By STEVE KRAH
Hustle on the base paths helped Indianapolis Lutheran High School baseball set theft records the past two seasons.
Josh Meaney, who moves up to head coach in 2023 after two years as a volunteer on Adam Gouker’s staff, will again have the Saints running.
“Being aggressive is what wins ball games,” says Meaney, who saw Indianapolis Lutheran go 22-9, win the program’s 14th sectional title in 2022 while amassing 186 stolen bases.
That number eclipsed the mark of 174 set in 2021.
“We’re staying focused at all times no matter the situation — whether we’re down 10 runs or up 10 runs,” says Meaney. “Stay focused with the mission because at any point the tide could change.
“Stay aggressive and never feel like you have enough runs and continue to put pressure on the other team.”
Meaney subscribes to the system established by New York Yankees baserunning coordinator and Fort Wayne Dwenger High School graduate Matt Talarico (who spoke at the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association State Clinic in January and has addressed the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention on the big stage).
“We don’t need to be fast to steal bags,” says Meaney. “It’s all about timing.”
Meaney accepted the head coach job — his first at the high school level — last in the summer of 2022.
The Saints took part in conditioning during the fall IHSAA Limited Contact Period. This winter, players have got in infield and outfield work on the turf football field when the weather has permitted. There’s also been weight and speed training. Pitchers have been getting used to mechanics so they are ready when it comes time to start ramping up their arms for the season.
Indianapolis Lutheran (enrollment around 250) is a member of the Indiana Crossroads Conference (with Beech Grove, Cardinal Ritter, Cascade, Monrovia, Scecina Memorial, Speedway and Triton Central).
The Saints are part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping in 2023 with Edinburgh, Eminence, Greenwood Christian Academy, Indianapolis Metropolitan and Morristown.
Meaney’s assistants are Russell Parker, Jonas Akers and Jacob Cutter.
The expectation is that there will be 21 or 22 players for varsity and junior varsity games. Meaney says the varsity and JV will not play on the same days and he and Parker will go with the JV to evaluate that group.
Located on-campus next to the tennis courts and softball diamond, Dick Alter Field is the home of Saints Baseball.
Meaney says new fencing is going up down the first base line. Plans call for padding to the be added to the backstop.
Fundraising is being done with the hopes of adding a press box and upgrading bleacher seating.
Alter coached baseball in central Indiana for four decades, including several years at Indianapolis Lutheran.
The high school typically gets most of its students from four Lutheran K-8 school on the southeast side of Indy.
The Junior Saints is a team for Grades 6-8 that is coached by Indianapolis Lutheran alum Bryce Lucas.
“We want him to build that program and run the same style of baseball (as the high school),” says Meaney.
Recent alums playing college baseball include Class of 2019’s Noah Wood (Franklin College) and Class of 2022’s Sean Moore (Lake Erie College).
A 1995 graduate of Martinsville (Ind.) High School, Meaney played the outfield at Decatur Central as a freshman and the last three years with the Artesians and IHSBCA Hall of Famer Bill Tutterow.
“Not too many people can say they played for a Hall of Fame coach,” says Meaney. “At the time — as a young kid — I didn’t understand what it takes to be honest with your players and let them know where they stand and treat them as young men and not children. It empowers them to work on their own which increased their ability to play baseball.
“I take a little bit of that into my coaching.”
Meaney also coaches for the Baseball Academics Midwest travel organization and coached many years in the Little League at Brownsburg and Decatur Central.
After high school, Meaney served in the U.S. Marines from 1996-2000.
He is now a laboratory technician at SRT Prosthetics & Orthotics in Indianapolis.
Josh and Robin Meaney have three children — Ahkena Gaines-Meaney (18), Gage Meaney (15) and Nico Meaney (12). Gage is a freshman baseball player at Indianapolis Lutheran.