By STEVE KRAH
Andy Manes says he wants his Warsaw (Ind.) Community High School baseball team to “play with a purpose.”
That’s what Manes says after being hired as the program’s head coach. He spent the past four seasons as a volunteer varsity assistant.
“We want to play with effort and sense of urgency,” says Manes. “We can’t be afraid to fail.”
While Drake Graham and Liam Patton are expected to return and make college baseball commitment, Manes also looks for underclassmen to fight for some playing sports in the spring.
“I don’t care if you’re a ninth grader. I don’t care if you’re a senior,” says Manes. “If you can play, you can play. I want the best.
“There’s no reason Warsaw — year in and year out — can’t be a program others look up to.”
Being with the team that past four years, Manes comes in with a sense of familiarity.
“In know all the guys,” says Manes. “We’ve definitely laid a foundation.”
Looking to build a relationship with younger baseball players in the community, Manes has made it a point to be visible at Warsaw Little League’s fall session.
“We want to a strong relationship,” says Manes of the league that plays near Boggs Industrial Park. “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much your care. We want to be visible.
“We want to teach them how we do it at the high school level.”
This past summer, the Little League had Junior League for ages 13 and 14, but lacked enough 15- and 16-year-olds for a Senior League.
Manes says if he can instill the “Tiger Way” to players before they get to high school, he will not have to spend as much time re-teaching them certain things.
His opportunity to join the high school staff came from Mike Hepler and Manes is grateful.
Hepler coached the Tigers the past 13 seasons, for bringing him on to his staff. The two knew each other from playing adult baseball together years ago with the Warsaw Indians.
Warsaw belongs to the Northern Lakes Conference (along with Concord, Elkhart Memorial, Goshen, Northridge, NorthWood, Plymouth and Wawasee).
The NLC plays 14 double round-robin games to establish its champion.
Warsaw, coming off a 2018 season in which it was 7-17 overall and 3-11 in the conference, is in a seven-team 4A sectional grouping with Concord, Elkhart Central, Elkhart Memorial, Goshen, Northridge and Penn. The Tigers last won sectional titles in 2006 and 2010.
Warsaw expects to play non-conference contests against Columbia City, Elkhart Central, Fort Wayne Carroll, Huntington North, Kokomo, Mishawaka, Penn, South Bend Riley and Tippecanoe Valley.
Three players from the Warsaw Class of 2018 — Jared Hawley, Mike Nunez and Matt Shapiro — planned to play college baseball.
A new sprinkler system went in this fall at Tiger Field. On the wish list is lights.
“We’re the only athletic facility on-campus without lights,” says Manes. “It prevents us from hosting sectional. But I know you can’t have everything at once.”
Manes works as a financial advisor at 1st Source Bank in Warsaw.
His Tigers assistants are John Edwards and Adam Augustine with the varsity as well as Eric Lane and Aaron Christenberry with the junior varsity.
Augustine played at Warsaw and was an NCAA Division III All-American at Manchester University in 2005. Christenberrry played at WCHS and Grace College in Winona Lake, which is adjacent to Warsaw.
Manes (pronounced MAN-us) played for four seasons (1997-2000) at Grace College. As a catcher, first baseman and designated hitter, he made his way onto Lancers Top 10 lists for career hits (140), career runs batted in (110), career doubles (30), career home runs (11), single-season runs (33 in 1999), single-season RBIs (38 in 1998) and single-season doubles (11 in 1999).
After his college playing days, 2000 Grace graduate Manes turned down an offer to try out with the independent Lincoln (Neb.) Saltdogs.
Glenn Johnson, who was then the Grace head coach, drove 10 hours to recruit Manes out of Lincoln. He convinced the 1996 Lincoln Christian High School graduate to come to northern Indiana.
A small school, Lincoln Christian plays American Legion baseball in the summer. Manes played Legion ball from his eighth grade through senior years and was a part of district championship teams each year and two state runner-up finishes. Andy’s father, Mike Manes, was his head coach.
Andy is the oldest of Mike and Connie Manes’ four children. All of them went to Lincoln Christian and then to college athletics.
Second son Tony Manes played baseball at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and is now a chiropractor.
Daughter Michelle Manes played volleyball at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.
Third son Aaron played baseball at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. By this time, Mike Manes had become head coach of the Trojans. Since the 2008 season, he has been leading the baseball program at Cedarville (Ohio) University.
Andy and wife Jennifer Manes celebrated two years of marriage in 2018. Their large blended family includes Jacob Rios (Trinity International freshman football player), Braden Rios (Lakeview Middle School eighth grader), Michael Manes (Lincoln Elementary sixth grader), Sophia Rios (Jefferson Elementary third grader) and Luca Manes (Washington Elementary third grader).
After four years as a volunteer varsity assistant, Andy Manes is now head baseball coach at Warsaw (Ind.) Community High School. He played at Grace College in nearby Winona Lake, Ind. (Warsaw Community High School Photo)