BY STEVE KRAH
Ryan Hoover is now in charge of the baseball program at Perry Central Junior-Senior High School in Leopold, Ind.
The 2023 season will be Hoover’s first as a varsity head coach.
The past two years Hoover coached Evansville North’s middle school team. He has been a travel ball coach the past four or five years, including with the Evansville-based and Jeremy Johnson-run Razorback Baseball Club and an assistant on Adam Hines’ staff at Henderson (Ky.) County High School.
Perry Central (enrollment around 400) is a member of the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference (with Crawford County, Mitchell, Orleans, Paoli, Springs Valley and West Washington).
The Commodores are part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping in 2023 with Evansville Mater Dei, Forest Park, North Posey, South Spencer and Tell City. Perry Central has not yet won a sectional title.
During the fall IHSAA Limited Contact Period, Hoover had Perry Central players working two days a week for two hours. Most of the time was spent on defense with hitting at the end of the sessions.
This winter has been mostly two days a week of weight training and two days of hitting and arm care (with weighted baseballs).
Hoover pays attention to his pitchers and has paid attention to pitch counts even before experiencing the rule set in place by the IHSAA (1 to 35 pitches requires 0 days rest; 36 to 60 requires 1 day; 61 to 80 requires 2 days; 81 to 100 requires 3 days; and 101 to 120 requires 4 days).
“I make sure they’re getting proper rest, proper stretching and getting loose the proper way before they go out and (throw) 100 percent and really hurt their arm,” says Hoover, who wants to make sure those who might go on to college baseball are ready for the rigors of throwing which that entails.
Recent Perry Central graduates who went on to college diamonds include the Class of 2021’s Brayden Stowe (Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky. before arm injury), Reece Davis (Southeastern Illinois College) and 2021’s Wes Scamahorn (Oakland City).
Class of 2023’s Garrett Scamahorn — brother of Wes — has committed to Oakland City. Class of 2024’s Travis Kellems — a lefty pitcher and outfielder — has been receiving collegiate interest.
A 2016 graduate of Morristown (Ind.) Junior-Senior High School, Hoover was a four-year varsity baseball starter for three head coaches — Tim Hancock in 2013, Royce Carlton in 2014 and Josh Bassett in 2015 and 2016.
“(Carlton) did a real good job of teaching me about being a family as a program,” says Hoover. “The more you treat you treat your teammates as family, the harder you’re going to play for each other.
“(Bassett) put a lot of responsibility on me. When he came in I was the only returning starter. He taught me how to be a leader.”
Hoover played all over the diamond for the Yellow Jackets, but mostly at third base.
In two seasons at Vincennes (Ind.) University, Hoover was also a utility player though most of his time was spent at second base.
Chris Barney is the Trailblazers head coach.
“He taught me how to come in and get your business done,” says Hoover of Barney. “You go in, work hard and understand who you are as a player.”
Hoover did not play past VU. He transferred and earned an Information Technology degree at Indiana University-Bloomington in 2019. He now has a daytime job as an IT professional, part of the time for Perry Central.
The Commodores play and practice on-campus. On Hoover’s wish list is the leveling of the playing surface.
Hoover’s assistant coaches include Jason Hubert (who helped Hoover with the Razorbacks last summer), Andrew Harpenau and Chad Hubert at the high school. Guiding the junior high team (a mix of seventh and eighth graders which play in the spring and use the varsity field) is Brayden Stowe (son of former Perry Central head coach Adam Stowe) and Zander Poole.
Besides the junior high team, which plays in the spring against mostly Pocket Athletic Conference schools plus Owensboro Catholic another feeder is Perry Central Youth Baseball for ages 7 to 12.
“I’m pretty involved making sure we get as much participation as possible,” says Hoover. “It’s exciting for the future.”
Hoover has committed to coach a Razorbacks 14U team this summer.
Ryan and Stephanie Hoover were married in October 2022. She is a University of Evansville graduate and a physical therapist in Princeton, Ind.