Tag Archives: Golfmoor Baseball Association

Paulin, Evansville Christian preparing for first IHSAA baseball tournament season in ’23

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

Evansville Christian School in Newburgh, Ind., is preparing for its first season of IHSAA tournament eligibility in 2022-23.
The Eagles’ program was started by Joe Paulin at the Cub (middle school) level in 2017.
There were three players on the day he was hired, including son Thomas Paulin. He was one of seven “Trailblazers” in the Class of 2022. The Eagles went 10-8 last spring.
Brandon Juarez (Class of 2022) became the program’s first college commitment, going to NCAA Division I University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.
College baseball prospects include three from the Class of 2024 — shortstop/pitcher Josiah Dunham, left-handed pitcher Jaydon Gates and catcher Maddox Brenner.
Josiah Dunham, one of Indiana’s top prep basketball players (he averaged 26 points per game in 2021-22), is the brother of New York Yankees minor leaguer and former Indiana University player Elijah Dunham.
Evansville Christian athletic director Paul Dunham is the father of both Josiah and Elijah and has coached with Paulin at what is now Golfmoor Baseball Association (Dunham coached one team to within a game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.) and Evansville Reitz High School.
Paulin’s Evansville Christian coaching staff includes Paul Dunham, Matt Brunton and Chris Pillow.
In the summer, Evansville Christian coaches guide Newburgh American Legion Post 44 teams with Paulin as manager. Both senior and junior squads have been state finalists the past two years.
Before ECS, Paulin was an assistant to Todd DeWeese at Reitz for five years.
A 1991 Reitz graduate, Paulin played three seasons for Steve Johnston. As a senior, he was a state champion in Speech and Debate before a short stint at Lincoln Trail College (Robinson, Ill.), playing for Tony Vittorio.
“He was an excellent coach,” says Paulin of Indianapolis native Vittorio. “He would take advantage of every minute of practice.”
During IHSAA Limited Contact Period practices twice a week this fall, Paulin overseen bullpen sessions.
“We’re trying to develop our younger guys and the pitching staff,” says Paulin, a Greater Evansville Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.
What’s Paulin’s “why”?
“The reason I began coaching was to be with my kids and their friends,” says Paulin, who recently celebrated 24 years of marriage to Cariann (the mom other baseball moms go to for answers) and has three sons (Cory, Joe Jr. and Thomas) and three daughters (Destiney, Candace and Jacklyn). Cory (28) is the oldest and Evansville Christian first grader Jacklyn (7) and youngest. “I have been blessed enough to be able to coach my daughter Candace and my sons Joe Jr. and Thomas for about 12 years (in baseball or basketball).
“As far as I’m concerned this has been the best years of my life and I have really enjoyed spending this time with them. It has been priceless.
“I’m a relationship guy. I try to get involved with (athlete’s) lives. High school players need that.”
Evansville Christian played its first high school season in 2018 and now has about 50 players for varsity, junior varsity and Cub squads.
Experiencing steady growth in recent years, ESC has an enrollment around 210 for high school, which will make them a Class 1A team for IHSAA tournament play.
It is a Pre-K-12 school. Its had elementary and middle school students for about 25 years and its first graduating class was 2020.
The Eagles won Southern Roads Conference titles in baseball in 2018 and 2019 and are now an athletic independent. The schedule includes mostly Indiana teams though they have played team from Illinois and Kentucky.
The Cub feeder program (Grades 7-8 with some sixth graders) plays a spring schedule but also some fall games. The team lost just twice this fall.
Evansville Christian plays its home games at Scott Township Baseball & Softball, located about 15 miles from the campus.
“Players make a commitment,” says Paulin.

Evansville Christian School head baseball coach Joe Paulin and his 2022 seniors.
Evansville Christian School head baseball coach Joe Paulin and his 2022 team.
Joe Paulin (foreground) and Tim Turpin at Paulin’s induction into the Greater Evansville Baseball Hall of Fame.

Former Indiana standout Dunham acclimating to pro baseball in Yankees organization

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Elijah Dunham signed as an undrafted minor league free agent by the New York Yankees in June 2020.

The professional baseball experience for the Evansville, Ind., did not really start until the spring of 2021.

Because of COVID-19, there was no instructional league in the Yankees organization last fall so Dunham finished up his Sports Management degree at Indiana University and trained for the 2021 season.

Dunham, who was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball) at Evansville Reitz High School and a three-year baseball standout at IU, has played 20 games for the Low Class-A Southeast League’s Tampa (Fla.) Tarpons.

Through games played June 1, the lefty-swinging outfielder is hitting .275 19-of-69 with two home runs, two triples, five doubles, 19 runs batted in, 22 runs scored and a .925 OPS (.432 on-base percentage plus .493 slugging average).

The difference between college and pro ball?

“There’s no school or someone telling what to do,” says Dunham. “You play everday and you have to know how your body feels.

“I love it. I love to play this game.”

To get familiar, Dunham has been playing all three outfield positions as well as batting anywhere from fifth to ninth in the Tarpons order.

Tampa is managed by former big league infielder David Adams.

“He’s a great guy,” says Dunham of Adams. “He’s a non-nonsense type manager — no matter where you were drafted. 

“He wants you to get better. He has a willingness to help every single player.”

Dunham, who turned 23 on May 29, figured he’d be playing as a pro before now. But he did not see a worldwide pandemic coming nor the restructuring of Minor League Baseball.

He was was selected in the 40th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but did not sign and went back to Indiana.

“I was very confident in myself in college,” says Dunham. “It was a misfortunate event that happened.”

Dunham played three seasons for the Hoosiers (2018-20). In 94 games (75 starts), the 6-foot, 213-pounder hit .312 (88-of-282) with nine homers, 25 doubles, 48 RBIs, 67 runs and a .925 OPS (.429 on-base percentage plus .496 slugging average). The left-handed thrower had a season-high three assists from the outfield in a March 8, 2020 game against San Diego.

As a Hoosier, Dunham answered to two head coaches — Chris Lemonis as a freshman and Jeff Mercer as a sophomore and junior.

“(Lemonis) is really hard on freshmen, but he’s a good dude,” says Dunham. “He’s a geat recruiter and a great baseball coach. He’s going to do well at Mississippi State.”

Dunham really connected with Mercer, who got him to focus on the variables to produce an outcome and only concern himself with the things he can control.

“I bonded with Merc,” says Dunham. “He’s like me — a blue collar baseball guy. He helped me fall in love with the process of getting better. He showed me what a successful mindset really is.

“I really appreciate him and what he did for me.”

Dunham and Mercer still regularly trade text messages.

The 2017 Reitz graduate played football for coach Andy Hape, basketball for Michael Adams and baseball for Todd DeWeese (who was assisted by Joe Paulin). Dunham was a part of two sectional championship teams in football and basketball and one in baseball.

As gridders, the Dunham boys — Elijah and Isaiah — lined up as safeties on defense and wideouts on offense. The Panthers went 9-2 in 2015 and 11-2 in 2016 — Elijah’s junior and senior seasons. Those seasons ended with a field goal and a “Hail Mary” pass.

Isaiah Dunham went on to play one football season at Yale University.

DeWeese took over the Reitz baseball program during Dunham’s freshman year.

“He was an easy-going coach,” says Dunham. “He let us play the game.

“What I remember is the times with the boys.”

Born and raised in Evansville, Elijah played from age 6-12 at what is now known as Golfmoor Baseball Association, where father Paul Dunham was league president.

After that, Elijah played travel ball for Louisville-based Ironmen Baseball.

Paul and Angie Dunham have four children — Elijah, Isaiah, Moriah and Josiah.

Moriah Dunham graduated from Evansville Christian and is headed to Taylor University to study and play soccer.

Josiah Dunham sparked Evansville Christian to an Indiana Christian School Athletic Association state championship in 2020-21.

Elijah Dunham (Tampa Tarpons Photo)
Elijah Dunham steps to the plate for the 2021 Tampa (Fla.) Tarpons. (Cliff Welch Photo)
Elijah Dunham takes a cut for the 2021 Tampa (Fla.) Tarpons. (Cliff Welch Photo)
Elijah Dunham mans his outfield position for the Tampa (Fla.) Tarpons. (Cliff Welch Photo)