Tyler Nemtuda did not get to pitch in a competitive baseball game for three years. He got the chance to get back in the game in 2023 and he made the most of it. A left-hander and 2020 graduate of Portage (Ind.) High School, Nemtuda lost his senior season with the Indians to the COVID-19 pandemic. While competing in a travel-ball PBR Future Games event at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., Nemtuda attracted the attention of coaches at Florence-Darlington Technical College — a junior college in Florence, S.C. He went for a visit and decided to become a Flo-Dar Stinger. But a car accident about a year into school caused him to drop all his classes and miss out on the 2021 baseball season. Just before the 2022 slate, Nemtuda dislocated his left knee cap. He had surgery and missed that campaign as well. “I had a pretty rough two years,” says Nemtuda. He began running and throwing last July. With his knee on the mend, he got to play for the first time since his junior year at Portage. This spring, the southpaw played for head coach head coach Preston McDonald, pitching coach Jeremy McDonald (not relation to Preston) and assistant pitching coach Ryan Smith and made 18 mound appearances (16 in relief), going 3-1 with two saves, a 3.77 earned run average, 32 strikeouts and 15 walks in 28 2/3 innings. “They told us to work hard, never give up and do your best every time you go out there,” says Nemtuda of his Flo-Dar coaches. “We learned a lot, made a lot of friends and had a good time.” Throwing from an arm slot between three-quarter overhand and sidearm, the lefty uses a two-seam fastball, slider and change-up. The two-seamer can move into or away a hitter on either side of the plate and sits at 87 to 89 mph and has topped out at 90. “That’s like my best pitch right now,” says Nemtuda. “I have a lot of arm-side run and then it will sometimes cut into righties, too. I get a lot of ground balls. He also gets plenty of swings and misses with the fastball when he puts it inside or up in the strike zone. The slider moves to left to right, landing on the back foot of a right-handed hitter. His change-up is a three-finger splitter with the ring and pointer fingers placed outside of his two-seam grip. Nemtuda earned an associate degree in Arts at Florence-Darlington and is committed to join the Bearcats of NCAA Division II Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., in the fall while studying Business Administration. Jason Burke is Lander’s head coach. Alex Moore is pitching coach. The Bearcats are Peach Belt Conference members. Baseball and school keep him busy, but when he has time Nemtuda enjoys fishing. He tends to go for brown trout, steelhead and bass at home and bass in South Carolina. Tyler was born in Chesterton, Ind., and and attended school there until moving to nearby Portage after his freshman year as his father went there for a basketball coaching job. Father Bob Nemtuda is now a Physical Education teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Chesterton. Mother Tracy Nemtuda is nurse for Ambiomed. Older sister Taylor Nemtuda was involved in cross country, tennis and some basketball at Chesterton. Tyler played baseball at what is now Liberty Rec Babe Ruth and State Park Little League — both in Chesterton — and then went into travel ball with the Chesterton-based Duneland Flyers, Illinois-based Elite Baseball and the Indiana Bulls. He was on the Chesterton High School junior varsity as a freshman and the Portage varsity as a sophomore and junior. He played first base and right field when not pitching. His coaches were Bob Dixon and John Selman. “They were just great coaches that would help you with anything,” says Nemtuda. “I lift a lot. They’d always open the gym and weight room for me, which was awesome. “I still talk to them to this day.” Former Portage head coach Doug Nelson has also given facilities access to Nemtuda. This summer, Nemtuda is with the Northern League’s Northwest Indiana Oilmen. The Adam Enright-managed team is to open its season today (May 25) at Lake County (Crown Point, Ind.) with the home opener at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Ind., June 7.
Moneyball — the film based on the non-fiction book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis — came out in 2011. Brodey Heaton was 9 or 10 and living in Newburgh, Ind., when he first saw it. “I liked the storyline and as I grew up and started getting more into math and statistics it just started becoming my favorite movie,” says Heaton, who is a first baseman — the same position played by Scott Hatteberg of the Oakland Athletics in real life and the film. Now 22 and a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder at NCAA Division I Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Heaton has already earned an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics. With an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heaton plans to play for the Bruins again in 2024 while pursuing a Master of Sport Administration. Batting primarily in the 3-hole, Heaton has played in 52 games (50 starts) in 2023 and is hitting .241 (46-of-191) with six home runs, 10 doubles, 33 runs batted in, 28 runs scored and .724 OPS (.326 on-base percentage plus .398 slugging average). “I try to drive in runs or be productive for the team — try to have a tough at-bat and set up the rest of the lineup the best I can,” says Heaton, who went 2-of-3 and scored a run Tuesday, May 16 at Tennessee. For his college career, the righty swinger/thrower has played in 174 games (172 starts) and is hitting .286 (191-of-669) with 23 homers, 39 doubles, 149 RBIs, 97 runs and .825 OPS (.360/.465). Heaton was an all-Ohio Valley Conference tournament team in 2022. If Belmont (23-30, 8-16) qualifies for the 2023 Missouri Valley Conference tourney, that event is May 23-27 at Indiana State. Teammates voted Heaton and left-handed pitcher Andy Bean as co-captains for 2023. “Part of my job is the communicate between the coaches and the rest of the team,” says Heaton. “And to be an extra coach out there. Since I’ve probably been here the longest I help the new guys out and give them little pointers when they need it. “It’s also being a relaxing presence for people and showing them the way we do things at Belmont.” In that way, Heaton is a reflection of his veteran head coach. Dave Jarvis is in his 26th season as Belmont head coach and 41st year of coaching overall. “He’s a calm presence in the dugout,” says Heaton of Jarvis. “He’s always positive. He’s always telling us to be calm and ready for the moment.” Heaton benefits from physical strength and mental acuity, honed by playing football (tight end), basketball (power forward) and baseball (first base) at Castle High School, where he graduated in 2019. “Strength is a big part of my game now,” says Heaton. “I’ve always been naturally strong but in my years at Belmont I’ve put in a lot more work in the weight room. I’ve gotten a lot more strength, especially in my lower body. I’ve worked with our strength coach (assistant sports performance coach Jarett Thompson) just to stay healthy and strong. “It’s paid dividends for me. “I’m not the quickest. Playing three sports in high school has made me more athletic. My Baseball I.Q. helps me know what’s going on and get to balls or take extra bases.” Curt Welch was Heaton’s head baseball coach in high school, instilling drive and providing life lessons. “He is super competitive,” says Heaton of Welch. “He wants it a lot out there and he takes that into his teams. “He has that attention to detail. You can just tell that he wants to make us competitive. I really appreciated playing for him.” As a senior, Heaton hit .392 and was named to the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series in Madison and was all-state honorable mention, first-team all-Southern Indiana Athletic Conference and the All-Metro Player of the Year. He helped the Knights win two sectionals and two regionals. Growing up in Newburgh, Heaton started out with local teams, played Newburgh Junior Baseball in middle school and was with the Indiana Bulls travel organization from 11U to 17U. Sean Laird was the head coach in his 17U summer. He then went with the Jeremy Johnson-coached Evansville Razorbacks before heading to Belmont. After his freshman season with the Bruins, Heaton went to College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. Early in the 2021 spring season, he suffered a torn labrum in his left hip and partially-torn quadriceps and played through it. Surgery kept him off the field that summer. Heaton played for the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Ocean State Waves in 2022 and expects to go back to South Kingstown, R.I., this summer. Bryan and Crystal Heaton have two children — Brodey and Katelyn (19). Bryan Heaton is a project manager for Toyota. Crystal Heaton is in the finance department of Deaconess Health System. Katelyn Heaton is studying speech therapy at Murray (Ky.) State University.
Aaron Ernst is experiencing professional baseball for the first time. The 24-year-old right-handed pitcher from Carmel, Ind., reported two weeks ago to the Tri-City ValleyCats — a Frontier League team in Troy, N.Y. The MLB partner league club is to begin the 2023 regular season Friday, May 12 at home against Trois-Rivieres. Ernst also received an invitation from the Evansville (Ind.) Otters in the same league, but decided to go to New York on the recommendation of friends who had played in Tri-City for manager Pete Incaviglia. “Pete’s a good guy,” says Ernst of the former big league slugger. “He’s a players’ coach.” Ernst, who is classified as Rookie-1 by Frontier League eligibility rules, also works with ValleyCats pitching coach Brooks Carey, a former pro pitcher with plenty of managing and coaching on his resume.’ He was pitching coach at Evansville in 2012. “He’s a great guy, too,” sats Ernst. “I enjoy the coaches, the team and everything about it.” So how did Ernst get to this point? After two seasons of not playing while recuperating from Tommy John surgery (Ulnar Lateral Ligament reconstruction), Ernst pitched in 2022 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. “I started off the year well and got banged up a little bit,” says Ernst. The righty was the Opening Day starter for the Alex Sogard-coached Raiders and made 10 mound appearances (five starts) and went 1-1 with an 8.41 earned run average, 30 strikeouts and 19 walks in 20 1/3 innings while also making the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll. Ernst graduated with a Business degree concentrating on Marketing and is well on his way toward getting a Masters of Business Administration. His first two college seasons (2018 and 2019) were spent at the University of Dayton, where he made 23 appearances (15 starts) and was 4-11 with a 5.48 ERA, 70 strikeouts and 41 walks in 88 2/3 innings. He was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Freshman Team in 2018. In the summers after those two seasons at Dayton, Ernst went with the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League’s Richmond (Ind.) Jazz in 2018 and New England Collegiate League’s Upper Valley (Vt.) Nighthawks in 2019. He did not play in the summer of 2022. Ernst transferred to Wright State in 2020 and was required to sit out what turned out to be a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. While working out at home during quarantine, he tore his UCL and was soon on the operating table and unable to pitch in 2021. His pro career looks to begin with Ernst as a bullpen arm. “I’m definitely a reliever right now,” says Ernst. “But I’m open to whatever I’m asked to do.” Throwing from an over-the-top arm slot, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Ernst employs a four-seam fastball, change-up, slider and curveball. In recent weeks, his four-seamer has been regular-clocked between 92 to 95 mph and sometimes touching 96. Not quite a “circle” change, that pitch drops. When it’s right the slider is in the low to mid-80s and has late and sharp break. The curve is at 80 mph or below with late 12-to-6 movement. When Ernst is Indiana during the off-season, he works out at Pro-X Athlete Development in Westfield and gets pointers from Jay Lehr. When in Dayton, Ernst gives lessons and trains at Pauer Sports Performance. Growing up in Carmel, Ernst was with the Carmel Dads Club, Carmel Pups and Indiana Bulls in his early years. He then went with the Indiana Aces (Lehr’s organization) and played on a team coached by Brad Pearson. Ernst went back to the Indiana Bulls for his 17U summer and played for Sean Laird. He was with the Jay Hundley-coached 18U Indiana Blue Jays before heading to the Jayson King-coached Dayton Flyers. A 2017 graduate of Carmel High School, Ernst’s head coach as a senior was Matt Buczkowski. Before that is was Dan Roman. Aaron is the second of two boys born to Allen and Carmen Ernst. Allen is a salesman. Carmen is in health care. Older brother Addison Ernst is a Purdue University graduate and an engineer in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area.
When Kyler McIntosh followed his brother’s foot steps and went from Columbus, Ind., to Alabama State University baseball it was with the idea he would be a pitcher-only. Hunter McIntosh, who had been a four-time all-area selection, three-time team captain and two-time team MVP at Columbus North High School (Class of 2012), pitched three seasons for the Hornets (2014-16) and went 14-6 with two saves, a 3.93 earned run average and 152 strikeouts and 69 walks in 151 innings. Like his brother, Kyler McIntosh was honored as the Baseball Player of the Year for The Republic, the Columbus newspaper. Righty thrower/swinger Kyler went 8-1 with 1.68 ERA, 60 strikeouts and eight walks in 62 2/3 innings while also hitting .394 with four home runs, five triples, 39 runs batted in and 29 runs scored in his senior season at Columbus North (2021), made the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series as a pitcher and headed for a mound in Montgomery, Ala. Then McIntosh had a conversation with Alabama State head coach Jose’ Vazquez and his staff. “I had them watch me swing a little bit and take some ground balls,” says McIntosh. “I was really mainly a pitcher — definitely freshman year — but I had the chance to earn my spot in the lineup.” In 2022, McIntosh pitched in 17 games (nine starts) and played in 41. He went 4-4 with one save, a 5.78 ERA, 64 strikeouts and 17 walks in 67 innings while also hitting .384 (38-of-99) with three homers, two triples, nine doubles, 22 RBIs and 20 runs. The Hornets went 34-25 overall and 21-8 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and ended the season in the NCAA D-I Knoxville Regional. This spring, McIntosh has been Alabama State’s starting shortstop when he’s not pitching. He’s been in 42 games for the Hornets (30-15, 18-3). He is hitting .301 (46-of-153) with four homers, two triples, 10 doubles, 28 RBIs, 38 runs and an .840 OPS (.369 on-base percentage plus .471 slugging average). On the mound, McIntosh has 11 appearances (eight starts) and is 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA, 35 strikeouts and six walks in 45 1/3 innings. With all the throwing his does from the bump and in the infield, arm care of McIntosh includes plenty of weighted ball work. “I get treatment all the time,” says McIntosh. “A couple of days after I pitch I get it scraped out and rubbed out and everything. I just do a lot of recovery. I drink a lot of water.” McIntosh does not throw bullpens between starts — like many pitchers do. When it looks like he might be used in relief, he throws flat ground pitches to a teammate instead of taking ground balls between innings. “I don’t throw off a mound in the bullpen, I just get eight (warm-up) pitches,” says McIntosh. “I have two totally different mindsets when I pitch or play short. “When I play short, it’s about having fun and keeping my team engaged and locked-in. I’m kind of psycho when I pitch. He flip a switch pretty quickly and focus on keeping me locked-in.” Not a high-octane hurler (his top velocity is 87 to 89 mph), McIntosh employs a wide variety of pitches — sinker, slider, curveball, change-up and cutter — mostly from a three-quarter arm slot. “I’ve learned to command them so I don’t get beat up too bad on the mound,” says McIntosh, who works this season with first-year pitching coach Branch Kloess. Of late, McIntosh has been in the No. 2 hole in the Alabama State batting order. He explains his offensive approach. “As a freshman, I knew (pitchers) were going to attack me,” says McIntosh. “I went up there and hunted the fastball. The first fastball I got I tried to smash it. This year is kind of the same, but they have a scouting report on me. I get pitched a lot differently then I did last year. If I do get a fastball I try to jump on it. This year it’s thinking fastball and adjusting to off-speed. “If I see a hanging breaking ball I know I have to go after it.” McIntosh cherishes his time with Puerto Rico native Vazquez. “I’ve learned so much Spanish,” says McIntosh. “Playing for him is so enjoyable. I enjoy the coaching staff. It’s definitely fun when we’re winning and we’re doing a good job of that right now.” Currently on a three-game win streak, Alabama State has three more conference series and two mid-week games prior to the SWAC Championship May 24-28 in Atlanta. Kyler has a number of mentors. Besides his father, there’s father Dennis, Will Nelson (Hunter’s best friend and the owner of Tipton Lakes Athletic Club in Columbus) and Devin Mann (a Columbus North teammate of Hunter McIntosh who is now at Triple-A with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization). “My dad is consistently on my butt to keep working hard,” says McIntosh. “My mother (Lani) definitely keeps me in-line. When I need something I go to her and she helps me out.” McIntosh works out and takes lessons from Mann in the off-season. Born in Seymour, Ind., McIntosh grew up in Columbus. He played rec ball in town and a CERA Sports Park & Campground — aka CERALand — then travel ball with the Indiana Bulls, Indiana Outlaws (which became the Canes Midwest). Kyler played at Columbus North for head coach Ben McDaniel and assistants Mike Bodart (who is now Bull Dogs head coach), Daniel Ayers (who was selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and pitched in the Baltimore Orioles system) and Hunter McIntosh. McIntosh was with the Canes in the summer of 2020 and in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., in 2021. Following his freshman year at Alabama State, McIntosh played in seven summer games for the Appalachian League’s Johnson City (Tenn.) Doughboys. “I was super-tired,” says McIntosh. “My first college season really kicked me in the butt when I didn’t think it would. “I went home early and tried to rest my body and gain weight. Gaining weight has always been my problem. I’ve always gone out there and grinded games out. “I’ve always been kind of a scrawny kid.” At 6-foot-1, 172 pounds, McIntosh anticipates staying in Columbus and working out while trying to pounds to come back to the Hornets a little stronger and healthier. McIntosh is a Business Management major with a minor in Finance. His father owns a mowing business and is a distributor for Pepperidge Farms and George J. Howe Company and Kyler can see himself getting involved with one of those after graduation.
Injuries have caused Craig Yoho to persevere since he stepped on a college baseball diamond and he thanks the woman he married for getting him through the tough times. Yoho, a 2018 graduate of Fishers (Ind.) High School, went to the University of Houston and appeared in eight games as an infielder with three starts for the Cougars before getting hurt in 2019. He got into one game in 2020 and did not play in 2021 and 2022 and went through two Tommy John reconstructive arm surgeries and a procedure to fix a dislocated knee cap. Now at Indiana University, the 23-year-old right-handed pitcher has made 10 mound appearances (all in relief) so far in 2023 and is 4-0 with a 1.40 earned run average. In 19 1/3 innings, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder has 34 strikeouts and nine walks. He joins sophomore left-hander Ryan Kraft as one of the arms that head coach Jeff Mercer and pitching coach Dustin Glant can call upon at the back end of the Indiana bullpen. Indiana is 23-10 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten Conference heading into a three-game conference series Friday through Sunday at Illinois. While at Houston, Yoho met soccer athlete Sydni Dusek. “Before I had my journey with injuries she had her stint with injuries and that’s where I got my mindset,” says Yoho. “You never quit. You just keep coming back. You get up from adversity. “Just being around her and I saw how she handled all the adversity. She’s been a huge helping keep my spirits up through all the years of not playing baseball and still supports me to this day. “She’s definitely been a huge impact.” Craig and Sydni were married in July 2022 in Dripping Springs, Texas. Yoho had a pretty clean bill of health in high school. Then his first Tommy John surgery coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, making for a difficult rehabilitation. “Then I had poor ramp-ups for pitching while also (playing a position),” says Yoho. At Fishers, Yoho won four baseball letters while becoming the Tigers’ career leader in home runs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walks and the single-game leader in homers, games played, plate appearances, runs scored, walks and defensive innings played. He started at shortstop and helped a Matthew Cherry-coached team win the 2018 IHSAA Class 4A state championship. Yoho played a part in winning two HC conference titles and was twice named to the all-Indianapolis Star Super Team and all-Marion County. He was also a first-team Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association all-stater and selected for the 2018 IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series. He also lettered in basketball. Throwing from a low three-quarter arm slot (close to the path he used as an infielder), Yoho throws a four-seam fastball that tends to be 92 to 94 mph “in the zone.” Yoho, who also employs a slider, curveball and change-up, says IU coaches don’t count pitches that are outside the strike zone. Growing up in Fishers, Yoho got started in the Hamilton Southeastern youth league and was with the Indiana Bulls travel organization from 11U through high school. His coaches included Jeremy Honaker, Sean Laird and Dan Held. “Those guys are really the foundation of where I learned to play baseball,” says Yoho. “(Honaker) was a great coach. I started getting recruited while playing for him. “He helped me a lot through my recruiting process.” Yoho also gives a lot to credit to Cherry. “He was huge in instilling the work ethic by just being around him for four years,” says Yoho. “He was big on building a culture and being a close-knit team. “That carries over when you get to other places and want to build the same thing with your new team.” Craig is the son of Lance and Connie Yoho. Older brother Brandon Yoho (Fishers Class of 2015) was an infielder at Purdue Fort Wayne. A Sport Marketing and Management major with a Business minor, Yoho is on target to graduate this spring. Because of his medical redshirt etc., he has more years of eligibility. It’s too early to tell if he’ll come back to college after 2023. “I want to play professional baseball,” says Yoho. “If I get that chance I’d love to do that. “I plan on playing baseball as a long as a I can.”
Sam Klein keeps getting more stingy as his college baseball career progresses. The Ball State University right-hander missed the first month of the 2023 season working out some soreness. He got into his first game March 19 and has worked stints of 4, 2 2/3, 3 2/3 and 3 1/3 innings. For a team that is 23-9 overall and 10-2 in the Mid-American Conference heading into a three-game MAC series Friday through Sunday at Central Michigan, Klein is 3-0 with one save an 0.66 earned run average. He has 16 strikeouts and five walks in 13 2/3 innings. Opponents have hit .196 with eight singles and two doubles. All 38 of Klein’s appearances for the Cardinals since 2021 have been out of the bullpen with the last two being BSU’s closer. That has caused him to develop a mindset. “You have to do your job or else you’re not going to win the game,” says Klein. “My job is to go out there and compete. “I use my natural competitive nature to help myself on the mound. I’ve only thrown the last four weeks. I’m getting back into the role.” Born in Tennessee, Klein grew up in Bloomington, Ind. He played his early baseball at Winslow Sports Complex and competed in the Monroe County Youth Football Association. As a teenager, he began travel baseball — first for Demand Command then Diamond Dynamics and the Troy Drosche-coached Indiana Bulls. A 2020 graduate of Bloomington High School North, Klein lost his senior prep season to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a junior, he went 6-0 with one save and a 1.31 ERA for the Richard Hurt-coached Cougars. He produced 51 strikeouts and nine walks in 32 innings. A shortstop when not pitching, Klein hit .333. In his first college season of 2021, Klein took the bump 11 times and posted a 1-0 mark with one save and a 5.52 ERA. He whiffed 12 and walked 11 in 14 2/3 innings. In 2022, Klein made 23 appearances and went 4-3 with 11 saves and a 3.18 ERA. He fanned 47 and walked 21 in 34 innings. Foes hit .179. His career WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is 1.32. Klein has become accustomed to how Ball State head coach Rich Maloney and pitching coach Larry Scully will use him. “Usually if it’s a close game in the seventh inning I’ll come down to the bullpen and start stretching out,” says Klein. “If (the game is) tied or it’s a save situation I’ll usually go in.” A 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, Klein uses three pitches from an over-the-top arm slot — a rising four-seam fastball clocked at 90 to 93 mph, a 12-to-6 slider that looks like a curveball and a change-up with drop and arm-side movement. Last summer Klein pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League, making five appearances (four as a reliever) with no decisions. “It was a great experience,” says Klein. “It was really good competition. The coaches and players all know what they’re doing.” In the summer of 2021, Klein took the mound seven times (all starts) for the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League’s Hamilton (Ohio) Joes and went 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA. He had 55 strikeouts and 15 walks in 44 innings. Klein, who turned 21 in January, is eligible for the 2023 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. But he is focused on the here and now. “If I do well out here that helps my chances,” says Klein. “I don’t tend to think about much about it while I’m playing.” Sam is the second of three children born to teachers Bill and Brittany Klein. Professional baseball player Will Klein (Bloomington North Class of 2017) is the oldest and prep softball/volleyball athlete Molly Klein (Bloomington North Class of 2025) the youngest. Will Klein, 6-foot-3, 230-pound right-hander, was a mound standout at Bloomington North and Eastern Illinois University and was taken in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals. He was with Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2022 then pitched in the Arizona Fall League. The 23-year-old begins 2023 at Northwest Arkansas. “He’s a little stronger than me and throws harder,” says Sam Klein of Will. “He relies on (velocity) a little more than I do. I’d like to think I have a little more command than he does.” Like his brother, Sam is a Biology major. “It was my favorite thing in high school,” says Klein, who is considered a sophomore academically and athletically. “I stuck with it.”
Jack Van Remortel was born and raised in the middle of America. Baseball has allowed him to see the USA from from coast-to-coast. And he’s only 23. Carmel, Ind., native Van Remortel is a fifth-year senior first baseman at the University of Michigan. The Wolverines were to open the 2023 home season today (March 8) after games in Arizona, California and Texas. “It’s good to play some high-quality opponents early in the season,” says Van Remortel, whose already gone against Fresno State, Michigan State, UC San Diego, Grand Canyton, Cal State Fullerton, UCLA, UC Irvine, UCLA, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and Louisville. “You learn the things you need to work on as a team. “I always think about how awesome it is where the game of baseball takes you. Being able to see these cool parks and places is really neat.” Van Remortel went to the Wolverines after graduating from Carmel High School in 2018. He appeared in 16 Michigan games as a pinch-hitter and in the infield in 2019 then played for the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Sanford (Maine) Mariners. “That was a great experience,” says Van Remortel. “I got my first taste of summer ball.” The 2020 NCAA season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic and Van Remortel got into two U-M games with one at-bat. At the suggestion of then-Wolverines head coach Erik Bakich, Van Remortel went to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., to play for Jeremiah Robbins in 2020-21 with the idea of coming back to Michigan. “I went to get some at-bats and some experience,” says Van Remortel, who appeared in 37 games and rapped four home runs and drove in 28 runs in for the IronHawks. Relationships and connections took Van Remortel to Oregon. Michigan catcher Casey Buckley, who also went from Michigan to Umpqua and back to the Wolverines, is a California native and the son of Troy Buckley (now pitching coach at Fresno State). The elder Buckley is a friend of Bakich and Robbins, who led Lewis and Clark State to three titles (2015, 2016 and 2017) and two runner-up finishes at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. “I went out there for Coach Robbins and to learn under him,” says Van Remortel, who briefly played with the 2021 Bellingham (Wash.) Bells of the West Coast League before experiencing a ankle injury and went back to that team for a month in the summer of 2022. “I’ve been all over the country,” says Van Remortel. Primarily a third baseman in high school, Van Remortel has found a home at first base and explains how he approaches the position. “When I’m on the field I always like to be talking and communicating,” says Van Remortel. “That’s important. And then just being the steady force over there. Having some stability at that spot is key. A lot of plays go through first base. “Baseball is really catching and throwing the ball when you break it down on defense. Being able to make those long throws is an advantage.” A Sport Management major, Van Remortel is scheduled to graduate in the spring. What’s next? “My passion is in baseball,” says Van Remortel. “I’ve always wanted to stay in sports. Recently I’ve leaned toward coaching. “Coaching college players is something I’d be really passionate about. I’ve learned a lot in college. It’s a great age to grow and develop.” Van Remortel got his start in travel ball with Indiana Mustangs and played for the Indiana Nitro then several years with the Indiana Bulls. A four-year varsity player at Carmel, Van Remortel had Dan Roman as head coach his freshman and sophomore seasons and Matt Buczkowski for his junior and senior campaigns for the Greyhounds. “It’s kind of cool to see how different people approach the game. Having two different perspectives from Coach Roman and Coach Buczkowski is really good,” says Van Remortel, who was all-state and all-conference in baseball and all-conference in football at Carmel. He is seeing another perspective this season in Ann Arbor. Tracy Smith, a graduate of South Newton High School in Kentland, Ind., and former head coach at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), Indiana University and Arizona State University, is now head coach at Michigan. Three members of Smith’s staff — associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Ben Greenspan, pitching coach Brock Huntzinger and director of operations Danny Stolper — worked with him at ASU. Former big league catcher, Indiana University and Terre Haute North Vigo High School product Josh Phegley is Director of Player Development for the Wolverines. Tyler Graham is volunteer coach/hitting instructor. Hunter Satterthwaite is director of data analytics. Jack is the oldest of David and Kelly Van Remortel’s two children. Lauren Van Remortel is 21 and a senior volleyball player at Northern Michigan University. David Van Remortel played rugby at University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. Kelly (Niedbalski) Van Remortel played volleyball at Purdue University. Uncle Chris Gambol played offensive line at the University of Iowa and in the National Football League for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots.
Andy McClain has gotten a look at his prospects as the new head baseball coach at North Central High School in Indianapolis and he likes the Panthers chances to make noise on the diamond in 2023. “It’s a big school and a good program,” says McClain, who comes to Washington Township after four years at Lawrence Central. “We’ve got hungry kids. We’re setting high standards. I’m excited about it. “It’s a good opportunity.” North Central (enrollment around 3,875) is a member of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference (with Ben Davis, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, Pike and Warren Central). MIC teams play home-and-home series on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Panthers are part of an IHSAA Class 4A sectional grouping in 2023 with Ben Davis, Indianapolis Cathedral, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North and Pike. North Central has won 11 sectional titles — the last in 2006. “We play a competitive schedule,” says McClain. “The MIC and (Marion) County will help us make a run in the state tournament.” The fall IHSAA Limited Contact Period saw 40 to 50 North Central players participate in each session, allowing for scrimmaging. “It was different,” says McClain. “I’ve never had that. We were able to get a lot of things done. We feel like we’re in a good place from some of the things we were able to install in the fall. “There will be a lot of competition for positions. If the goal is to get them to compete you’re going to have that in your practice environment. That’s only going to make them better.” About the same number of athletes have begun weight room workouts and the next Limited Contact Period comes Dec. 5-Feb. 4. That’s where McClain will continue to emphasize energy, effort and execution. McClain plans to field three teams — varsity, junior varsity and C-team. He said he could have as many as 15 seniors — 10 with varsity experience. The Panthers went 14-9-1 in 2022. Jack Ferguson (Class of 2023) hit .412 and Micah Rienstra-Kiracofe (Class of 2024) .405. On the mound, Tristan Wilson (Class of 2025) won four games and Will Kaiser (Class of 2023) three. Besides McClain, the Panthers varsity coaching staff features Andrew Dutkanych III, Scott King and Gabe Hoffman. Dutkanych is the pitching coach. King returns to the staff. Hoffman pitched at Pike. Panther Park — North Central’s home field — recently was leveled and is scheduled to host sectional in the spring. Feeding the Panthers are baseball programs as three at three middle schools — Eastwood, Northview and Westlane. McClain, a 1987 graduate of Martinsville (Ind.) High School, where he played for and coached with Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bill Tutterow, has been a head coach at five other Indiana high schools — LaVille, Indianapolis Arlington, Brebeuf Jesuit, Norwell and Lawrence Central. Brebeuf was the 2012 Class 3A state runner-up and Norwell the 2013 3A state champion. McClain is a longtime emcee at the IHSBCA State Clinic in January. Since moving back to Indianapolis, McClain has coached travel ball in the summer for the Indiana Bulls. The 2023 season will be his fifth. He will lead the 15U Grey. John Zangrilli is an assistant and his son John Zangrilli (Carmel Class of 2026) his on the team. McClain has coached Nevan Tutterow (Franklin Central Class of 2025, grandson of Bill and son of Bryant) on the Bulls. The 2023-23 year marks McClain’s 33rd in education and a Science teacher at North Central. “The Biology department along has 10 people in it,” says McClain of the enormity of North Central. Daughter MacKenzie McClain lives in Victor, N.Y., and is scheduled to be married next summer.
An American shined in Canada and got the chance to play in Mexico. That’s the story of Tasker Strobel’s 2022 as a professional baseball pitcher. Strobel, a graduate of Avon (Ind.) High School (2013) and Saint Joseph’s College (2017), spent the spring and summer with the independent/MLB Partner League American Association’s Winnipeg Goldeyes. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound left-hander performances for the Gary (Ind.) SouthShore RailCats against Winnipeg in 2021 made Goldeyes manager/pitching coach Rick Forney want Strobel in 2022. The 27-year-old southpaw was given a chance to compete for the closer role, landed it and made 53 appearances (all in relief) and went 2-3 with 21 saves (second in the AA to the 23 for Fargo-Moorhead’s Alex DuBord) and a 3.41 earned run average. Strobel racked up 58 strikeouts with 21 walks in 55 1/3 innings. “(Forney) was good for my career,” says Strobel. “If you were doing well he let you ride and do your own thing.” The longtime baseball man maintains connections South of the Border and had former Winnipeg slugger Kyle Martin play for Mayos de Navojoa of the Mexican Pacific League (Liga Mexicana del Pacífico or LMP in Spanish) in 2021-22. Navojoa — managed by Homar Rojas — reached out saying they needed a closer for 2022-23. Strobel and his agent deemed it a good fit and he signed to compete in the 10-team league that has a 68-game regular season runs from October to December and is followed by a playoff series in January to determine the league champion and a berth in the Caribbean Series. The way it was explained to Strobel, the winter league is essentially all-star teams from the 18-team Mexican League (which runs from April to August) with a few imports mixed in among native Mexicans. Mayos teammates include three players from the 2022 American Association season — infielder Grant Kay (Chicago Dogs), pitcher Max Kuhns (Sioux City Explorer) and outfielder Zach Nehrir (Cleburne Railroaders). Through Mexican Pacific League games of Nov. 1, Strobel had finished seven games and was 0-0 with four saves, 4.26 ERA, four strikeouts and one walk in 6 1/3 innings. What makes a closer in Strobel’s eyes? “You’ve got to be a little crazy and have that mindset of getting everyone out,” says Strobel. (The other team is) not going to score a run on you. “You have to lock it in. You can’t miss a spot with any pitch, especially the American Association.” Throwing from a low three-quarter arm slot, Strobel employs a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball, slider and change-up. His four-seamer sits at 90 to 91 mph and has been up to 94. His curve has more of a sweeping action that his slider, which is tighter and faster. “I have two sliders that vary depending on counts and batters,” says Strobel. “I throw a class ‘circle’ change.” While in Mexico, Strobel is working to learn the basics of Spanish. “I took German in high school,” says Strobel, who is expanding his vocabulary with online lessons. He also uses Google Translate extensively. Tasker was born in Overland Park, Kan., and moved to Indiana at 4. The oldest of Chris and Janelle Strobel’s two sons (2017 Avon graduate Spencer Strobel is a super senior lefty pitcher at Indiana Tech) grew up in Avon and went from rec ball to travel ball as soon as he could with the Hendricks County Hurricanes. In high school, Tasker played with the Indiana Bulls and Jeff Mercer Sr. Strobel’s varsity coach at Avon High was Troy Drosche. The Orioles pitching coach then was Bob McPike and Strobel also took lessons from former big leaguer Bill Sampen. These days, Strobel helps Drosche with his high school and Indiana Bulls teams when he is able. His two seasons at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill. (2014 and 2015) are what Strobel calls “one of the greatest experiences of my life.” Kevin Bowers was — and still is the Statemen’s head coach. Max Hudson coached pitchers in 2014 and Kyle Medley led them in 2015. “It was literally baseball and school,” says Strobel. “It was about being a JUCO Bandit and I loved it.” That diamond chapter was followed up by two campaigns with head coach/pitching coach Rick O’Dette at NCAA Division II Saint Joe. “I love that guy,” says Strobel of Coach O. “He led me into how I think about pitching now. “We would sometimes butt heads, but we were a good pairing.” Strobel was a SJC senior in 2017 — the year the school closed and the Pumas program went with it. That spring, Strobel made 14 appearances (13 starts) and was 7-3 with three complete games, a 3.17 ERA and 68 strikeouts and 30 walks in 88 innings. As a junior, he hurled in 12 games (nine starts) and went went 4-4 with a 4.53 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 13 walks in 57 2/3 innings. Business degrees were earned from both Lincoln Trail and Saint Joseph’s. The lefty began his professional career in 2017 with seven appearances for the Frontier League’s Joliet (Ill.) Slammers. Strobel had Tommy John surgery on his elbow at the end of 2017 and did not play in 2018. As soon as he was cleared, he began training at PRP Baseball in Noblesville, Ind., and still goes there in the off-season to work with Greg Vogt and Anthony Gomez and to coach other pitchers. Bullpen Tournaments and Pro X Athlete Development — both at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. — also employed Strobel during his time away from playing the game. With the independent Utica, Mich.-based United Shore Professional Baseball League’s 2020 Westside Woolly Mammoths, the lefty played in 10 games (nine in relief) with no decisions, a 3.97 ERA, 18 strikeouts and four walks in 11 1/3 innings. Strobel pitched parts of 2019 and 2021 with the Greg Tagert-managed RailCats, getting into 34 games and going 3-5, a 3.84 ERA, 72 strikeouts and 21 walks in 70 1/3 innings. Strobel, who is contracted to return to Winnipeg in 2023, wasn’t the only Indiana native in the 2022 Goldeyes bullpen. Right-hander Zac Ryan, an Andrean High School graduate and former Georgia Tech pitcher drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2017 and released in 2021, made 32 appearances (all in relief) for Winnipeg in 2022. He was 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA, 33 strikeouts and 16 walks in 29 innings.
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.