Tag Archives: Bradley Brehmer

Eleven players who prepped in Indiana selected in ’22 MLB Draft

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

Eleven players who graduated from high school in Indiana were chosen in the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which concluded its three-day run in Los Angeles Tuesday, July 19.
There were 20 rounds and 616 players selected.
Indiana University right-handed pitcher Jack Perkins (Kokomo High School graduate) was picked in the fifth round (154th overall) by the Oakland Athletics.
Ball State University left-hander Tyler Schweitzer (Hamilton Southeastern) was chosen in the fifth round (161 overall) by the Chicago White Sox.
University of Louisville right-hander Jared Poland (Indianapolis Cathedral) was taken in the sixth round (172 overall) by the Miami Marlins.
University of Connecticut right-hander Austin Peterson (Chesterton) went in the ninth round (271st overall) to the Cleveland Guardians.
Purdue University left-hander Jackson Smeltz (McCutcheon) was picked in the 10th round (300th overall) by the San Diego Padres.
Indiana U. right-hander Bradley Brehmer (Decatur Central) was drafted in the 12th round (347th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles.
Ivy Tech Northeast Community College right-hander Matt Peters (Fort Wayne Dwenger) was picked in the 12th round (353rd overall) by the Chicago Cubs.
Righty-swinging Georgia Tech shortstop Tim Borden II (Providence) was chosen in the 16th round (493rd overall) by the Houston Astros.
Evansville North High School switch-hitting shortstop Cameron Decker (a University of Central Florida commit) was drafted in the 18th round (555th overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Westfield High School right-hander Gage Stanifer (a University of Cincinnati commit) was picked in the 19th round (578th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Indiana U. right-hander Reese Sharp (University High) was selected in the 20th round (587th overall) by Baltimore.

Major League Baseball Image

Indiana Wesleyan, Rose-Hulman, UIndy among state’s hottest teams

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

Indiana Wesleyan and Rose-Hulman have the longest current win streaks among the 38 college baseball programs in Indiana.
The NAIA Wildcats have won six straight as have the NCAA Division III Fightin’ Engineers.
IWU (12-4) and NCAA Division II Indianapolis (11-5) have the most victories in April.
Among the other leaders in April triumphs are NCAA Division I’s Evansville (9-2) and Notre Dame (8-3), NAIA’s Taylor (9-5) and Indiana University Southeast (8-2) and NCAA D-III’s Franklin (7-1), Rose-Hulman (7-3) and Earlham (7-3).
At 20-8, Taylor is tied atop Crossroads League standings with Mt. Vernon Nazarene, two games ahead of Indiana Wesleyan.
At 15-3, NAIA Indiana University Southeast is tied with Point Park for first place in the River States Conference, 1/2 game ahead of Indiana University Kokomo.
At 10-6, UIndy is two games behind Illinois-Springfield in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Blue Division.
Franklin (7-1) paces the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, one game ahead of both Rose-Hulman and Earlham.
Indiana State (6-2 in April) is 5-1 in leading the Missouri Valley Conference by one game over Southern Illinois, Dallas Baptist and Evansville.
Ball State (6-6 in April) is 15-3 in the Mid-American Conference, two games behind leader Central Michigan.
Pitching victory and batting average leaders among D-I teams include Jackson Smeltz (6) and Evan Albrecht (.407) of Purdue, John Michael Bertrand (5) and Carter Putz (.357) of Notre Dame, Tyler Schweitzer (5), Ty Johnson (5) and Amir Wright (.349) of Ball State, Matt Jachec (7) and Sean Ross (.421) of Indiana State, Shane Gray (5) and Mark Shallenberger (.389) of Evansville, Jon Vore (3), Derek Drees (3) and Aaron Steinhart (.299) of Butler, Colin Fields (4), Jake Miller (4) and Nolan Tucker (.359) of Valparaiso, Bradley Brehmer (3) and Phillip Glasser (.343) of Indiana and Jacob Myer (2), Mitchell Spencer (2), J.D. Deany (2), Brian Skelton (2) and Cade Fitzpatrick (.350) of Purdue Fort Wayne.
In NCAA D-II, there’s Xavier Rivas (5) and Brandon DeWitt (.368) of Indianapols, Brice Stuteville (4) and Lucas McNew (.341) of Southern Indiana and Joe Sullivan (3) and Ray Hilbrich (.429) of Purdue Northwest.
NCAA D-III leaders are Jackson Young (5) and Logan Demkovich (.398) of Franklin, Aidan Talarek (5) and Cameron McCabe (.408) of Earlham, Ian Kline (5) and Kade Kline (.380) of Rose-Hulman, Tavic Simmons (4) and A.J. Reid (.394) of Wabash, Evan Doan (3), Landen Southern (3) and Tyler Smitherman (.413) of Anderson, Matthew Alter (3) and Charlie Burton (.355) of Hanover, Michael Vallone (6) and Allen Cameron (.398) of DePauw, Robert Kortas (2), Cam Nagel (2) and Adam Stefanelli (.375) of Trine and Carter Hooks (2) and Brett Wathen (2) and Zach White (.356) of Manchester.
In NAIA, there’s Luke Shively (9) and Kaleb Kolpein (.410) of Taylor, Hunter Kloke (7) and Trevor Campbell (.408) of IU Southeast, Brennan Morehead (4) and Denver Blinn (.421) of Indiana Wesleyan, Owen Callaghan (6) and Patrick Mills (.365) of IU Kokomo, Cory Wolter (6) and Alec Brunson (.354) of Saint Francis, Owen Spears (4) and Noah Baugher (.364) of Oakland City, Hayes Sturtsman (4), Jared Maxfield (4) and Ashtin Moxey (.311) of Indiana Tech, Damien Wallace (4) and Matteo Porcellato (.365) of Marian, Noah Arbuckle (3), Joey Butz (3), Isaac Horton (3), Tyler Papenbrock (3) and Ian McCutcheon (.394) of Huntington, Frank Plesac (5) and Eli MacDonald (.411) of Bethel, Evan Etchison (3), Kameron Koch (3) and Alex Rich (.345) of Grace, Zack Dobos (3) and Brenden Bell (.386) of IU South Bend, Bubba Davenport (2) and Michael Machnic (.325) of Calumet of Saint Joseph and Camm Nickell (2) and Jenner Rodammer (.350) of Goshen.
Junior college leaders are Connor VanLannen (3) and Peyton Lane (.440) of Vincennes, Adam Besser (2), Matt Peters (2) and Jaden Parnin (.476) of Ivy Tech Northeast and Rylan Huntley (2 and .413) and Bryce Woodruff (2) of Marian’s Ancilla.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through April 17
NCAA D-I
Purdue 22-9 (4-6 Big Ten)
Notre Dame 21-8 (8-7 ACC)
Ball State 21-13 (15-3 MAC)
Indiana State 19-9 (5-1 MVC)
Evansville 19-16 (4-2 MVC)
Butler 16-20 (2-4 Big East)
Valparaiso 13-18 (2-4 MVC)
Indiana 13-21 (2-7 Big Ten)
Purdue Fort Wayne 10-23 (7-8 Horizon)

NCAA D-II
Indianapolis 18-18 (10-6 GLVC)
Southern Indiana 15-20 (4-8 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 13-12 (2-8 GLIAC)

NCAA D-III
Franklin 22-6 (7-1 HCAC)
Earlham 18-8 (7-3 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 16-7 (7-3 HCAC)
Wabash 14-11 (0-8 NCAC)
Anderson 13-12 (5-3 HCAC)
Hanover 12-14 (6-4 HCAC)
DePauw 10-14 (3-5 NCAC)
Trine 10-16 (5-6 MIAA)
Manchester 5-18 (2-6 HCAC)

NAIA
Taylor 30-14 (20-8 CL)
Indiana University Southeast 28-11 (15-3 RSC)
Indiana Wesleyan 25-18 (18-10 CL)
Indiana University-Kokomo 24-14 (14-3 RSC)
Saint Francis 24-19 (13-15 CL)
Oakland City 21-16 (6-10 RSC)
Indiana Tech 21-18 (9-7 WHAC)
Marian 20-20 (12-14 CL)
Huntington 19-17 (17-11 CL)
Bethel 19-25 (13-15 CL)
Grace 15-24 (9-17 CL)
Indiana University South Bend 11-24 (5-14 CCAC)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 9-26 (4-14 CCAC)
Goshen 9-31 (4-24 CL)

Junior College
Vincennes 15-21 (6-10 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 13-11
Marian’s Ancilla 6-28 (4-10 MCCAA)

Week of April 11-17
NCAA D-I
Tuesday, April 12
Evansville 11, Butler 1
Indiana 6, Indiana State 5
Notre Dame 14, Michigan 5
Eastern Illinois 7, Valparaiso 5

Thursday, April 14
Georgetown 14, Butler 8
Duke 15, Notre Dame 5
Penn State 12, Purdue 7
Purdue Fort Wayne 9, Northern Kentucky 5

Friday, April 15
Ball State 8, Akron 3
Butler 8, Georgetown 7
Evansville 6, Southern Illinois 4
Rutgers 5, Indiana 3
Duke 4, Notre Dame 3 (11 inn.)
Purdue 11, Penn State 5
Northern Kentucky 5, Purdue Fort Wayne 4
Illinois State 7, Valparaiso 0

Saturday, April 16
Ball State 5, Akron 1
Ball State 16, Akron 0
Georgetown 8, Butler 4
Evansville 9, Southern Illinois 2
Evansville 14, Southern Illinois 2
Rutgers 4, Indiana 2
Duke 6, Notre Dame 2
Penn State 7, Purdue 5
Purdue Fort Wayne 10, Northern Kentucky 5
Valparaiso 10, Illinois State 2

Sunday, April 17
Akron 4, Ball State 3
Rutgers 10, Indiana 9
Valparaiso 2, Illinois State 1

NCAA D-II
Tuesday, April 12
Indianapolis 15, Kentucky Wesleyan 1
Indianapolis 11, Kentucky Wesleyan 7
Grand Valley State 10, Purdue Northwest 7
Grand Valley State 9, Purdue Northwest 6
Oakland City 6, Southern Indiana 4

Thursday, April 14
Quincy 14, Indianapolis 4
Purdue Northwest 21, Northwood 19
Truman State vs. Southern Indiana

Friday, April 15
Indianapolis 3, Quincy 2
Indianapolis 3, Quincy 0
Purdue Northwest 2, Northwood 0
Northwood 18, Purdue Northwest 0
Truman State 6, Southern Indiana 5
Truman State 11, Southern Indiana 10

Saturday, April 16
Indianapolis 5, Quincy 3
Northwood 9, Purdue Northwest 7
Southern Indiana 16, Truman State 4

NCAA D-III
Monday, April 11
Trine 7, Kalamazoo 5

Tuesday, April 12
Earlham 12, Transylvania 7
Transylvania vs. Earlham
Hanover 12, Spalding 11
Wabash 6, Manchester 4
Manchester vs. Wabash
Rose-Hulman 3, Mount St. Joseph 2
Rose-Hulman 16, Mount St. Joseph 1

Wednesday, April 13
Trine 11, Adrian 5

Thursday, April 14
Wittenberg 10, Wabash 4

Friday, April 15
Bluffton 11, Earlham 6
Bluffton 9, Earlham 3
Alma 8, Trine 5

Saturday, April 16
Hanover 10, Anderson 4
Hanover 10, Anderson 8
Kenyon 12, DePauw 1
Kenyon 4, DePauw 3
Franklin 9, Manchester 8
Franklin 6, Manchester 4
Rose-Hulman 10, Transylvania 4
Rose-Hulman 12, Transylvania 8
Alma 9, Trine 6
Alma 10, Trine 6
Wooster 4, Wabash 3
Wooster 12, Wabash 7

NAIA
Monday, April 11
Bethel 13, Goshen 10
Bethel 12, Goshen 1
Calumet of St. Joseph 13, Trinity Christian 8
Indiana Tech 1, Rochester 0
Indiana Tech 12, Rochester 5
Spring Arbor 15, Taylor 7
Taylor 10, Spring Arbor 9

Tuesday, April 12
Goshen 17, Grace Christian 5
Goshen 3, Grace Christian 1
Marian 5, Huntington 2
Marian 19, Huntington 5
Oakland City 6, Southern Indiana 4
IU South Bend 18, Trinity Christian 8
IU Southeast 7, Georgetown (Ky.) 5
Madonna 7, Indiana Tech 6
Indiana Tech 16, Madonna 6
Indiana Wesleyan 10, Cleary 7
Indiana Wesleyan 8, Cleary 0
Mount Vernon Nazarene 10, Saint Francis 6
Saint Francis 9, Mount Vernon Nazarene 2

Thursday, April 14
Saint Xaver 17, IU South Bend 13

Friday, April 15
Bethel 2, Huntington 1
Huntington 9, Bethel 7
Olivet Nazarene 15, Calumet of St. Joseph 2
Indiana Wesleyan 14, Goshen 2
Indiana Wesleyan 13, Goshen 6
Saint Francis 5, Grace 3
Saint Francis 2, Grace 1
IU Kokomo 9, Brescia 1
IU Southeast 11, West Virginia Tech 0
Spring Arbor 8, Marian 5
Marian 16, Spring Arbor 3
Taylor 9, Mount Vernon Nazarene 5
Taylor 17, Mount Vernon Nazarene 9

Saturday, April 16
Bethel 3, Huntington 1
Huntington 9, Bethel 2
Olivet Nazarene 12, Calumet of St. Joseph 4
Olivet Nazarene 14, Calumet of St. Joseph 3
Indiana Wesleyan 12, Goshen 2
Indiana Wesleyan 15, Goshen 6
Grace 10, Saint Francis 8
Saint Francis 14, Grace 4
IU Kokomo 7, Brescia 3
IU Kokomo 13, Brescia 2
IU Southeast 11, West Virginia Tech 1
IU Southeast 9, West Virginia Tech 6
Lawrence Tech 2, Indiana Tech 1
Lawrence Tech 7, Indiana Tech 4
Marian 7, Spring Arbor 5
Marian 11, Spring Arbor 3
Mount Vernon Nazarene 6, Taylor 4
Mount Vernon Nazarene 14, Taylor 1

Junior College
Monday, April 11
Ivy Tech Northeast 6, Trine JV 5
Ivy Tech Northeast 8, Trine JV 5

Tuesday, April 12
Kellogg 6, Ivy Tech Northeast 3
Kaskaskia 13, Vincennes 6

Friday, April 15
Lake Michigan 7, Marian’s Ancilla 2
Lake Michigan 9, Marian’s Ancilla 1
Heartland 11, Vincennes 2
Heartland 13, Vincennes 4

Saturday, April 16
Lake Michigan 13, Marian’s Ancilla 3
Lake Michigan 7, Marian’s Ancilla 3
Heartland 16, Vincennes 5
Heartland 12, Vincennes 2

‘Name on the front’ important to Winkelseth, Decatur Central Hawks

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

One of the pillars of baseball at Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis involves selflessness.
Hawks head coach Sean Winkelseth wants his young men to concern themselves more with the needs of others than themselves.
As the 2022 season approaches, Decatur Central players have already contributed nearly 200 hours of community service.
They’ve helped clean up the grounds at Decatur Central Little League (where Winkelseth and junior varsity coaches Jim Bushee and Todd Conn are on the board), worked at elementary school carnivals and more.
“There’s been a lot of volunteer efforts,” says Winkelseth, who was a Hawks assistant for one season prior to taking over the program in 2019-20. “We’re trying to be seen in the community as a positive.”
In playing as a catcher/utility infielder for Ryan Kelley at Wayne State University in Detroit Winkelseth was exposed to this mentality and the 2017 WSU graduate has adopted it.
“(Coach Kelley) is by far my biggest mentor for coaching,” says Winkelseth. “He just really instilled the importance of playing for the name on the front of the jersey. The team is is more important than an individual.”
Winkelseth says Kelley is focused on making leaders who became successful as husbands and father.
“He cared for us more than on the baseball field,” says Winkelseth, whose wife Madison went from Avon, Ind., to play volleyball at Wayne State and is now a speech language pathologist at Central Elementary School in the Beech Grove school district. The Winkelseths wed in August 2018.
Sean Winkelseth is a fifth grade teacher at Valley Mills Elementary School in Decatur Township.
A 2012 graduate of Ypisilanti (Mich.) High School, Winkelseth played his last three prep seasons for Chris Dessellier.
He admires the Grizzlies head coach for building relationships with players.
“He was getting to know guys and investing time,” says Winkelseth. “I still talk with him today.”
Winkelseth also coached for the Michigan Bulls travel organization the summers before and after his final season at Wayne State.
Decatur Central (enrollment around 1,800) is a member of the Mid-State Conference (with Franklin Community, Greenwood Community, Martinsville, Mooresville, Perry Meridian, Plainfield and Whiteland).
The 14 MSC games are played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as a home-and-home series.
In 2021, the Hawks were part of an IHSAA Class 4A sectional grouping with Avon, Brownsburg, Plainfield (host), Terre Haute North Vigo and Terre Haute South Vigo. Decatur Central has won 16 sectional crowns — the last in 2019.
The Hawks play home games at Phil Webster Baseball Complex, named for the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer. Phil Webster is now back as an assistant at Pike with son Todd after a stint as Southport head coach.
Recent field upgrades at Decatur Central have been made the the bases, home plate area and infield skin.
Winkelseth’s varsity coaching staff in 2022 includes Alan Curry, Brandon Curry, Nick Jenkins and Noah Klick. Pitching coach Alan Curry is a longtime DC assistant. Brandon is Alan’s son. Jenkins is director of Armstrong Pavilion, Decatur Township’s health and fitness center. DCHS teacher and volunteer Klick played at Tiffin (Ohio) University.
Besides Decatur Central Little League (T-ball to age 12), the high school’s feeder system includes seventh grade and eighth grade teams at Decatur Central Middle School.
While current players are contemplating offers, Decatur Central has sent several recent graduates on to college baseball, including 2017 graduate Bradley Brehmer (Indiana University), 2018 grads/twins Alex Mitchell (Indiana Tech) and Austin Mitchell (Indiana Tech), 2020 alums Timmy Casteel (Manchester) and Brayden Hazelwood (Indiana University Southeast) and the Class of 2021’s Nico Avila (Marian University’s Ancilla College) and Bryce Woodruff (Marian University’s Ancilla College). Avila was an all-Marion County catcher in 2021.

Sean Winkelseth.
Decatur Central High School players do community service by cleaning up at Decatur Central Little League in Indianapolis.

Right-hander Brehmer opts to transfer to Indiana University

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

Bradley Brehmer is another pitcher who has decided to conclude his collegiate baseball career at Indiana University after beginning it out-of-state.
The 6-foot-6, 205-pound right-hander joins former University of Louisville righty Jack Perkins on the Hoosiers staff for 2021-22. Brehmer made the announcement July 12.
“I can develop a little more and be a better draft pick,” says Brehmer, 21. “I was a Hoosiers fan growing up and this a better opportunity for me.”
A 2018 graduate of Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis who was selected in the 23rd round of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Baltimore Orioles but decided to go to college, Brehmer hurled the past three seasons (2019-21) for Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
In 32 games for the Alex Sogard-coached Raiders (29 starts), Brehmer went 15-8 with a 4.54 earned run average. In 168 1/3 innings, he racked up 136 strikeouts with 53 walks.
The 2021 season saw Brehmer make 14 starts and go 8-4 with a 4.11 ERA. He had 85 K’s and 25 walks in 76 2/3 innings. He fanned 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings April 23 at Northern Kentucky.
After entering the NCAA Transfer Portal and making a visit to Bloomington, Brehmer opted to transfer to IU.
Brehmer committed to Wright State as a high school junior when Jeff Mercer was the WSU head coach. Mercer moved to Indiana for the 2019 season.
“Mercer keeps it real,” says Brehmer. “He makes you work hard and I like that. I like to to be pushed.
“I work hard. I’m a leader when I’m around everybody. I’m confident in my ability on the field. I’m very positive.”
Brehmer was impressed that Hoosiers pitching coach Justin Parker had a plan set up for the right-hander.
The 2021 summer started with Brehmer making two starts for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League then shut it down and to get ready for the 20-round MLB Draft. Teams contacted him, but offers were too low and he was not selected.
Five pitches are in Brehmer’s arsenal — four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, slider, change-up and curveball.
In the spring, he sat at 91 to 94 mph with his four-seamer, hitting 96 in his May 7 start against Milwaukee.
Brehmer says his slider is “like a gyro ball.”
“It spins and gravity takes in down,” says Brehmer. “It goes to the back foot of lefties.”
Dropping down a little from his high three-quarter arm slot, Brehmer throws a four-seam “circle” change.
His curve has a 12-to-6 action.
In the past year, he has learned new grips for his change-up, slider and curve.
At 6-6, Brehmer can use leverage to his advantage. He grew several inches in high school. He entered Decatur Central around 5-8 and a couple of years later he was 6-4. Jason Combs was his head coach with the Hawks. He won 19 games with a 1.88 ERA and 192 strikeouts in four years. In 2018, he was an all-stater and all-Marion County.
Brehmer also played two years each of football and basketball at Decatur Central before focusing on baseball.
Born in Greenwood, Ind., Brehmer moved to Camby, Ind., at age 5 and lived there until moving to Southport as a high school junior.
Growing up, Brehmer played shortstop, third base and a little first base and catcher in addition to pitcher. He played travel ball for the Decatur Hawks — coached by Dan Brehmer (his father) and Dave Harper — from 7U to 12U. He then spent a few summers with the Indiana Mustangs, one with the Indiana Prospects and his 17U and 18U seasons in 2017 and 2018 with the Indiana Braves, coached by Steven Mirizzi.
In the summer of 2020, Brehmer pitched for the Tropics in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. He also worked out at Pro X Athlete Development at Grand Park as well as Players Performance Factory in Mooresville, Ind.
With his workload for Wright State in the spring (72 innings), Brehmer did not play in the summer of 2019, but took classes and worked out.
Bradley has four siblings — half brother Blake, stepsisters Reese and Payton and stepbrother Logan. His mother is Cristen Brehmer. His stepmother is Jessica Brehmer.

An Organizational Leadership major at Wright State, Brehmer says he is considering a change to Sports Management at IU.

Bradley Brehmer (Indiana University Image)
Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University Photo)
Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University Photo)
Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University Photo)
Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University Photo)
Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University Photo)
Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University Photo)

Evansville Razorbacks promote accountability, communication, commitment

RBILOGOSMALL copy

BY STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

The 18U Evansville (Ind.) Razorbacks have been a force in the travel baseball world with four Pastime Tournaments national championships and a National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series runner-up finish.

The 2017 team went 40-0.

Established in 2002 by Jeremy Johnson, the Razorbacks have had 336 players sign on with college baseball programs and numerous players have been in pro ball.

“This program sets guys up not only in baseball, but their whole life,” says Johnson. “It’s a fraternity. You’re going to be a Razorback the rest of your life.

“It’s bigger than anybody, including me.”

Johnson is a 1993 Mater Dei graduate. He grew up spending Saturday mornings helping his father groom youth diamonds around Evansville. C.J. Johnson is a 2017 inductee into the Greater Evansville Sports Hall of Fame as a baseball administrator.

At 14, Jeremy severely hurt his right arm and learned how throw serviceably with his left. In high school, he was a successful cross country and track runner.

Johnson networks with college coaches and does his best to educate players and parents on the recruiting process and deciding on the best fit for them.

“My job is to help you find out your ‘why,’’ says Johnson. “What is driving you? If you don’t know that, you can get lost. You need to have a really good grasp on that. If you don’t and everything starts to go south, you’ll start panicking.”

And it doesn’t have to be NCAA Division I or bust. Some are best-suited by going the D-II, D-III, NAIA or junior college route.

“I’m completely over the fact that Division I is the best case scenario (for every player),” says Johnson. “You should pick a school where, if you didn’t play baseball any more, you wouldn’t want to transfer.

“It’s very, very personal thing for each kid. Look at schools that fit you personally. Start putting together legitimate ideas on what you know you want instead of what you think you want.

“High school is very status-orientedYou’re not doing it for your teammates. There’s a 50-50 shot you’ll meet your wife there.

“It’s way more than baseball.”

Johnson says he has watched the transfer portal blow up in recent years in part because of so many early commits (freshmen and sophomore are making verbal commitments these days) and players and parents not doing their due diligence on what they want and what a program has to offer.

“They may be good enough to be a tweener with D-I,” says Johnson. “But they could play more at D-II or go to D-III and be an All-American.

“We don’t want them to have regrets or at least minimize them.”

While he has been involved in most of the 336 college signings, Johnson doesn’t take credit. It’s the players with the talent.

“I’m not the reason any of my kid plays in college,” says Johnson. “I’m just a guy who goes to bat for them. My job is to market them. I’m an avenue.

“The kids are the ones that deserve everything. I didn’t throw a ball, catch a ball or hit it. I’m not the reason for the season.”

A junior college advocate, Johnson says those players tend to play with a chip on their shoulder. Six starters on the Razorbacks’ 2018  team went on to JC ball. The 2017 club was made up mostly of D-I commits.

“It saves money and keeps their options open,” says Johnson. “It makes you grind a little bit. You find out if you really love baseball if you go junior college.”

Johnson says the Razorbacks are well-represented in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference (John A. Logan, Kaskaskia, Lake Land, Lincoln Trail, Olney Central, Rend Lake, Shawnee, Southeastern Illinois, Southwestern Illinois, Wabash Valley).

Johnson says parents don’t always receive personal feedback when they take their sons to showcases. They get the numbers, but not an idea of what that coaching staff thinks of the player and how they would fit in their program.

Players can go to showcase after showcase and the money spent can add up to the cost of a scholarship.

“Tell me what you’re interested in doing and let me market you,” says Johnson. He will do his best to have college coaches look at the player and let them know what they think.

“College recruiting always in flux,” says Johnson. “(Recruiters) don’t want to tell you yes or no. There’s a lot of maybes. That’s a frustrating thing. I tell parents to build an idea of where their kid really fits.”

In showcases or with private lessons, many times players are told over and over again how good they are.

“Some are honest about good things and bad things,” says Johnson. “There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism. You need it.”

Johnson sees his role with the Razorbacks as driven by relationships.

“I get to know the kids,” says Johnson. “I spent a lot of time on the phone with them.”

While many players come from southern Indiana, southern Illinois and Kentucky, there is no real limit and have come from several states away.

“I’m not afraid to ask anybody,” says Johnson. “We have the ability to house a few kids.”

Many players spend two seasons with the Razorbacks, which Johnson says averages 17 to 20 college commits per year. In any given year, a third to half of the squad goes into the summer uncommitted.

Among the 2019 high school graduates from Indiana schools on the ’19 summer team were Evansville North shortststop/second baseman Alex Archuleta (University of Southern Indiana), Austin shortstop/right-handed pitcher/third baseman Drew Buhr (Saint Louis University), Castle left-handed pitcher Blake Ciuffetelli (USI), Castle first baseman Brodey Heaton (Belmont University), Evansville Memorial right-handed pitcher Isaac Housman (USI) and Tecumseh outfielder Steven Molinet (USI).

There’s also shortstop/second baseman Alex Adams (Purdue University), catcher Garret Gray (Butler University), right-handed pitcher Trey Nordmann (Howard College in Texas) and left-handed pitcher/outfielder/first baseman Mark Shallenberger (University of Evansville).

Former Ben Davis High School catcher Zyon Avery (Ohio University), Decatur Central right-hander Bradley Brehmer (Wright State University) and right-hander Garret Simpson (Eastern Kentucky University) are among the recent Razorbacks now playing college baseball.

Razorback alums left-hander Dean Kiekhefer (Oakland Athletics), right-hander Derek Self (Washington Nationals) and outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Boston Red Sox) played at Triple-A in 2019. All three played at the University of Louisville. Kiekhefer appeared in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016 and with Oakland in 2018.

There’s also former Backs Easton McGee and Stewart Ijames.

Right-hander McGee played for Bowling Green in the Tampa Bay Rays system in 2019.

Outfielder Ijames, a former U of L player and in the Arizona Diamondbacks system, was with the independent Kansas City T-Bones in 2019.

Clint Barmes, a Vincennes Lincoln High School graduate who recently went into the Indiana State University and Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association halls of fame after a major league career, played for the Evansville Black Sox (1993-2001), which were picked up by the Razorbacks in 2002.

Johnson was an outfielder for the Jim Wittman-coached Black Sox in 1993-94. In a Black Sox alumni game, Johnson’s last pitch resulted in a Barmes home run.

“I hadn’t pitched in two years,” says Johnson. “Didn’t matter. Would happened on my best day.”

Former U of L catcher Jeff Arnold was signed by scout Kevin Christman and played in the San Francisco Giants organization.

Right-hander Morgan Coombs went to West Vigo High School and Ball State University then played independent ball.

Outfielder Sean Godfrey played at New Albany High School and Ball State before time in the Atlanta Braves system and indy ball.

First baseman Jon Hedges played at Indiana State.

Third baseman Kevin Hoef went to the University of Iowa and played indy ball.

Catcher Jeremy Lucas played at West Vigo and Indiana State before time in the Cleveland Indians system.

Black Sox right-hander Stephen Obenchain played at Evansville Memorial and the University of Evansville before stints in the Athletics system and independent ball.

First baseman Derek Peterson, who hails from New Jersey, went on to Temple University and played in Baltimore Orioles organization.

Black Sox right-hander Andy Rohleder played at Forest Park High School and the University of Evansville before tenures with the Florida Marlins organization and indy ball.

Right-hander P.J. Thomas, a Jeffersonville High School graduate who played at USI, was twice-drafted by the Red Sox and played indy ball.

Catcher Kolbrin Vitek (Ball State) played in the Red Sox organization.

Former Black Sox, Heritage Hills High School and University of Dayton catcher Mark Wahl was in the Orioles system.

While the Razorbacks run a full program with off-season training, Johnson says he is a realist and he knows that players have commitments to their hometown teams and work with their own hitting and pitching instructors. He doesn’t ask them to drive several hours to Evansville to hit them grounders.

“I’m not that full of myself,” says Johnson. “I have the utmost respect for high school programs.

“I love travel ball. But a large amount of travel ball is B.S. It’s such a money-driven situation. Travel ball — as a whole — is expensive for families with travel, hotels and all of that. We try to keep that cost down as low as we possibly can.”

When the 18U Razorbacks do travel, the team stays together in the same hotel.

Many of the players are getting close to going away to college. They get to experience curfews, team meetings and learn personal accountability. It’s an early look at their freshmen year and that first taste of freedom. They are responsible for their own laundry.

“The team runs the team,” says Johnson. “There’s a lot to be learned off the field until they go to college.”

Parents are encouraged treat the weekend like a getaway. All they have to do is attend the games and watch their sons play.

The organization expanded this off-season to 10 teams — 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, two 12U squads, 13U, 14U, 16U and 18U. 8U to 14U is high school prep. 15U to 18U is college prep.

According to Johnson, whose 18U assistant coaches are Bob Davis, Ryan Dills and Buddy Hales, the emphasis is on teaching player accountability at an early age, communication with parents, speed and strength conditioning and commitment to helping the person, then the player.”

Top 18U events in 2020 include June 12-14 in Midland, Ohio, June 18-21 in Louisville, Ky., June 26-28 in Midland, Ohio, June 30-July 1 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, July 5-9 at Perfect Game World Series (invitation only) in Hoover, Ala., and July 15-19 at the 18U Nationals in Indianapolis.

Jeremy and Christi Johnson married in 2013. There are three children — Seth (18), Ava (14) and Conner (13). Conner Johnson, now an eighth grader, was born in 2007, the same year the Razorbacks were NABF World Series runners-up.

“Spending summers with him with me is what ties it all together,” says Jeremy Johnson of time spent with Conner and Backs baseball.

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The Evansville (Ind.) Razorbacks have placed 336 players in college baseball since 2002. (Evansville Razorbacks)

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Jeremy Johnson (center) is the founder of the Evansville (Ind.) Razorbacks travel baseball organization. The Razorbacks’ first season was in 2002. (Evansville Razorbacks Photo)