV and radio broadcasts.
Kortenber, a sophomore Sports Marketing & Management major, played for Dave Bischoff at New Haven High School and explains his reason for playing club baseball.
“I just really wanted to stay connected to the game and meet a bunch of new people,” says Kortenber, who considered being a manager for the varsity team. “Then I decided I could actually keep on playing.”
A club sports fair during “Welcome Week” is a big recruiting tool.
The club is open to anyone who wants to practice. Then there’s a travel roster.
Both D-I and D-II teams at Indiana practice together.
Schrage gives his “why.”
“It gets me out of the house,’ says Schrage, who now calls Indianapolis home and is a sophomore Informatics major with a Business cognate. “I like to collaborate with different people. I enjoy baseball players. That was my crowd in high school.
“I just want a competitive edge outside of doing lifting and homework. It’s nice to travel on the weekends and be part of a team.”
Indiana’s Twitter handle is @ClubBaseball_IU. The Instagram address is iuclubbaseball. The D-I roster can be found HERE and schedule HERE. The D-II roster can be found HERE and schedule HERE.

Ball State
BSU club officers include president Ross Culy (Winchester, Ind., Community High School graduate), vice president Clay Hamm (Blue Valley alum) and social media manager Ben Carr (Zionsville Community graduate).
Ball State lost three-game series to Notre Dame and Purdue in the fall. The spring slate begins the Week of March 20 and the Cardinals play a series at Indiana with home series against Illinois State and Illinois.
Culy, a third-year senior on pace to graduate in the spring with a double major in Analytics and Economics, talks about what he gets from club baseball.
“It definitely starts with a lot of friendships and relationships you make,” says Culy. “Relationships are really important in life.
“Being president has developed my leadership abilities and people skills.”
The club is hoping to play one home series on the varsity field (Ball Diamond) and will play the other at a local high school or perhaps Gainbridge Field at McCulloch Park in Muncie.
Fall home games are played at Ball Diamond.
Club dues are $350 for the year or $175 per semester and pay for jerseys, travel, umpires etc.
“We try to keep our costs as low as possible and keep guys in the club,” says Culy.
The club had to disband during the COVID-19 pandemic and came back in 2021-22.
“We’re accepting anybody who wants to play,” says Culy. “We have from former college players and high-level high school to kids who never played before.
“We don’t currently have enough to make cuts. This year we had huge growth. We have 30-ish guys which is a big improvement from last year.
Most recruiting was done at the club fair at the beginning of the school year.
“A lot of it is just getting our name out there and getting the players who have the talent and interest,” says Culy.
Three member of Ball State’s swimming and diving program — Michael Burns (South Bend, Ind., Riley High School graduate), Erkan Ozgen (Burr Ridge, Ill.) and Porter Brovont (Eastern of Greentown alum) — have indicated they will join the baseball club at the conclusion of their season.
Hamm, a sophomore Sport Administration major, split his high school days between New Castle and Blue River Valley before playing one season at the University of Northwestern Ohio and transferring to Ball State and joining the club.
“I just wanted to get back into baseball,” says Hamm. “It’s a lot of fun. Everybody wants to be there and wants to play.”
Carr, a freshman Sports Administration major and Marketing minor, tells why he’s involved.
“I love baseball,” says Carr. “I played it all my life. I played throughout high school and had some opportunities to play (intercollegiate ball). Ball State was the best first for me.
“I got involved (in club baseball) and it’s a blast.”
As an Indiana Expos travel ball player, Carr was coached by former Indiana club member Leo Tobasco.
Carr is a submarine pitcher. He was throwing from a three-quarter arm slot as a high school junior and looking to see how he could help on a staff of fireballers.
“One of my coaches suggested that I try to see if I could throw sidearm or lower,” says Carr. “I kept messing with it and kept messing with it. I became an effective groundball pitcher.”
As social media manager, Carr has been able to tap into skill he learned from his father who is a graphic designer and get his friend who is a photographer to provide compelling shots.
“I’ve edits for our schedule on Instagram that I’m pretty proud of,” says Carr.
Cooper Roach, a Delta High School graduate and freshman Data Analytics major, was smitten by baseball growing up in Muncie.
“There’s something different about it I love,” says Roach. “I don’t think I can ever get away from baseball because of it.”
Ball State’s club fair is how he found out about the opportunity to keep playing in college.
“I’d like to see the club aspect pushed a little more,” says Roach of club sports overall.
Ball State’s Instagram address is ballstatebaseballclub. The roster can be found HERE and schedule HERE.

Notre Dame
ND club officers are president Josh Dippold (Fort Wayne Bishop Luers graduate), interim vice president Sam Sikkink (Minnetonka, Minn., and serving for Lafayette, La.’s Jacob Tate who is studying abroad), secretary Chris Ayres (Malvern, Pa.) and treasurer Brady LaBahn (Apple Valley, Minn.).
Players pay $315 per semester to pay for travel, umpires, league, registration etc. Donation also come in from alumni and family during “ND Day.”
The Irish won the 8th annual Battle Creek Blast in the fall as the wild card, besting Illinois State B 11-1 and Michigan-Flint 21-1 and losing 5-4 to Michigan in pool play before topping Michigan 11-4 and Illinois 18-1 in the single-elimination bracket.
Besides taking that 12-team event at C.O. Brown Stadium, Notre Dame also swept a three-game conference series against Ball State.
The spring began this past weekend with a three-game sweep at Kentucky. Next is a series at Illinois then home series vs. Indiana, Illinois State and Purdue.
South Bend Clay High School has been a home field for Notre Dame. The club is hoping to play some games on-campus at Frank Eck Stadium — home to the varsity Irish.
Notre Dame lost to Michigan in 2022 regional championship.
“It was nice to see them this fall in Battle Creek,” says Dippold, who played his home games while at Bishop Luers at the Ash Centre.
He grew up playing travel ball around Fort Wayne, including with the Summit City Sluggers and Lance Hershberger-led Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana Buzz.
Dippold, a senior Theology major with a Pre-Health supplemental major and Latino Studies minor, intends to go to medical school.
The club president says about 50 players try out in the fall. There are currently 29 on the roster (33 is the maximum).
“I love baseball and the leadership that comes with being around so many ballplayers and friends,” says Dippold. “It’s for the love of the game and you need to be heads-up to be a good ballplayer. It’s America’s Pastime to me.
“I see the freshmen and sophomores on our team and I want to give back to the game. When I’m older I know I will be a coach of some sort.
“I’m incredibly grateful that God has bestowed this opportunity for me to still be playing the game as a senior in college. This year I feel like we have something left in the tank and some unfinished business.
“I’ve always been a competitor. I look forward to being something more than an academic competitor and let it loose on the baseball field.”
Jake Fuehrmeyer, a graduate of Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, Ind., and a senior Science Pre-Professional (Pre-Med) major, decided to attend Notre Dame rather than play varsity baseball and study at a smaller school in Illinois.
He expresses his appreciation for club ball.
“It’s been everything to be college experience-wise,” says Fuehrmeyer. “I never would have thought I’d still get to play ball once I got to Notre Dame.
“It’s allowed me the opportunity to continue to compete at a high level. My favorite thing to do is play baseball.
“All of the guys on the team are such great dudes. I look forward to going to practice. I look forward to competing in games. It’s given me a ton of new friends.”
While vans were to be used to travel to the Kentucky series, players typically car-pool to away games.
“It’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make,” says Fuehrmeyer. “We’ll go wherever the baseball is.”
In-season, Notre Dame tends to practice twice a week for 90 minutes.
Outside of practice, Fuehrmeyer seeks time to get in swings on his own or long toss with a friend.
There is an on-campus practice space. RBIs Unlimited in Mishawaka offers an off-campus training option.
While he’s got a full plate, Fuehrmeyer does carve out time to follow the varsity Irish.
“College baseball is some of the most-exciting baseball you can watch,” says Fuehrmeyer. “It’s evolving at a rapid pace. We’re seeing some outstanding talent come through Notre Dame.
“We’ve got some serious talent on the varsity team and it’s reflected in how good our club team is.
“I look at some guys and say, “Wow! Why aren’t you playing (NCAA) Division I baseball somewhere?”
Notre Dame’s Twitter handle is @NDclubbaseball. The Instagram address is ndclubbaseball. The roster can be found HERE and schedule HERE.

Purdue
PU club officers are president Daniel Stephen (Fort Wayne, Ind., Northrop High School graduate), vice president Ross Ostrager (Plainview, N.Y.), treasurer Jacob Knaust (O’Fallon, Ill.), fundraising officer Jeremy VanTryon (Plainfield, Ind., High School alum), community service officer Joe Patton (Kansas City, Kan.) and safety officer Kyle Goff (Fort Wayne, Ind., Carroll graduate). Dr. Howard Zelanik is advisor.
Purdue went 6-5 in the fall — 3-0 vs. Ball State, 2-1 vs. Eastern Kentucky, 0-3 vs. Illinois State and 1-1 vs. Miami (Ohio). Beginning the Week of March 13, an 11-game spring includes contests against Ohio, Tennessee, Ohio State, Iowa and Wyoming in Panama City Beach, Fla., before a three-game series at Illinois, three at home against Indiana and three at Notre Dame.
Purdue senior James Ham, a Lafayette (Ind.) Harrison High School alum, pitched a no-hitter Oct. 1, 2022 against Ball State with 15 strikeouts in seven innings.
The no-no was caught by junior Ostrager.
The club was present at the B-Involved Fair and had callouts last August. Tryouts were last September at the Purdue Intramural Fields.
Home games are played at Crawfordsville (Ind.) High School.
The team has a set of bats, helmets, and catchers gear. Hats, jerseys, black pants, gold stirrups and a gold belt are provided. Players must have their own glove, cleats, white baseball pants, gray baseball pants, black socks and black belt.
Semester dues can vary depending on expected club expenses. They are typically around $300 for returning members and $350 for new members.
The Twitter handle is @PUBaseballClub. The Instagram address is pubaseballclub. The roster can be found HERE and the schedule HERE.

Other Places
George Boardman is a pitcher on the Vanderbilt University club in Nashville, Tenn.
Boardman, of LaPorte, Ind., is a freshman Law History Society major.
After playing for coach Kurt Christiansen, he graduated from Culver (Ind.) Academies in 2021.
“I’m pretty serious about going to law school so playing for an actual college team was too much of a time commitment,” says Boardman. “I selected Vanderbilt for many other reasons, but (club baseball) was an added benefit.
“Most of the people on our team could have played (NCAA) D-III baseball.”
Like Boardman, they those Vandy for its academic rigor.
“Club baseball here at Vanderbilt is really, really balanced,” says Boardman. “We practice three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We usually play six or seven series (in the spring and fall) with three games each.
“Attendance at those series is completely optional. The flexibility is perfect. If you have a class or a ton of homework, just text your coach or (club) president and say, ‘I can’t make it.’
“You can pretty much make out of it what you want.”
The club plays many of its home games at nearby Belmont University though there is a contest scheduled April 9 against Georgia State at Hawkins Field — where the Vandy Boys varsity plays.

Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Indiana University’s club baseball team. (IU Club Baseball Photo)
Ross Culy. (Ball State Club Baseball Photo)
Clay Hamm. (Ball State Club Baseball Photo)
Ben Carr. (Ball State Club Baseball Photo)
Cooper Roach. (Ball State Club Baseball Photo)
Notre Dame seniors with 2022-23 Battle Creek Blast trophy. Notre Dame club baseball seniors in the fall of 2022 (from left): Peter Colevas, Brady LaBan, Sam Sikkink, Jake Fuehrmeyer and Josh Dippold. (ND Club Baseball Photo)
Notre Dame wins 2022-23 Battle Creek Blast trophyNotre Dame club baseball’s Battle Creek Blast champions in the fall of 2022 (from left): First row — Tony Ingram, Peter Colevas, Chris Ayres, Sam Sikkink and Josh Dippold. Second row — Tommy Hoefling, Tommy Toole, Hawkins Suter, Daniel Kim, Jake Fuehrmeyer, Andrew D’Arcy, Luke Brandau, Chris Hoofing, Brady LaBahn, Keaton Rodgers, Danny Durkin, Peter Royeca, Joe Bollard, Joey Vaughan, Justin Zach and Brady Soenen. (ND Club Baseball Photo)
Notre Dame club baseball’s Josh Dippold (7) in the bullpen in the fall of 2022. (ND Club Baseball Photo)
Notre Dame club baseball in the fall of 2022 (from left): First row — Peter Royeca, Tony Ingram, Sam Sikkink, Josh Dippold and Chris Ayres. Second row — Peter Mercurio, Jacob Tate, Keaton Rodgers, Brady LaBan, Grant Woodward, Dash Muller and Chris Hoefling. (ND Club Baseball Photo)
Purdue’s club baseball team organizes for 2022-23. (Purdue Club Baseball Image)
Purdue’s James Ham pitched a no-hitter against Ball State in the fall of 2022. (Purdue Club Baseball Photo)
Purdue’s Jacob Knaust earned NCBA Great Lakes South Player of the Week honors in the fall of 2022. (Purdue Club Baseball Photo)
George Boardman, of LaPorte, Ind., and a Culver, Ind., Academies, is a student and club baseball player at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
Vanderbilt University’s club baseball team after a 2022-23 win against Mississippi State. (Vanderbilt Club Baseball Photo)

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Oakland City ‘mighty’ strong out of the gate

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

NAIA member Oakland City University is off to a 15-1 start to the 2023 baseball season.
The Andy Lasher-coached Mighty Oaks pushed their win streak to seven with four more this week.
Heritage Hills High School graduate Sam Pinckert (.357) and Evansville Central alum Garrett Causey (.351) lead OCU in hitting.
Right-handers Hunter Callahan (3-0), Vincennes Lincoln product Blake Mincey (2-0) and North Vermillion alum Luke Osborn (2-0) account for nearly half the pitching victories.
Another NAIA squad — Grace (8-3) — enjoyed a 3-1 week.
The Ryan Roth-coached Lancers are led offensively on the season by Sam Newkirk (.410), Grant Hartley (.345) and Bradyn McIntosh (.343). Three players have bashed three homers — Newkirk, Perry Meridian graduate John Joyce and Penn alum Jeff Pawlik.
Washington Township graduate and left-hander Steven Hernandez (2-1) paces the pitching staff in wins. Westview alum and right-hander Hunter Schumacher has three saves.
Jordan Wiersema (.472) and Cooper Tolson (.423) are hitting leaders for NAIA Bethel (7-5).
Logansport graduate Tucker Platt (.410) has the top average and Carmel alum Luke Barnes has popped five homers for NAIA Indiana University-Kokomo (7-7).
Homestead graduate Kaleb Kolpien is hitting .448 with three homers and Greenwood Community alum T.J. Bass (.328) has clubbed four homers for NAIA Taylor (7-7).
Hamilton Southeastern graduate Jacob Daftari has a pair of two-homer games in a four-game sweep for NAIA Indiana Tech (6-1). Brice Stultz went deep for the Warriors in another contest.
Mississinewa alum Tyler Jakob (.385) is the top hitter while right-handers Joey Butz (Heritage Christian) and Tyler Papenbrock (Leo) have two pitching victories each for NAIA Huntington (6-5).
Bryce Davenport (.429) has started seven games and Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter alum right-hander Damien Wallace has two wins for NAIA Marian (2-2).
Homestead graduate Jayden Lepper (.400) and David Miller (three homers) has played all 12 games and right-hander Blaine McRae (Fort Wayne South Side) has two wins for NAIA Saint Francis (5-7).
Sean Moore (.400) has played in all 12 games and right-hander Maxwell Everaert (Hebron) has two wins for NAIA Calumet of St. Joseph (4-7).
Trent Sillett (.417) has the best average, Jenner Rodammer has socked three homers and right-hander David Lopez has two victories for NAIA Goshen (4-7).
Greensburg alum Logan Smith (.429) is the top hitter, Brenden Bell has three homers and right-hander Robbie Berger (John Glenn) two saves for NAIA Indiana University South Bend (4-7).
Decatur Central graduate Brayden Hazelwood (.405) has played in all 11 games for Indiana University Southeast (3-8).
Tri-West Hendricks alum Lucas Goodin (.422) has 11 starts and Mooresville graduate Nick Wiley three homers for NAIA Indiana Wesleyan (3-7-1).
NCAA D-II University of Indianapolis (6-0) produced another three-game series sweep.
Top hitters for the Al Ready-coached Greyhounds so far are Brandon DeWitt (.500), Drew Donaldson (.462), Union County alum Denton Shepler (.444), Lewis Cass graduate Easton Good (.435) and Lawrence North alum Caleb Vaughn (.429). Three of four hits for Brady Ware are home runs.
Left-hander DeWitt (2-0) and right-hander Logan Peterson are UIndy victory leaders.
NCAA D-III Rose-Hulman knocked off No. 3-ranked LaGrange (Ga.) 6-3 Sunday.
The first four hitters in the lineup for the Adam Rosen-coached Fightin’ Engineers — Terre Haute South Vigo graduate Kade Kline, Colter Coulliard-Rodak, Dalton Busboom and Andy Krajecki — scored a run.
Warsaw alum Liam Patton (.435) is off to a hot offensive start and right-hander Derek Haslett (Indianapolis Cathedral) is 2-0 for D-III Wabash (4-2).
Trine (3-0) got four runs batted in each from Cory Erbskorn and Bedford North Lawrence graduate Dalton Nikirk during a season-opening series sweep for the Greg Perschke-coached Thunder.
Among the state’s 10 NCAA D-I programs, Purdue and Southern Indiana are off to the best starts.
Both the Boilermakers and Screaming Eagles are 5-3. Purdue just split four games with New Jersey Institute of Technology. Southern Indiana took two of three against Bellarmine.
Couper Cornblum (.375), Jake Jarvis (.375) and Evan Albrecht (.346) are leading hitters for Purdue. Paul Toetz has a team-leading three homers. Right-hander Aaron Suval is 2-0 with one save and a 1.23 ERA.
Ricardo Van Grieken has started all eight games for USI and is hitting .429. Tucker Ebest has slugged a team-best three homers. On the mound, righty and Jeffersonville alum Gavin Seebold is 1-0 with a 1.08 earned run average.
Right-hander Luke Sinnard picked up the win Sunday as Indiana (3-4) won 4-2 at Texas. The 6-foot-8 Sinnard is 2-0.
Among other D-I leaders in homers, South Central (Union Mills) graduate Kyle Schmack of Valparaiso (4-2) and Ryan Peltier of Ball State (4-4) have four, Joey Urban of Butler (2-5), Linton-Stockton alum Kip Fougerousse of Evansville (2-5) and Valpo’s Nolan Tucker, a Hanover Central graduate, have three.
In junior college ball, Shakamak alum Ethan Burdette (.441) is the leading hitter for Vincennes (4-8).

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through Feb. 26
NCAA D-I

Purdue 5-3 (0-0 Big Ten)
Southern Indiana 5-3 (0-0 OVC)
Valparaiso 4-2 (0-0 MVC)
Ball State 4-4 (0-0 MAC)
Notre Dame 3-3 (0-0 ACC)
Indiana 3-4 (0-0 Big Ten)
Butler 2-5 (0-0 Big East)
Evansville 2-5 (0-0 MVC)
Indiana State 2-5 (0-0 MVC)
Purdue Fort Wayne 1-7 (0-0 Horizon)

NCAA D-II
Indianapolis 6-0 (0-0 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 1-3 (0-0 GLIAC)

NCAA D-III
Wabash 4-2 (0-0 NCAC)
Earlham 3-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Trine 3-0 (0-0 MIAA)
Franklin 2-0 (0-0 HCAC)
DePauw 2-3 (0-0 NCAC)
Manchester 1-1 (0-0 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 1-2 (0-0 HCAC)
Anderson 0-3 (0-0 HCAC)
Hanover 0-3 (0-0 HCAC)

NAIA
Oakland City 15-1 (0-0 RSC)
Grace 8-3 (0-0 CL)
Bethel 7-5 (0-0 CL)
IU-Kokomo 7-7 (0-0 RSC)
Taylor 7-7 (0-0 CL)
Indiana Tech 6-1 (0-0 WHAC)
Huntington 6-5 (0-0 CL)
Marian 6-6 (0-0 CL)
Saint Francis 5-7 (0-0 CL)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 4-7 (0-0 CCAC)
Goshen 4-7 (0-0 CL)
IU South Bend 4-11 (0-0 CCAC)
IU Southeast 3-8 (0-0 RSC)
Indiana Wesleyan 3-7-1 (0-0 CL)
IUPU-Columbus 1-11

Junior College
Vincennes 4-8 (0-0 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 1-4
Marian’s Ancilla 0-8 (0-0 MCCAA)

Through Feb. 26
NCAA D-I
Tuesday, Feb. 21

Kentucky 6, Evansville 3
Indiana 13, Miami (Ohio) 5
Indiana State 8, Florida Gulf Coast 7
Lipscomb 6, Southern Indiana 4

Wednesday, Feb. 22
Miami (Fla.) 9, Indiana State 3

Friday, Feb. 24
Ball State 9, Merrimack 0
Campbell 9, Butler 4
Eastern Michigan 5, Evansville 2
Texas 4, Indiana 2
Notre Dame 6, UNC-Greensboro 5
Purdue 6, New Jersey Institute of Technology 5
New Jersey Institute of Technology 5, Purdue 1
Bethune-Cookman 13, Purdue Fort Wayne 8
Bellarmine 4, Southern Indiana 2
Valparaiso 10, Tennessee-Martin 2

Saturday, Feb. 25
Ball State 5, Rutgers 4
Bucknell 7, Ball State 2
Campbell 25, Butler 6
Evansville 9, Eastern Michigan 7
Texas 5, Indiana 2
Northeastern 9, Indiana State 5
Northeastern 15, Indiana State 10
UNC-Greensboro 12, Notre Dame 0
Purdue 7, New Jersey Institute of Technology 4
Bethune-Cookman 9, Purdue Fort Wayne 5
Bethune-Cookman 7, Purdue Fort Wayne 4
Southern Indiana 6, Bellarmine 3
Valparaiso 5, Tennessee-Martin 4 (10 inn.)

Sunday, Feb. 26
Ball State 6, Canisius 1
Campbell 10, Butler 9
Evansville 5, Eastern Michigan 3
Indiana 4, Texas 2
Northeastern 8, Indiana State 7 (11 inn.)
Notre Dame 7, UNC-Greensboro 4
New Jersey Institute of Technology 7, Purdue 5
Bethune-Cookman 10, Purdue Fort Wayne 0
Southern Indiana 18, Bellarmine 5
Valparaiso 17, Tennessee-Martin 4

NCAA D-II
Saturday, Feb. 25

Indianapolis 4, Grand Valley State 2
Indianapolis 10, Grand Valley State 8
Northwood 4, Purdue Northwest 3
Northwood 9, Purdue Northwest 8

Sunday, Feb. 26
Indianapolis 7, Grand Valley State 4
Purdue Northwest 6, Northwood 4
Northwood 13, Purdue Northwest 2

NCAA D-III
Friday, Feb. 24

Webster 16, DePauw 5
Earlham 12, Olivet 10
Maryville 16, Hanover 5

Saturday, Feb. 25
Trine 8, Anderson 5
Trine 8, Anderson 2
Spalding 4, DePauw 3
Earlham 11, Olivet 9
Earlham 9, Olivet 3
Manchester 12, York (Pa.) 5
LaGrange 20, Rose-Hulman 3
LaGrange 14, Rose-Hulman 2
Wabash 14, Albion 2
Hope 12, Wabash 5

Sunday, Feb. 26
Trine 7, Anderson 4
DePauw 4, Wilmington 2
Franklin 3, Saint Mary’s (Minn.) 2
Franklin 1, Saint Mary’s (Minn.) 0
Maryville 4, Hanover 3
Maryville 16, Hanover 12
York (Pa.) 3, Manchester
Rose-Hulman 6, LaGrange 3
Heidelberg 6, Wabash 2

NAIA
Thursday, Feb. 23

Bethel 16, Toccoa Falls 14
Grace 9, Trinity Christian 7
Trinity Christian 15, Grace 7
Oakland City 13, IUPU-Columbus 2
Oakland City 11, IUPU-Columbus 1
Taylor 20, Olivet Nazarene 5 (7 inn.)
Taylor 13, Olivet Nazarene 1

Friday, Feb. 24
Toccoa Falls 8, Bethel 7
Toccoa Falls 9, Bethel 7
Calumet of St. Joseph 7, Hannibal-LaGrange 0
Calumet of St. Joseph 9, Hannibal-LaGrange 0
IU Southeast 5, Huntington 1
IU Southeast 8, Huntington 7
Oakland City 11, IUPU-Columbus 4
Oakland City 5, IUPU-Columbus 3
Georgia Gwinnett 6, IU South Bend 3
Georgia Gwinnett 8, IU South Bend 4
Faulkner 8, Indiana Wesleyan 7
Faulkner 7, Indiana Wesleyan 1

Saturday, Feb. 25
Hannibal-LaGrange 6, Calumet of St. Joseph 5
Calumet of St. Joseph 7, Hannibal-LaGrange 6
Goshen 7, Brescia 0
Brescia 3, Goshen 2
Grace 6, Trinity Christian 3
Grace 11, Trinity Christian 5
Northwest Ohio 4, Huntington 1
Northwest Ohio 3, Huntington 2
IU-Kokomo 6, Saint Francis (Ind.) 2
Saint Francis (Ind.) 4, Madonna 2
Madonna 4, IU-Kokomo 2
Georgia Gwinnett 10, IU South Bend 5
Georgia Gwinnett 10, IU South Bend 2
Indiana Tech 12, Saint Ambrose 8
Indiana Tech 7, Saint Ambrose 3
Faulkner 10, Indiana Wesleyan 4
Concordia (Mich.) 9, Marian 6
Concordia (Mich.) 9, Marian 7
Taylor 6, Olivet Nazarene 5
Olivet Nazarene 4, Taylor 3

Sunday, Feb. 26
Goshen 6, Brescia 4
Goshen 7, Brescia 5
Madonna 10, IU-Kokomo 4
Saint Francis (Ind.) 14, Madonna 2
IU-Kokomo 7, Saint Francis (Ind.) 5
IUPU-Columbus at Cincinnati-Clermont
Northwestern Ohio 8, IU Southeast 7
IU Southeast 7, Northwestern Ohio 2
Indiana Tech 7, Saint Ambrose 2
Indiana Tech 4, Saint Ambrose 2
Marian 12, Concordia (Mich.) 6

Junior College
Tuesday, Feb. 21

Wabash Valley 8, Vincennes 2

Friday, Feb. 24
Olney Central 9, Vincennes 5

Saturday, Feb. 25
Morton 12, Vincennes 9
Joliet 12, Vincennes 9

Sunday, Feb. 26
Vincennes 12, Morton 4

Indiana college baseball gets rolling for 2023

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

The 2023 season has begun most of Indiana’s 39 baseball-playing colleges and universities.
All 10 NCAA Division I schools opened up Friday, Feb. 17. Purdue and Southern Indiana enjoyed 3-1 weekends.
It was the first games for the Tracy Archuleta-coached Screaming Eagles since moving up from NCAA D-II.
Butler’s Blake Beemer picked up his first two wins as a collegiate head coach.
Shawn Stiffler earned his first triumph as head coach at Notre Dame.
At the D-II level, Indianapolis racked up 62 runs in a three-game sweep of Notre Dame College.
D-III Wabash — coached by Jake Martin — went 3-0 with wins against three different foes.
The only other Indiana school in the division to get started was DePauw (1-1). The other seven are slated to start this week.
NAIA boasts 15 Indiana schools and some have been going for weeks.
The hottest starters are Oakland City (11-1), Huntington (6-1), Bethel (6-3) and Grace (5-2).
Andy Lasher’s OCU Mighty Oaks are coming off a 3-1 weekend.
Huntington is in its first season with Thad Frame as Foresters head coach.
This is the hottest start for Bethel since the Seth Zartman-led Pilots began 15-2, including 11-1 in the fall.
Ryan Roth’s Grace Lancers are coming off a 3-1 weekend against Aquinas.
Indiana University Purdue University at Columbus launched its program and it’s first victory under Pride head coach Scott Bickel came Feb. 12 against Huntington. Jared Ross socked the first home run in program history.
In junior college ball, Chris Barney’s 3-4 Vincennes Trailblazers won their last two games.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through Feb. 19
NCAA D-I
Purdue 3-1 (0-0 Big Ten)
Southern Indiana 3-1 (0-OVC)
Butler 2-2 (0-0 Big East)
Indiana State 1-1 (0-0 MVC)
Notre Dame 1-2 (0-0 ACC)
Indiana 1-2 (0-0 Big Ten)
Valparaiso 1-2 (0-0 MVC)
Ball State 1-3 (0-0 MAC)
Purdue Fort Wayne 1-3 (0-0 Horizon)
Evansville 0-3 (0-0 MVC)

NCAA D-II
Indianapolis 3-0 (0-0 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 0-0 (0-0 GLIAC)

NCAA D-III
Wabash 3-0 (0-0 NCAC)
DePauw 1-1 (0-0 NCAC)
Anderson 0-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Earlham 0-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Franklin 0-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Hanover 0-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Manchester 0-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 0-0 (0-0 HCAC)
Trine 0-0 (0-0 MIAA)

NAIA
Oakland City 11-1 (0-0 RSC)
Huntington 6-1 (0-0 CL)
Bethel 6-3 (0-0 CL)
Grace 5-2 (0-0 CL)
Marian 5-4 (0-0 CL)
IU-Kokomo 5-5 (0-0 RSC)
Taylor 4-6 (0-0 CL)
IU South Bend 4-7 (0-0 CCAC)
Indiana Wesleyan 3-4-1 (0-0 CL)
Saint Francis 3-5 (0-0 CL)
Indiana Tech 2-1 (0-0 WHAC)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 1-6 (0-0 CCAC)
Goshen 1-6 (0-0 CL)
IUPU-Columbus 1-6
IU Southeast 0-7 (0-0 RSC)

Junior College
Vincennes 3-4 (0-0 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 1-3
Marian’s Ancilla 0-8 (0-0 MCCAA)

Through Feb. 19
NCAA D-I
Friday, Feb. 17
Ball State 2, Charlotte 1
Lipscomb 5, Notre Dame 4
Troy 12, Evansville 7
Purdue 12, Holy Cross 1
Iowa 6, Indiana State 2
Auburn 8, Indiana 4
Farleigh Dickinson 9, Butler 8
Alabama State 13, Purdue Fort Wayne 0
Southern Indiana 11, Western Illinois 5
Kansas 5, Valparaiso 1

Saturday, Feb. 18
Charlotte 9, Ball State 4
Charlotte 9, Ball State 5
Notre Dame 8, Lipscomb 4
Troy 8, Evansville 7
Purdue 14, Holy Cross 4 (7 inn.)
Holy Cross 12, Purdue 3
Indiana State 6, Quinnipiac 1
Auburn 6, Indiana 1
Butler 3, Farleigh Dickinson 0
Butler 16, Farleigh Dickinson 7
Purdue Fort Wayne 4, Alabama State 3
Alabama State 18, Purdue Fort Wayne 4
Western Illinois 5, Southern Indiana 2
Southern Indiana 6, Western Illinois 0
Valparaiso 11, Kansas 3

Sunday, Feb. 19
Charlotte 19, Ball State 5
Lipscomb 4, Notre Dame 2
Troy 11, Evansville 10
Purdue 12, Holy Cross 2 (8 inn.)
Indiana 11, Auburn 2
Farleigh Dickinson 10, Butler 9
Alabama State 13, Purdue Fort Wayne 11
Southern Indiana 5, Western Illinois 4
Kansas 6, Valparaiso 4

NCAA D-II
Saturday, Feb. 18
Indianapolis 17, Notre Dame College 1
Indianapolis 32, Notre Dame College 7
Saturday, Feb. 19
Indianapolis 13, Notre Dame College 1 (7 inn.)

NCAA D-III
Friday, Feb. 17

Wabash 5, Augustana 1

Saturday, Feb. 18
Wabash 11, Wisconsin-Eau Claire 6

Sunday, Feb. 19
DePauw 11, Ripon 10
North Central 8, DePauw 2
Wabash 10, Rhodes 9

NAIA
Thursday, Jan. 26

Benedictine at Mesa 3, Taylor 2

Friday, Jan. 27
Taylor 17, Kansas Wesleyan 10

Saturday, Jan. 28
Embry-Riddle 8, Taylor 4

Friday, Feb. 3
Blue Mountain 11, Bethel 3
IU-Kokomo 14, Point 2
Georgia Gwinnett 5, Indiana Wesleyan 1
Indiana Wesleyan 6, Georgia Gwinnett 4

Saturday, Feb. 4
Blue Mountain 4, Bethel 3
Bethel 4, Blue Mountain 3
Tennessee Southern 14, Calumet of St. Joseph 3
Tennessee Southern 7, Calumet of St. Joseph 6
Union 9, Goshen 5
Union 14, Goshen 1
IU-Kokomo 14, Cumberland 7
IU-Kokomo 15, St. Andrews 2
IU South Bend 6, Thomas More 1
West Virginia Tech 1, IU South Bend 0
Georgia Gwinnett 5, Indiana Wesleyan 3

Sunday, Feb. 5
Calumet of St. Joseph 23, Tennessee Southern 14
Tennessee Southern 17, Calumet of St. Joseph 11
Union 6, Goshen 0
Union 7, Goshen 5
Lindsey Wilson 5, IU South Bend 3
Culver-Stockton 5, Marian 4
Faulkner 9, Marian 6
Oakland City 13, Johnson 5
Oakland City 6, Johnson 2

Monday, Feb. 6
Cumberlands 7, IU Southeast 6
Oakland City 4, Johnson 3
Thursday, Feb. 9
Indiana Wesleyan 12, Cumberland 12 (13 inn.)

Friday, Feb. 10
Bethel 7, Champion Christian 3
Bethel 10, Champion Christian 4
Oakland City 5, Calumet of St. Joseph 1
Grace 2, Trinity International 1
Grace 3, Trinity International 2
Huntington 11, IUPU-Columbus 0
Huntington 4, IUPU-Columbus 3
IU-Kokomo 7, Truett McConnell 0
Truett McConnell 13, IU-Kokomo 2
Tennessee Southern 3, IU South Bend 0
Tennessee Southern 7, IU South Bend 0
Indiana Wesleyan 11, Cumberland 7
Freed-Hardeman 10, Saint Francis 0
Freed-Hardeman 13, Saint Francis 4
Georgia Gwinnett 9, Taylor 4
Georgia Gwinnett 8, Taylor 1

Saturday, Feb. 11
Bethel 9, Champion Christian 1
Bethel 13, Champion Christian 0
Oakland City 10, Calumet of St. Joseph 0
Oakland City 9, Calumet of St. Joseph 3
Grace 3, Trinity International 2
Truett McConnell 20, IU-Kokomo 19
Tennessee Southern 5, IU South Bend 3
Tennessee Southern 10, IU South Bend 6
Columbia College 9, IU Southeast 4
Columbia College 4, IU Southeast 3
Indiana Wesleyan 11, Cumberland 7
Marian 5, Tougaloo 1
Marian 17, Tougaloo 4
Freed-Hardeman 2, Saint Francis 1
Freed-Hardeman 8, Saint Francis 7
Georgia Gwinnett 6, Taylor 4

Sunday, Feb. 12
IUPU-Columbus 5, Huntington 2
Huntington 14, IUPU-Columbus 5
Columbia College 11, IU Southeast 4
Marian 7, Tougaloo 2

Wednesday, Feb. 15
Taylor 30, IUPU-Columbus 1

Friday, Feb. 17
Ecclesia 6, Goshen 2
Middle Georgia State 11, IU-Kokomo 0
IU-Kokomo 11, Middle Georgia State 1
Webber International 6, IU Southeast 5
Taylor 6, Point Park 2 (10 inn.)

Saturday, Feb. 18
Bethel 7, Oakland City 4
Oakland City 6, Bethel 4
Ecclesia 4, Goshen 3
Goshen 16, Ecclesia 0
Grace 9, Aquinas 7
Aquinas 10, Grace 9 (10 inn.)
Huntington 3, Saint Xavier 0
Huntington 11, Saint Xavier 0
Indiana Tech 11, Midway 10 (10 inn.)
Middle Georgia State 3, IU-Kokomo 0
Middle Georgia State 7, IU-Kokomo 4
Marian 19, IUPU-Columbus 10
Marian 9, IUPU-Columbus 8
IU South Bend 6, Culver-Stockton 4
IU South Bend 9, Culver-Stockton 3
Lindsey Wilson 12, Indiana Wesleyan 11 (10 inn.)
Lindsey Wilson 13, Indiana Wesleyan 8
Tennessee Southern 10, Saint Francis 5
Saint Francis 7, Tennessee Southern 0 (8 inn.)
Taylor 15, IU Southeast 5 (8 inn.)
William Carey 12, Taylor 3

Sunday, Feb. 19
Aquinas 14, Grace 9
Grace 16, Aquinas 11
Huntington 10, Georgetown College 5
Midway 10, Indiana Tech 8
Indiana Tech 12, Midway 7
Culver-Stockton 11, IU South Bend 4
IU South Bend 9, Culver-Stockton 8
Rheinhardt 11, IU Southeast 2
Oakland City 7, Marian 4
Oakland City 4, Marian 2
Saint Francis 7, Tennessee Southern 5
Saint Francis 23, Tennessee Southern 8

Junior College
Tuesday, Feb. 7

Kellogg 9, Ivy Tech Northeast 2

Friday, Feb. 10
Vincennes 7, Cleveland State CC 4
Cleveland State CC 3, Vincennes 0

Saturday, Feb. 11
Southeastern Illinois 14, Marian’s Ancilla 1 (5 inn.)
Southeastern Illinois 7, Marian’s Ancilla 1 (7 inn.)
Cleveland State CC 9, Vincennes 5

Sunday, Feb. 12
Southeastern Illinois 9, Marian’s Ancilla 1 (7 inn.)
Southeastern Illinois 12, Marian’s Ancilla 7 (7 inn.)

Wednesday, Feb.15
Frontier 8, Vincennes 1

Saturday, Feb. 18
Frontier 11, Marian’s Ancilla 1 (5 inn.)
Olney Central 5, Ivy Tech Northeast 3
Olney Central 9, Ivy Tech Northeast 1
South Sububurn 15, Vincennes 12
Vincennes 7, Marian’s Ancilla 0

Sunday, Feb. 19
Olney Central 2, Ivy Tech Northeast 1
South Suburban 16, Marian’s Ancilla 9
Vincennes 13, Marian’s Ancilla 4

Gorman experiences many moving parts as tournament director

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

About 4,000 teams are expected to play in Bullpen Tournaments events across the spring, summer and fall seasons at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind., and other diamonds.
His part of that will keep Chris Gorman hopping.
As Bullpen’s Director of High School Tournaments, he handles registration, scheduling and operations and also helps with staffing of interns and hourly workers and assists with youth tournaments when needed.
Most of the 15U to 18U tourneys held in June and July and coordinated by Gorman are staged at Grand Park and Championship Park in Kokomo.
Other local, high-quality off-site fields like Kokomo Municipal Stadium are also used.
The majority of teams are from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan, but there are those from outside.
Gorman counts Director of Operations Cam Eveland and Vice President of Operations Michael Tucker as his direct supervisors.
Born in Fort Wayne and raised in Auburn in Indiana, Gorman is a graduate of DeKalb High School in Waterloo, Ind. (2015) — where he played basketball — and Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. (2019) — where he was Sport Administration major and Marketing minor.
Gorman has also served Bullpen Tournaments as an hourly Quad Manager, making sure games ran smoothly and on schedule.
“This role helped me understand the operations and the standard that was needed to be met for all our events,” says Gorman. 
From there he was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations at Creekside Baseball Park in Parkville, Mo., a Prep Baseball Report facility just outside of Kansas City. The job allowed him to implement to apply the same standards set by Bullpen at Grand Park.
“This role required me to have my hands in many different areas of our business and helped me understand the entire company as a whole rather than just from an operations standpoint,” says Gorman.
Why did he choose this as a profession?
“I knew I always wanted to have some sort of career in the sports world,” says Gorman. “I was always curious about how things worked behind the scenes, so when I started out as an hourly worker for Bullpen, I was able to get hands on experience of the behind-the-scenes work involved in running high quality events.
“I learned to love the jobs I was asked to do so pursuing a sport operations role was something that interested me very strongly.”
Gorman’s resume also includes Security Assistant for the Chicago Cubs, Tournament Director for PBR, Tournament Site Director for World Baseball Academy in Fort Wayne and Ticket Sales Representative for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Chris Gorman. (Bullpen Tournaments Photo)

Traina building team chemistry with Merrillville Pirates

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Joe Traina has three main points of emphasis as the new head baseball coach at alma mater Merrillville (Ind.) High School — commitment, playing together and team chemistry.
“We’re making sure we’re there everyday,” says Traina, who was born in Merrillville, graduated from MHS in 2013 and has been teaching and coaching in the school system since 2017-18. “We were not weightlifting and conditioning very much. We have a strength and conditioning coach at Merrillville now (Brady Willard) so they can lift even when I’m not around.”
There is a text group chat that keeps the team communicating and Traina emphasizes staying in constant touch with parents.
Team chemistry is built through activities that require athletes coordinating to accomplish a goal.
Paul Wirtz was Pirates head coach when Traina joined the staff. Wirtz instituted “Animal Kingdom” workouts where there were stations for throwing, baserunning, conditioning etc., and teamwork was necessary.
Traina has had his athletes doing the same.
“They have to work step by step together to accomplish the goal,” says Traina. “That’s going make us a much stronger team.”
Merrillville (enrollment around 2,100) is a member of the Duneland Athletic Conference (with Chesterton, Crown Point, Lake Central, LaPorte, Michigan City, Portage and Valparaiso).
The Pirates are part of an IHSAA Class 4A sectional grouping in 2023 with East Chicago Central, Gary West Side, Hammond Central, Hammond Morton, Hobart, Lake Central and Munster. Merrillville has won 13 sectional crowns — the last in 2001. The Pirates were state runner-up in 1996.
Traina, who has taught at Merrillville Intermediate, Clifford Pierce Middle School and now Biology for freshmen at Merrillville High, was a junior varsity assistant to Connor Buxton then a varsity assistant when Buxton became head coach at Merrillville.
When Buxton stepped away Traina became head coach over the summer.
“It’s been a career goal to be the head of a program,” says Traina, 28. “I want to turn things around.”
The Pirates went 8-15 overall and 3-9 in the DAC in 2022.
Traina’s coaching staff counts Jose Carbajol as varsity assistant, Terrance Grayson as JV head coach and Juan Maldonado as JV assistant.
Merrillville started middle school baseball workouts at Bill Metcalf Field in July and games were played in the fall with Traina as head coach. High school players helped out.
“They were like bench coaches,” says Traina.
The first game was at Hanover Central, where Wirtz was serving as middle school coach.
Traina says the plan is for middle school baseball to continue as a fall sport.
Noting that Merrillville Little League no longer exists, Traina wants to work his way down the youth baseball ladder while building a feeder system for his program.
“We want to make sure kids have the opportunity to be exposed to the sport and get better,” says Traina. “We want to put a stop to getting pushed further behind (in development).”
Traina expects to have a young squad in 2023 with freshmen on the varsity.
Among the older players with college baseball aspirations are seniors Colin Early and Robert Richardson, who played both play varsity as freshmen, and junior Josh Magallon.
Pirates moving on to the college diamond since Traina has been coaching include Class of 2018’s Max Govert (Indiana University South Bend), Class of 2019’s Maldonado (Indiana Tech), Brandon Lucero (Earlham College) and Sven Strom (Saint Xavier University) and Class of 2021’s Dylan Coty (junior college).
Traina’s summer maintenance job includes taking care of the baseball field, where recent projects have included fixing the bullpens, adding dirt to mounds, turf to plate areas and dugout racks.
Traina played at Merrillville for Mark Schellinger.
“He’s one of the my favorite teachers and coaches,” says Traina of Schellinger. “When I got this job he reached out to offer any help I need. That meant a lot coming from a guy who had my back for four years here.”
He played at Merrillville Little League then travel ball for the Dave Griffin-led Indiana Playmakers then an Indianapolis-based team called the Indiana Irish. His parents — Frank Sr., and Michele — saw that he was shuttled two hours to Indy every week so he could have a new baseball experience and meet new people.
“I can’t thank them enough,” says Joe, the youngest of three children.
Frank Traina Sr., is retired from Siemens as an electronic engineer. Michele Traina is a school nurse secretary.
Ashley (Traina) Kendera (Merrillville Class of 2006) played softball for the Pirates, graduated from Ball State and now works as a page designer for The Times of Northwest Indiana. Her husband, Jason Kendera, is a former Merrillville girls soccer coach.
Frank Traina Jr., (Merrillville Class of 2010) played soccer and was a baseball manager for the Pirates during the Schellinger era. He now works as a bank teller.
After high school, Joe Traina went to Ball State University where he was a Sport Administration major and Coaching minor.
“I always wanted to go down the athletic director route,” says Traina, who got transition to teaching credentials through Calumet College of Saint Joseph. “Once I was in the classroom I decided to stick with teaching.”
He is also the head eighth grade boys basketball coach at Clifford Pierce.

Joe Traina. (Merrillville High School Photo)

‘Win 7’ battle cry of team-first Huntington North Vikings

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Toughness.
Resiliency.
Character.
Concentration.
Effort.
Attention to Detail.
Professionalism.
These are the seven winning values — the battle cry — of the baseball program at Huntington (Ind.) North High School.
“Win 7” is emblazoned on social media and apparel.
“We fully believe in the team and we try to remove the individuals and that’s coaches and players,” says Jarod Hammel, who in the second year of a second stint as Vikings head coach (he was an assistant beginning in 2010 and then head coach from 2017-19). “Everything that we do is about the team with the exception of the ‘Win 7’ (year-end award).
“It’s the player who embodied our seven values. It’s not the MVP. We make that clear to the guys and they vote on it.”
It’s those values that can be controlled every game regardless of how the scoreboard reads.
“We may not win all seven innings of every game, but we want to compete that way,” says Hammel. “If we get back on the bus and we feel we won those seven it’s going to be a good bus ride home.”
The “seven” theme does not end there.
“We have seven class periods in a day where we tell our kids you go in and you compete in the classroom as well and you win all seven of your periods,” says Hammel. “There are seven innings in each game. There are eight teams in (the Northeast Eight Conference) so we have to beat seven conference opponents. That’s our mindset. We may or may not, but we want to compete like we will.
“There’s seven games on a typical road to the (IHSAA) State Finals for us out of our bracket.”
Huntington North (enrollment around 1,500) counts Bellmont, Columbia City, DeKalb, East Noble, Leo, New Haven and Norwell as NE8 foes.
The Vikings are part of an IHSAA Class 4A sectional grouping in 2023 with Columbia City (host), Fort Wayne South Side, Fort Wayne Wayne, Homestead and New Haven. Huntington North has won 20 sectional titles — the last in 2017.
The program has also produced three regional crowns (1982, 1987 and 1993), one semistate championship (1993) and one state runner-up finish (1993).
A celebration of the ’93 team featuring Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association/Huntington North Athletics Hall of Famer Don Sherman during the 2023 season is now in the planning stages.
Hammel logged four baseball seasons (one coached by Chad Daughterty and three by Russ Degitz) and four at Huntington University (coached by Hall of Famer Mike Frame), picking up diplomas in 2006 and 2010.
“I was fortunate to have been a part of Viking baseball my whole life and be a small piece of it,” says Hammel. “I remember most the groups that I played on that served each other and was pulling for each other.
“So we’ve tried to create that and we’ve been fairly successful using the program to impact young men in the community.
To expose youth to Viking baseball and its players one method of outreach is a “home run derby” held on home football nights.
“We just let kids have fun,” says Hammel. “We don’t care if it’s the prettiest swing. We let them use wiffle ball bats and set up a snow fence.”
The recent IHSAA Limited Contact Period saw about 40 players participate with many others occupied with a fall sport.
“I think it’s going to be a competitive year to throw your name in the mix and be part of the program,” says Hammel. “I want to keep as many kids as I can and impact them through the program. We won’t turn any guys away who demonstrate commitment and desire to be involved and make good decisions. With that said, we’re probably going to land around 30 to 35 (players for varsity and junior varsity squads).
“We have a lot of multi-sport guys which I love. At minimum I’m wanting to catch a football practice a week so I can see our guys competing in a Viking jersey.”
Hammel says about 80 percent of those participating in the “Viking Velocity Builder Program” using a timed duration increased their arm strength and speed at the end of about six weeks training.
“We set realistic expectations of we can accomplish baseball-wise,” says Hammel. “Our primary focus was building relationships, especially with our new faces.”
Renovations took Huntington North from two baseball diamonds to one and three teams to two.
Viking Field, which is located on-campus, has new fencing, backstop netting and a brick kick wall as well as new batting cages and bullpens.
A hill in right field has been smoothed out and a tall wall has been installed. It’s 310 feet down the right field line, 345 in the right-center gap, 405 to center, 375 to left-center and 340 down the left field line.
“We’re so excited in some of the things the community has trusted us with,” says Hammel. “A significant amount of money has been donated to our baseball program.
“We have a new football field which is turf and we can work out on as well.
“It’s an exciting time for our guys to be involved. I think that they want to be good stewards of it.”
A former Mathematics teacher at Huntington North, Hammel is now an assistant principal. He has a masters degree from Ball State University and is married with four small children.

The 2022 Huntington (Ind.) North Vikings baseball team.
The 2022 Huntington (Ind.) North Vikings baseball team huddles.
The 2022 Huntington (Ind.) North Vikings baseball team bonds with bowling.
The 2022 Huntington (Ind.) North Vikings baseball team helps with the renovation of Viking Field.

IHSBCA Hall of Famers Calloway, Phares reflect, share views

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Ty Calloway and George Phares were on opposite sides as coaches of baseball and basketball in Indiana’s Howard County.
Calloway, a 1968 graduate of Western High School in Russiaville was at his alma mater and 1965 Shelbyville Senior High School grad Phares at Taylor High School on the side side of Kokomo.
Success came to both men and Phares (656-412 in seven seasons at Morristown and 31 at Taylor with an IHSAA Class 2A state championship for the Titans in 2000) was inducted into the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004. Calloway (662-310 with a 3A state title in 2012) joined his friend in the Hall in 2012 and retired after the 2013 season.
Taylor’s diamond was renamed Phares Field in 2006. After retiring from the classroom, he helped out at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion on the staffs of Mark DeMichael and Chad Newhard for seven or eight years.
Phares says he enjoyed his interactions with former Bethel University assistant and fellow IHSBCA Hall of Famer Dick Siler.
Future major league pitcher Brandon Beachy went Northwestern High School in Howard County to IWU.
Phares also volunteered at Taylor and Kokomo and could be seen in recent years helping each January with registration at the IHSBCA State Clinic in Indianapolis. He is also on Hall of Fame selection committees.
As retirees, Calloway and Phares share a log cabin on Dewart Lake near Leesburg in Kosciusko County. They often spend New Year’s Eve there with wives Dallas Calloway and Martha Phares.
Ty and Dallas are the parents of Wendy and Betsy. George and Martha have Jennifer, Tim and Susan.
“We are the second-most famous George and Martha in the United States,” says Phares with a nod to the Washington’s.
Recently, Calloway and Phares offered their views on a variety of topics related to baseball and education.
Calloway was in the last eighth grade class that went through in Taylor Township prior to the completion of the high school.
Ty’s two younger brothers — two and three years behind him — both went to Taylor.
“My parents had to split time going to my games and their games,” says Ty, who got to compete against middle brother Mike on both the diamond and the basketball court.
Mike’s class played a junior varsity schedule as freshmen then a varsity schedule as sophomores.
There was one baseball game between the two schools where Ty was on second base and one of his teammates hit a deep fly to center field.
“We didn’t have fences back then at Western,” says Ty. “Mike took off and I thought for sure it was over his head and I came all the way and stepped on home plate. All of a sudden, he did one of those ‘Willie Mays’ over-the-back catches. I had to retreat back. He threw (me) out at second.
“I was at shortstop when we picked Mike off second base. That was an interesting game.”
Ty and Mike guarded each other on the hardwood.
There was one season of baseball for Ty at Ball State University in Muncie and summers with the Kokomo Highlanders. He went on to earn a bachelors and a masters degree at BSU. He applied in several places but was offered a chance to teach and coach at Western by Norm Llewellyn and took it.
Calloway taught middle school Health and Physical Education.
Beginning in the spring of 1974, he was JV baseball coach for four years. He was also a varsity assistant or JV boys basketball coach for about 20 years.
Phares played baseball at Seymour High School as a freshman and the next three at Shelbyville. He went to Indiana State University and was cut from the team.
He graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Physical Education and went to Morristown in 1969-70.
“I had played (American) Legion baseball at Morristown and knew a lot of people there,” says Phares. “They hired me as a junior high baseball coach. I graduated from college on Sunday and Monday I started working. I was made head coach at the end of the first year.
“Throughout my high school career I was always the head baseball coach.”
Phares was also a varsity assistant in basketball at the beginning of his time at Taylor.
Calloway says it was his raising with his brothers and sister that led to his philosophy as a coach.
“My dad taught self-discipline and being responsible,” says Ty. “No matter whatever did give 100 percent effort and that’s what I told (our players) we’re gonna get.”
At tryout time when it came down to cutting down the roster and Calloway had two players of equal ability, character would be the tiebreaker.
Students and athletes on Calloway’s watch were expected to behave.
“You can’t win with kids who have bad character,” says Calloway. “You’ve got to have good kids.
“As much as you can you’ve got to be a good role model for those kids.”
Between the lines, Calloway stressed fundamentals and saw to it that those were being taught at Russiaville Little League.
Among those fundamentals was the proper throwing mechanics.
“The teams that win games are the teams that play the best pitch and catch,” says Calloway. “That’s a fact.”
Calloway organized practices where his player got plenty of repetitions and got better.
“In high school baseball, reps is the key to winning,” says Calloway. “Sometimes I said we play too many games. We need a couple more practice in-between.”
Calloway says games are where skills are showcased. Practices are where they are built.
One Western player who got better even after being cut multiple times was Steve Bagby. He started as a senior then played in the outfield at Coastal Carolina University.
“He was one of those kids who just kept getting better and better and better,” says Calloway of Bagby. “He matured and he worked on a skill.”
Both former coaches talked about dealing with parents.
“I was blessed,” says Phares. “I really didn’t have problems mount. I had parents who were unhappy. I tried to explain things to them and — for the most part — it worked out OK.
“You try to be fair.”
Calloway says he had few problems with parents during his lengthy career.
“You went to be straight up with them,” says Calloway. “You want the administration to back you.”
Phares, who later coached in the college ranks, made a point of being a straight shooter when a college coach came to evaluate of one of his players or even others in the area.
“I was always honest with him,” says Phares. “High school coaches can’t lie to those college coaches. You gotta tell the truth.
“Most parents would rank their kid better in their skill level than where they’re at. It’s just nature.”
Calloway was the same way. He’d know an athlete’s potential and his maturity level and would share that with recruiters.
“You’ve got to have the skill,” says Calloway. “And you have to have the strength and the speed. I’ve had a kid who had the skill and strength but was slower than molasses and couldn’t play at the (NCAA) Division I level.”
Many parents and players don’t realize that a “full-ride” scholarship is a rare thing in college baseball with rosters of 30-plus and 13.7 scholarships at the D-I level (and less at D-II, NAIA etc.).
Phares became a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in 1955 the year the team won the World Series and his home is full of Dodgers memorabilia.
Through his relationship with Dodgers scout Dale McReynolds (who signed Bob Welch, Jeff Hamilton and Steve Howe), there is a photo of Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda standing with Phares and Calloway.
It was the New York Yankees — who won plenty and were on the “Game of the Week” on TV with Dizzy Dean and Peewee Reese at the mic as Calloway was growing up that became his team.
The coaching veterans are not fans of some of baseball’s changes reflected in Major League Baseball and moving down.
“It’s changed for the worse,” says Phares. “Now the baseball game has become kind of a side show and all the antics of the players.
“They all have to flip their bats, stare down and do this and do that. I just don’t like it. It’s television. That’s what they want. I can’t stand to watch the Little League World Series anymore. They’re encouraging those kids to act like (the bat-flipping big leaguers).
“When they get to high school they’re got a bad attitude.”
Calloway sees a lot of self-centered behavior.
“The the Little League to the high school you’re starting to see kids where it’s about ‘me’ instead of ‘we.’”
He sees it reflected in Kokomo shrinking at the neighborhood park level. Many are leaving for travel ball and the youth leagues have shut down leaving them to play at Championship Park.
“We had a park in about every little area of town — UCT, Southside, Indian Heights, Northside,” says Calloway. “Local teams now are dwindling.”
When Calloway was coaching he would often have his top players on a travel or American Legion team and then there was a focus on the others.
“If I could devote time and make my 6 through 9 players better than your 6 through 9 players I’m going to beat you because baseball is consistently up and down the lineup,” says Calloway. “We would work in the off-season to develop these kids.”
Phares always enjoyed going to clinics and attended about four every year. He went with a purpose.
“My goal is to find one thing that we can use that will fit the Taylor Titan program that we can use to make us better,” says Phares. “I don’t think most coaches have a program. They play their games and they spend all winter going to these (showcase) camps and saying this kid throws 95 mph.”
The way Phares sees it, a testament to a program is one that can do well with multi-sport athletes who have chosen not to specialize in one area.
“(Taylor) didn’t have enough athletes and had to pass them around,” says Phares.

George Phares (left) and Ty Calloway. (Steve Krah Photo)

Fourteen candidates for IHSBCA Hall of Fame in ’23; ballot deadline Oct. 28

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association is looking to add to its Hall of Fame.
There are 14 men on the 2023 ballot.
Coaches up for consideration are Brian Jennings, Lea Selvey, Dean Lehrman, Gary Rogers, Kelby Weybright, Tim Terry, Kyle Kraemer and Dave Ginder.
Players/Contributors on the ballot include Wallace Johnson, Drew Storen, Dave Taylor, Bryan Bullington, Jeff Samardzija and A.J. Reed.
IHSBCA members may vote for up to four coaches and two players/contributors. Deadline for returning the ballot is Oct. 28. Inductees will be honored at the State Clinic Jan. 12-14, 2023 at Sheraton at the Crossing in Indianapolis.

IHSBCA HALL OF FAME
2022 BALLOT
Coaches
Brian Jennings
(Retired)

A 1987 graduate of Whiting High School and 1991 graduate of Indiana State University, Jennings began his coaching career at Whiting in 1996 and moved to Griffith High School in 1999 (retiring in 2022). His teams won 14 sectional and four conference and made a trip to the state championship game in 2001, losing to Indianapolis Cathedral.
During his 27 years as a varsity coach, he won 448 games.
He is a four-time conference coach of the year and one-time district coach of the year. Forty players went on to play college baseball and four in pro ball, including 2019 first-rounder Kody Hoese (Los Angeles Dodgers), and seven were selected as North/South All-Stars.
He was served on numerous IHSBCA committees, coached in the 2012 North/South All-Star Series in Jasper and organized the 2016 games in Whiting. He has announced the IHSAA State Finals for several years on the IHSAA Champions Network via radio and television.
He is currently an assistant principal at Griffith and resides in Whiting with wife Luann. Brian has two stepchildren — Ashley and Steve.

Lea Selvey
(Retired)

A graduate of Redkey High School, University of Evansville (bachelor’s) and Ball State University (master’s), Selvey spent his entire career at Jay County — five years as an assistant and 34 as head coach (retiring in 2022) — and won 530 games with seven sectionals and three regionals.
His teams have won five Olympic Conference titles and he was named OC Coach of the Year three time. He also has an Allen County Athletic Conference crown to his credit. Selvey was a District Coach of the Year in 2019.
He has served the IHSBCA as president, a regional representative and been on numerous committees and been an All-Star assistant twice. He’s also been a Regional Coach of the Year.
Selvey has coached 14 All-Stars and had numerous players go on to college baseball with two being selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and two others playing independent pro ball and overseas pro baseball. He coached the 1992 NABF Topps Player of the Year.
Selvey started the junior high program at Jay County and has been active with the Summit City Sluggers travel organization for nine years. He has also been involved with cross country, boys basketball and girls basketball over the years.
Lea and wife Denise have three children (Josh, Kristen and Kyle (wife Leah) and currently teaches Science at Jay County High School.

Dean Lehrman
(Active)

A graduate of Heritage High School and Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, Lehrman was a four-year baseball letterman in high school and pitched four years in college.
He has been a head baseball coach of 44 years — nine at Woodlan and 35 at Heritage (current). His teams have won 665 with 12 Allen County Athletic Conference titles along with eight sectionals, three regionals and one semistate.
There’s been three Final Four appearances and a state runner-up finish (2007). He’s an eight-time ACAC Coach of the Year. He’s also been a District Coach of the Year and twice been on the All-Star coaching staff.
He also coached football for 39 years, including six as head coach (40-26).
Dean and wife Janice have three children (Camryn, Derek and Ryne) and four grandchildren. Dean retired from teaching math at Heritage High School in 2020.

Gary Rogers
(Active)

A graduate of Merrillville High School and Huntington College, Rogers has been a head coach of 34 years — 32 at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers and two at Leo (current) with 513 wins. His Luers teams won four sectionals, one regional, one semistate and one state championship (2008).
He was the State Coach of the Year in 2008 and has twice been a District Coach of the Year. He has been on numerous IHSBCA committees and is very active in the Fort Wayne baseball community.
He was a volunteer assistant at Indiana Tech for many seasons, worked the Wildcat League for 33 years and is on the board of the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association (he is an NEIBA Hall of Famer).

Kelby Weybright
(Retired)

A graduate of North White High School, he played three years at Blackburn College and earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Following one season as a North White assistant, Weybright spent six seasons as an assistant and 11 as head coach at Norwell High School. There he compiled a record of 243-93 before retiring in 2012 to coach his sons in travel baseball.
His Norwell teams won two conference, seven sectional, four regional and two semistate titles. The Knights were Class 3A state champions in 2003 and 2007 and state runners-up in 2006. The 2006 and 2007 teams were a combined 64-2, including 35-0 in 2007 (the third unbeaten team during the IHSAA tournament era). That team finished No. 10 in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball/Easton Sports.
Weybright was IHSBCA 3A coach of the year in 2003 and 2007 and Northeast Eight Conference coach of the year in 2006 and 2007.
Twenty-two players went on to college baseball with six North/South All-Star Series selection (he was head coach in 2007 and series co-chair in Fort Wayne in 2011).
Four players were taken in the Major League Baseball draft with two making the big leagues.
Weybright has been on the IHSBCA executive council and served as the group’s president (2012-13). He remains active as a 3A poll voter.
He is currently athletic director at Norwell and continues to work with the baseball team occasionally during the season and the summer developmental period. He resides in Bluffton with wife Lisa, a teacher at Norwell Middle School. The couple has three children (Garrett, 23, Jacob, 20, and Maria, 19).

Tim Terry
(Active)

A graduate of Clinton High School and Indiana State University (bachelor’s and masters), Terry has been a baseball coach for 43 years — 41 as head coach — with 620 wins and eight sectionals. His teams have won 20 or more games 10 times and he has been a conference Coach of the Year on nine occasions.
He has twice been a District Coach of the Year, served as an IHSBCA All-Star coach twice and coaches several All-Staters and All-Stars. He’s been on many IHSBCA committees.
Terry played football, basketball and baseball at Clinton and baseball and Indiana State before an injury sidelined him.
He was a South Vermillion High School assistant in 1979 and 1981 and Turkey Run High School head coach in 1980. He became SVHS head coach in 1982.
He has also coached many Little League, Pony League, Babe Ruth and travel ball teams. He’s been a varsity football coach for three years and girls basketball coach of 34. In three sports, he has 922 victories.
Terry was an Industrial Arts and Physical Education teacher and has been South Vermillion athletic director for the past six years.
Tim and wife Kim (an SVHS Science teacher) have four boys (T.J., Carlton, Cooper and Easton).

Kyle Kraemer
(Active)

A 1986 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School, Kraemer was an IHSBCA first-team all-state selection as a senior and played in the North/South All-Star Series.
He played four years at Purdue University under IHSBCA Hall of Famer Dave Alexander. As a senior, he was team captain and led the Boilermakers with 10 home runs.
Kraemer will begin his 29th season as South Vigo in 2023. His record is 535-255-2. Coach K was also an assistant at Harrison (West Lafayette) in 1992 and South Vigo in 1993 and 1994. His first season leading the Braves was 1995.
Seventy-five players have gone on to the next level, including eight professionals. There have been 64 all-conference selections (42 Metropolitation Interscholastic Conference and 22 Conference Indiana). Eight players have been on the IHSBCA Academic All-State Team, 12 in the North/South All-Star Series and five IHSBCA first-team all-state.
He has coached teams to eight conference titles (six MIC and two CI) with 10 sectional and for regional crowns and two Final Four appearances. He was named MIC Coach of the Year six times and CI Coach of the Year twice.
Kraemer is an active IHSBCA member. He has been District M representative for more than 20 years and acted as hosted of the 2006 North/South Series. He was an assistant for the 2008 series. He has been on the South All-Star selection committee on numerous occasions. He has served as a 4A poll panelist the past seven years.
Kraemer teaches in the CTE department at South Vigo. Wife Valerie is a fourth grade teacher in Vigo County. The couple shares three children together — Koby Kramer (with wife Seyma), Ali Gonzalez (with husband Rigo) and Jacob Givens. There are also four grandchildren (Kali and Khali Kraemer and Liam and Leia Givens).

Dave Ginder
(Active)

A graduate of Carroll High School and Anderson University, Ginder is 426-147 in 20 seasons as Carroll head coach with seven Northeast Hoosier Conference, 11 sectional, four regional, two semistate and two state crowns (2010 and 2011).
He was the State Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011, NHC Coach of the Year in 2003, 2011 and 2013 and a District Coach of the Year in 2007, 2010 and 2001.
Ginder is an active IHSBCA member, having served as an All-Star coach in 2011 and many years as a member of the 4A poll panel. He has also been involved in many local baseball camps and clinics and is member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and Northeast Indiana Baseball Association.
Dave and wife Kristen reside in Fort Wayne and have three children (Langston, 23, Drezdan, 21, and Jantzyn, 18). Dave teaches mat at Carroll High School and Kristen is a Registered Nurse at Parkview.

Players/Contributors
Wallace Johnson
(Retired)

A graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School (1975) and Indiana State University (1979), Wallace played for legendary coach Bob Warn at ISU and was co-captain on the Sycamores’ first Missouri Valley Conference championship team and first NCAA Tournament team.
Johnson led the nation in hitting (.502) that season and hit .422 for his college career. He was inducted into the ISU Hall of Fame in 1985.
Drafted in 1979 by the Montreal Expos, Johnson was a Florida State League MVP and helped Denver (1981) and Indianapolis (1986) and Triple-A championships. He made his MLB debut with the Expos in 1981 and became the team’s all-time leader in pinch hits (86).
For his big league career, Johnson hit .255 with five home runs and 59 runs batted in over 428 games. After his playing career, he was third base coach for the Chicago White Sox for five seasons.

Drew Storen
(Retired)

A 2007 graduate of Brownsburg High School, he played for IHSBCA Hall of Famer Pat O’Neil and was a key member of the 2005 undefeated state championship team which the Indianapolis Star deemed “the greatest high school team in Indiana history.”
He was the No. 2 pitcher behind Lance Lynn as the Bulldogs were also state runners-up in 2004. Storen was 26-2 in his high school career with a 1.61 earned run average and 270 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings. He was all-state, academic all-state, a South all-star and a 34th round pick in the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
He played at Stanford University and was a two-time all-PAC-10 selection, going 12-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 15 saves, throwing mostly in a relief role. As a draft-eligible sophomore, he was chosen 10th overall for the Washington Nationals in 2009.
Storen enjoyed a nine-year career with the Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds. He went 29-18 with 99 saves. In 440 1/3 innings (all in relief), he struck out 417 and posted a 3.45 ERA. He pitched in two postseason series. He was 1-1 with a save against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 and 0-1 vs. the San Francisco Giants in 2014.
Drew and wife Brittani live in Indianapolis with two boys (Jace, 5, and Pierce, 2).

Dave Taylor
(Active)

A standout player at Southmont High School and Wabash College (where he was team captain), Taylor coached Little League, Babe Ruth, high school, AAU and American Legion ball.
During an AAU coaching stint in Florida he realized the level of travel baseball and how Indiana was underrepresented in this arena.
He formed the Indiana Bulls with the vision of providing Indiana high school players with the opportunity to pursue their college and MLB dreams. In 1992, the Bulls sponsored two games and Taylor coached the 18U squad with future big leaguers Scott Rolen and Todd Dunwoody.
He coached the Bulls four more seasons, served as president for 10 and officer for 20 and has been director since 1992.
More than 170 Bulls players have been drafted (12 in the first round) and over 300 have received NCAA Division I scholarships. The organization has 22 national titles and a professional staff that works 12 months a year. There are currently 25 teams ages 8U to 17U. Several are coached by former professionals who played for the Bulls.
Taylor resides in Brownsburg and is a leading insurance defense trail attorney, He has served 20 years as a certified Major League Baseball Players Association agent and represented more than 100 pro players. He continues to represent former players in various legal matters.

Bryan Bullington
(Retired)

A graduate of Madison Consolidated High School, Bullington was a two-sport athlete (basketball and baseball).
As a pitcher, he was 6-3 with 74 strikeouts as a sophomore in 1997, 10-1 with 1.69 earned run average and 65 strikeouts as a junior in 1998 and 15-0 with 1.49 ERA and 127 strikeouts as a senior in 1999.
He threw a one-hitter in helping Madison win a state championship in 1999 and was named Indiana Mr. Baseball by Hoosier Diamond. He was MVP of the IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series and selected in the 37th round of the MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals.
Bullington opted to attend Ball State University. In three seasons he was 29-11. He was Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2001 and 2002.
When he left BSU, he held school records for single-season wins (11), career wins (29), single-season strikeouts (139) and career strikeout (357) and still holds MAC single-season and career strikeout marks. He was named to the BSU Hall of Fame in 2014.
Bullington, a 2001 U.S. National Team pitcher in 2001, was the No. 1 overall draft selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002. He’s just one of two Indiana players taken with the top pick.
He logged 12 pro seasons (missing 2006 because of a torn labrum) with a 61-38 record, 3.68 ERA and 602 strikeouts in seven minor league campaigns. In five seasons with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, he was 46-48 with a 3.25 ERA and 550 strikeouts.
He pitched in 49 MLB games with the Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and Royals.
Bullington lives south of Chicago with his wife and three children and is a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jeff Samardzija
(Retired)

A 2003 graduate of Valparaiso High School, Samardzija is considered one of the best athletes in Indiana state history.
He was runner-up for Indiana Mr. Football and a three-time all-stater and all-star in that sport.
In baseball, he was runner-up for Mr. Baseball as a senior and was a three-year varsity letterman, an all-state honoree and center fielder.
He hit .375 with five home runs and 37 runs batted in as a junior. As a senior, he hit .481 with eight homers and 50 RBIs.
Samardzija chose to play football at Notre Dame and was invited to pitch for the Irish. He was a two-time All-American wide receiver and two-time All-American pitcher. He was a two-time runner-up for the Biletnikoff Award as the the college football season’s outstanding FBS receiver.
Despite his football skills and the likelihood of being drafted as a first-round pick by the NFL, he opted to play baseball after pitching for the Irish for three seasons.
Samardzija was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 draft by the Chicago Cubs and made his MLB debut in July 2008. He alspo played for the Oakland Athletics (2014), Chicago White Sox (2015) and San Francisco Giants (2016-20). He was an American League all-star in 2014. His career record was 80-106 with a 4.15 ERA and 1,449 strikeouts. He pitched 13 full seasons at the MLB level.
Jeff and brother Sam represent a rate achievement in VHS history as all-state performers in both football and baseball.

A.J. Reed
(Retired)

A 2011 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School, where he played for Kyle Kraemer, Reed was a three-time all-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference honoree, first-team All-State (2010 and 2011) and Indiana High School Player of the Year (2011).
He was also an IHSBCA South All-Star and the series MVP. He is listed in the IHSBCA record for walks in a season (first) and home runs in a season (sixth).
Reed played three seasons at the University of Kentucky (2012-14). After his junior year, he earned the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Golden Spikes Award (for the nation’s top amateur player), Dick Howser Trophy and Player of the Year honors from ABCA and Baseball America as well as the John Olerud Trophy and several first-team All-America mentions and Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year. In 2012, he was on several first-team Freshman All-America lists.
The Houston Astros selected Reed in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft and he was an All-Star in Minor League Baseball in 2015, 2017 and 2018. He was a two-time recipient of the Joe Bauman Award for leading MiLB in homers and was Rookie of the Year and MVP at Lancaster of the California League in 2015.
Reed retired from baseball in May 2020 and resides in Riley with Shelby and their two dogs. He plans to return to college to finish his bachelor’s degree.

Beemer brings energy as new Butler Bulldogs field boss

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Blake Beemer was hired as head baseball coach at NCAA Division I Butler University in Indianapolis in June 2022.
Beemer, a former first baseman at Ball State University (2010-13) and volunteer assistant at Penn State University (2014-15) and assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at both Eastern Illinois University (2016-18) and Ball State (2019-22), brings a style to his players he describes as energetic.
“They’ll get energy from me,” says Beemer, 31. “They’ll get dirt honesty. And I think that’s going to help build relationships.
“Guys are going to know where they stand. They’re going to know I care about them. They’re going to know who I am as a human being. Really building those relationships in that foundation will allow us to build toughness and accountability. We’ll build it with with energy will build relationships.”
As an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at Ball State over the past four seasons, Beemer helped the Cardinals to a 123-65 record with a Mid-American Conference regular-season championship and an appearance in the MAC Tournament championship game in 2022.
“I learned under one of the best in the business under (Ball State head coach) Rich Maloney,” says Beemer, who earned two degrees from BSU — a bachelor’s degree in 2012 and an Masters of Business Administration in 2014. “I’ve had a chance to see success at a high level through him.
“I think I know the state pretty well. I know what it takes to win him in major baseball. And I’ve got the energy to make sure this thing gets going.
“It’s a cool opportunity. I can tell you I’m very humbled to have this chance. And it’s a neat opportunity. This place can be a rock show. I mean, Butler has everything from the academic side to the location to facilities we can we can really win. Not to mention it’s a great conference (the Big East which also includes baseball-playing members Connecticut, Creighton, Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall. Villanova and Xavier). It’s a it’s a really cool opportunity.”
The Bulldogs went 20-35-1 overall and 4-16-1 in the Big East in 2022. It was the last season for the retiring Dave Schrage.
What does it take to win at the mid-major level?
“First off you’ve got to you got to do the recruiting right.” says Beemer. “I mean you win with players and you win with people. So in recruiting we’re after land guys that that are tough. I think in college baseball, you win with toughness.
“I think it takes execution. And at Ball State what we did there was we tried to get really good on the mound. And I think here we’ve got to get really good on the mound (at Butler). If you have some horses that can carry you along ways and baseball.
“And so I think you’ll see an increased emphasis to help us get better on the bump and to get tougher and to execute at a high level. Baseball is the same everywhere, right? Good pitching, defense and timely hitting. If you do those three things, you’ll be alright.”
With building toughness in mind, Beemer has his Bulldogs waking up at 5 a.m. for workouts. They’re doing sprint work and some other training to which they have not been exposed.
“I think that there is a energy level that you have to be able to get through whether it’s strength training, speed training, conditioning or for our practice,” says Beemer. “I mean we’re having long practices that the energy has been great, but you build toughness that way.
“We’re going to have games that are three and a half hours. We have to have great intent, great focus and great energy in the ninth inning the same as we do when we start the game. That day-in and day-out consistency, that’s where you build toughness.”
With a national reputation at Butler, thanks in large part to the recent success of the Bulldogs basketball program, Beemer sees a expanded recruiting footprint for the private school.
That means getting some players from the New York City or Washington D.C. areas.
“It’s a great degree,” says Beemer. “We just came out in U.S. News and World Report as the No. 1 Midwest regional university in the country. It’s an unbelievable education and I think that speaks volumes across the country.”
Beemer’s staff includes assistant coach, pitching coach Ross Learnard, assistant coach Bladen Bales and volunteer coach Dan Wilcher.
Learnard pitched at Parkland College and Purdue University (he was a two-time All-American) and coached at Illinois State University and Purdue. His duties with the Boilermakers focused on pitching analytics and team operations.
“(Coach Learnard) is really, really detailed and connects with our guys at a high level,” says Beemer. “He’s a great pitching mind I keep telling everybody. I think he’ll be in the SEC. He’ll be an elite pitching coach at one of the high-end jobs within the next seven years. just think I think he’s a stud.
“He develops arms as well. He knows how to take care of the guys. He sees things that are really advanced level.”
Bales was with Beemer at Ball State in 2022. Before that he coached at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., and managed the Nebraska City American Legion junior team to a state runner-up finish in 2017. He has also coached the Lakeshore Chinooks of the summer collegiate Northwoods League.
Bales played at McCook (Neb.) Community College and Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
“He’s a tireless worker,” says Beemer of Bales. “He has a great eye for talent and recruiting.
“I’ve known Dan (Wilcher) for years. We both grew up in Dayton, Ohio. And Dan helps lead our infield play, a lot of our throwing progressions and throwing programs and helps with field maintenance (at Bulldog Park). He’s our Swiss Army knife. He does it all for us.”
The first two weeks of fall practice at Butler was for individuals. Team practice began on Labor Day and will go until mid-October with intrasquad games twice a week. After that, there will be a transition back to individuals.
“Everybody’s new so it’s a clean slate for everybody is what I’ve been telling our guys,” says Beemer. We get to play outside opponents (Frontier Community College on noon Oct. 1 at home and Ball State Oct. 8 in Muncie). But every day is evaluation, whether it’s an intrasquad, in the weight room or just a BP session, our guys are always being evaluated the same way.
“They’re evaluating me. They’re seeing what my coaching style is. They’re seeing how I instruct things. I think that in today’s world, just understand you’re always under a microscope. You’re always being evaluated. Our guys know that. And so every day we’re trying to have competition. We want to get better every day and and move this thing forward day by day.”
Since his hire, Beemer has been getting his face in front of the community.
Alums are coming back for the induction of the 1998 team (that won a then-school record 33 games) into the Butler Athletic Hall of Fame Sept. 24 and the Oct. 1 exhibition and Oct. 2 golf outing. The coach has been on the phone talking to alums and boosters and spoke on the air during an Indianapolis Indians broadcast.
“We’ve got a great opportunity for this place to really take off,” says Beemer. “I’m proud of it really proud of being a Butler Bulldog and I’m very fortunate for it.”

Blake Beemer. (Butler University Photo)\
Blake Beemer. (Butler University Photo)

Rookie teacher/coach Hunt tabbed to lead Whiting baseball

BY STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Jacob Hunt was born and raised in Whiting, Ind.
The 24-year-old is now a first-year baseball coach and teacher at Whiting Junior/Senior High School.
“I wasn’t to give back to the community and keep the baseball tradition going,” says Hunt.
He was approved as head coach of the Oilers program the second week of the 2022-23 school year.
Hunt, a 2016 graduate of George Rogers Clark Junior/Senior High School in Whiting who teaches Physical Education and Health at WJSHS, has met a few players. Most are on the Oiler football team. He expects to see the rest in the winter.
Multi-sport athletes are the norm at Whiting (enrollment around 450), which is a member of the Greater South Shore Conference (with Calumet New Tech, Griffith, Hammond Bishop Noll, Hanover Central, Illiana Christian, Lake Station Edison, River Forest and Wheeler).
The Oilers were part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping in 2022 with Bowman Leadership Academy, Hammond Bishop Noll, Illiana Christian, Lake Station Edison and Wheeler. Whiting has won four sectional titles — the last in 2019.
Hunt wants to instill a “winning culture” for Whiting baseball.
“I want to get as many kids into college as a I can and make sure everyone is a hard worker,” says Hunt. “We want no laziness and for them to get good grades.”
Hunt says he plans to put an emphasis on conditioning with plenty of running, agility work and weightlifting.
Good friend Amir Wright, who played at Ball State University in the spring and with the Frederick (Md.) Keys of the MLB Draft League this summer, has offered to help Hunt with strength and conditioning training.
Playing in a big ballpark like Oil City Stadium, Hunt wants players to be able to turn balls into the gap into triples and for outfielders to track down those balls hit by the opposition.
Speed and cunning on the base paths can also help fuel the offense.
“If we can lead the state of Indiana in steals we’ll do it,” says Hunt. “As hitters, we want to stay inside the ball. The body is all connected together.”
And another thing.
“We want to have fun,” says Hunt. “Enjoy yourself while you’re out here.”
Hunt has asked best friend Zach Bucsko and father Jamie Hunt to be his assistant coaches. Bucsko is a 2016 Clark graduate who pitched at Glen Oaks Community College (Centerville, Mich.).
Jacob’s mother is Christine Mickles. He has two older brothers — 37-year-old twins Buddy and Jesse Hunt.
Lakeshore Cal Ripken Babe Ruth Baseball/Softball League in Hammond is where Hunt played his first ball.
He played four years at Clark, first seeing some time on varsity as a sophomore. Jason Ochall was the Pioneers head coach.
Ochall’s message: “Be yourself.”
“I remember how he cared for all of us,” says Hunt. “He trusted all of us older guys.”
Hunt also played travel baseball for the Northwest Indiana Pirates in 2016 and Chicago-based Satchel Paige in 2017.
He was on the Brian Nowakowski-coached baseball team at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting through 2021. In the summer of 2019, he played for the Midwest Collegiate League’s Crestwood Panthers.
To explore his options, Hunt did a teaching internship through the University of Evansville in 2021-22.
“I wanted to get out of the area and get out of my comfort zone,” says Hunt. “I was willing to go anywhere to coach and teach in the state of Indiana.”
He wound up back home at Whiting.

Jacob Hunt (Calumet College of St. Joseph Photo)