BY STEVE KRAH
Cory Good is working to grow baseball in the town where he learned the game.
A 2007 graduate of Rochester (Ind.) High School, Good is entering his fifth season as the Zebras head coach in 2019.
He expects to have more than two dozen players — varsity and junior varsity — wear the Old Gold and Black this spring. Numbers vary with the size of the freshmen class. Last year, there were more frosh than usual. This year, the number has dipped a little. Next year, it looks to pick up again.
Good counts Tony Stesiak, Dave Baillieul and Fred McGlothin as assistant coaches and is looking for more helpers.
Brady Perez, a shortstop, third baseman and pitcher, is back for his senior year after hitting .479 as a junior. He is committed to Trine University. Senior catcher/third baseman Zaine Young is considering college baseball offers.
Recent graduates who went on to the collegiate diamond are right-handed pitcher Andrew Feldman at Taylor University with catcher Tanner Hampton and left-hander Carter Hooks both at Manchester University.
The Zebras play home games at Bob Copeland Field. After receiving a new home bullpen last year, the on-campus facility is getting a new press box and a batting cage down the first base line this season.
“I’d like to see new fencing or netting behind home plate,” says Good of his wish list.
“Small ball” is a brand that Good embraces.
“We want to do the things that it takes to put the pressure on,” says Good. “By being aggressive, we will make (opposing defense) make the play.”
TRC teams tangle with each other one time to determine the champion. Games are Monday or Wednesday with Friday as the rain date.
Non-conference foes for the Zebras include Bremen, Carroll (Flora), Caston, Culver Academies, Delphi, John Glenn, LaVille, Lewis Cass, Logansport, Oregon-Davis, Pioneer, Plymouth and Winamac. The Twin Lake Invitational is May 18.
“We play a pretty decent schedule,” says Good.
The Zebras are part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Lewis Cass, Manchester, Oak Hill, Wabash and Whitko. Rochester has won 11 sectional championships — the last in 2014.
Good spent the 2014 season as an assistant to Brian Hooker, his coach at RHS and one of his mentors.
“He impacted a lot of people,” says Good of former educator and multi-sport coach Hooker, who passed away Jan. 3, 2019 at 59. “He was able to connect with people.”
As sales manager for The Winning Edge, a sporting goods company owned Brad Good (his father), Cory had a working relationship with Hooker and sold equipment to him before and after joining his staff.
As Rochester assistant, Good came to appreciate all the behind-the-scenes things a head coach has to do for his program.
“It’s all the moving parts,” says Good. “There’s paperwork, grades, physicals, fundraising, transportation and gear.”
Hooker outfitted Rochester in many uniforms over the years. Good plans to have a basic home and road ensemble and possibly an alternate.
Good says he is also glad to see a junior high club program that will send players on to the high school.
In 2018, there was a combined seventh/eighth grade team.
“If numbers come, we’ll go with multiple teams,” says Good of a program that plays games in the spring and on weekdays. “Kids can walk the halls and talk about the game that night.
“It brings more excitement to the sport.”
Good says he expects that the Running Rivers Conference will someday adopt baseball and softball as school-affiliated sports. Rochester Middle School (Grades 6-8) belongs to the RRC.
Good studies sports management at Indiana University. He is the oldest of Brad and Kathy Good’s three children. His mother is a teacher. Casey Good is an Indiana University graduate and store manager at The Winning Edge. He was a football and track athlete at Rochester.
Maggie Good graduated from Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis, where she played softball. Libby Good is a senior at Purdue University. She played volleyball and softball at Rochester.
Cory and Shelby Good were married in July 2018 and are expecting their first child in August.
The Rochester Zebras celebrate a 2014 sectional baseball championship. The champions are (from left): First row — seniors Levi Brown, Tanner Hampton, Cyrus Holland, Carter Screeton, Brandt Eytcheson and Kyle Katschke; Second row — coaches Tony Stesiak, Brian Hooker and Cory Good.
Cory and Shelby Good were married in July 2018. Cory Good is head baseball coach at Rochester (Ind.) High School and sales manager at The Winning Edge.