By STEVE KRAH
Baseball players at North White Middle/High School in Monon, Ind., know something about toughness.
Many of the young men who take to the diamond for the Vikings also participate in football, wrestling or both.
“Wrestling brings a work ethic,” says Kirk Quasebarth, who coaches baseball, wrestling and football at the IHSAA Class 1A school of about 250. “You’ve got to be out there ready to go and be mentally tough. You also see that on the football field.
“You’ll see baseball players take a ball off the chest — those little intangibles.”
Quasebarth participated in all three sports at North White, playing football and wrestling for head coach Jim Davis and baseball for head coach Bill McDonald. He then played three seasons for head coach Bill Reagan at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., and got his education degree at Purdue University.
What did Quasebarth learn from Indiana Football Hall of Famer Davis?
“Patience, seeing the big picture and planning,” says Quasebarth. “He was good at keeping things simple for kids.”
Like Davis, Quasebarth plans his baseball practices to eliminate dead time.
“Kids always working on skills,” says Quasebarth. “The goal for every practice is to get something out of it.”
McDonald was known for his enthusiasm for the game.
“We had fun,” says Quasebarth. “That gets lost sometimes in high school athletics.
“It’s about kids growing up, taking responsibility and having fun.”
Since 1999, Quasebarth has been the school’s head baseball coach. Eight of the program’s eight sectional titles have come on his watch. The last one came in 2016. The Vikings advanced to the 2013 South Bend Semistate before bowing to eventual state champion Lafayette Central Catholic.
Quasebarth has led North White’s football program the past two seasons. He took over as interim head wrestling coach midway through the 2018-19 season. Six of the 10 grapplers on the squad qualified for the Logansport Regional, including baseball players Colton Jones and Parker Smith (alternate).
Quasebarth has held principal and vice principal jobs and is now back in the class room teaching social studies to seventh and eighth graders.
Youngest son Eli, a seventh grader, is also involved in football, wrestling and baseball.
While numbers have not been high for football and wrestling in recent years, Quasebarth usually sees between 20 and 25 baseball players yearly to fill varsity and junior varsity teams.
All three of his baseball assistants are North White graduates. Tony Rodgers and Brad Hahn played with Quasebarth and Travis Combs played for him.
“We’re a family,” says Quasebarth.
North White (enrollment around 250) is a member of the Midwest Conference (with Frontier, North Newton, South Newton, Tri-County and West Central). This spring, teams will play each other twice in a home-and-home series on Tuesdays and Thursdays and both games will count in the standings.
The Vikings are part of an IHSAA Class 1A sectional grouping with Caston, North Miami, Northfield, South Newton, Southwood and West Central.
Quasebarth says he recalls the challenges his teams faced against teams coached by Ryan Wolfe at West Central, Ryan Long at Frontier, Blake Mollenkopf at Caston and Jeff LeBeau at Tri-County. Wolfe is now at Plymouth and Long at Delphi.
“You have to be up on your game to play those guys,” says Quasebarth. “They are very fundamentally sound. I have a lot of respect for those guys.
“Now we get to play (Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer) Jake Burton and his Twin Lakes teams.”
The North White Babe Ruth League in Monon prepares ages 13 to 15 to play for the high school. Tyler Hileman, who is married to Kirk and Sherie Quasebarth’s daughter Whitney (a North White Elementary first grade teacher) and given them grandson Emmett, heads up the league.
North White Babe Ruth coaches include Jakob Quasebarth (who also plays football at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute) and former members of the 2013 North White regional champions — Colton Cooley, Luke Diener and twins Clint and Caleb Hendress. Caleb Hendress played baseball at Saint Joseph’s before the school closed at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
A number of North White players have gone on to college baseball in the past decade. Current senior Grant Buschman is committed to Grace College.
Around 2000, North White opened a complex for baseball and softball.
“We constantly try to do a few things,” says Quasebarth of the baseball field. “We want to raise money for a halo (around home plate).”
For the past several seasons, the Vikings wore camouflage-style uniforms in school colors — Royal Blue, White and Gold. This spring, the plan is to go with a Houston Astros-like “Rainbow” design.
North White has been rotating its winter workouts in the North White Elementary gym with pitchers on one day and hitters on another.
The Quasebarths at a Rose-Hulman football game (from left): Sherie, Jacob, Eli and Kirk.
Interim head coach Kirk Quasebarth poses with his North White Vikings wrestling team.
Head coach Kirk Quasebarth posed with his North White Vikings football team.
Head coach Kirk Quasebarth and his North White Vikings baseball team celebrate a sectional championship.
Kirk Quasebarth is head football coach at North White Middle/High School in Monon, Ind. His first season at the helm for the Vikings was 2017.
Kirk Quasebarth (left) has been the head baseball coach at North White Middle/High School in Monon, Ind., since 1999.