BY STEVE KRAH
Rise and grind.
That’s what the Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High School Tigers do in the off-season and it’s paid off during the spring.
During baseball workouts, head coach Nick Tremain has his team at the gym at 6 a.m.
“In Indiana high school baseball, we only get to play about eight weeks,” says Tremain, a 1998 Lawrenceburg graduate who led his alma mater to a 21-9 overall mark and 10-4 ledger in the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference in 2018 (The 2017 Tigers went 31-2 and won the program’s 20th sectional title). “The work comes the rest of the year.”
Some schools have a big fieldhouse.
Not so for the Tigers.
“You make due with what you have,” says Tremain, who enters his seventh season as Lawrenceburg head coach in 2019. “We have an auxiliary gym with two drop-down cages. We think of it as a baseball facility. We get in as many swings as we possibly can.”
The ’18 team led the EIAC with 226 runs scored — 7.5 per game.
Why the 6 a.m. workouts?
“Nobody else is fighting for that time slot,” says Tremain. “The kids have embraced that.”
At a school of about 600 students near the boot heel in the southeast corner of the state in Dearborn County, Tremain has athletes looking to improve and compete.
“We focus on the process and grind of everyday,” says Tremain. “We’re creating a culture of doing all the little things correct.”
Since Tremain has been head coach, the Tigers have had as many as 28 players in the program for varsity and junior varsity squads.
“We keep pretty large JV teams,” says Tremain. “We make sure we play a full JV schedule to get as much work for the guys as we can and develop them.”
Tremain’s 2019 coaching staff features Guy Buddenberg as pitching coach, Mark Fette as head JV coach and Mark Turner as first base coach
Volunteers with the varsity and JV are Ryan Howard, Mark McCool and Jim Kittle.
Lawrenceburg is now an IHSAA Class 3A school, but spent many years in 2A. Tremain’s first season was the Tigers’ first in the larger class. They are in a sectional grouping with Batesville, Franklin County, Greensburg, Madison Consolidated, Rushville and South Dearborn.
Located 25 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, the Tigers can schedule Ohio and Kentucky schools.
“There’s a lot of good baseball in the tri-state area,” says Tremain. “There are good programs that are close. It helps prepare us for the postseason.”
Lawrenceburg plays varsity games on-campus at Pat O’Neill Memorial Field. The junior varsity uses nearby Lawrenceburg Conservancy District Community Athletic Park (The CAP).
Lawrenceburg Babe Ruth, Lawrenceburg Little League and travel teams play a role in developing Lawrence ballplayers. Some travel teams play in the Southwest Ohio League.
“We want to allow opportunities for a lot of kids to play,” says Tremain.
Recent Lawrenceburg graduates to move on the college diamonds include first baseman Kyle Kittle (Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati) and right-handed pitcher Jordan Houze at Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Ky. Shortstop Clay Woeste, right-hander Grant Bradley and outfielder/right-hander Eli Helton all went to Indiana University-Southeast in New Albany.
Tremain played for Mark Knigga at Lawrenceburg High School and Lawrenceburg American Legion Post 239.
The Tigers made it the championship game of the 2A Richmond Semistate in 1998.
Assistants included Joe Vogelgesang (who followed Knigga as LHS head coach) and Jerry Schoen (who was head coach at Hauser).
After one season as JV coach under Terry Turner at Anderson High School, 2003 Indiana University graduate Tremain spent seven seasons as head coach at South Central (Elizabeth).
Vogelgesang pitched in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays systems. Turner has won two state title at Daleville (Ind.) High School.
“I’ve been fortunate,” says Tremain. “I had some pretty good mentors.
“I’ve tried to be a sponge with those guys and pick up as much as I can.”
The multi-sport athlete is the rule rather than the exception at Lawrenceburg.
“We encourage kids to compete in as many ways as they can,” says Tremain, who teaches physical education at both the high school and middle school. “Most of them play at least two sports.
“To win at our level we need to have the best athletes in the school playing multiple sports. We work together as programs.”
The summer brings a school-wide weight regimen.
Nick is the oldest of Jack and Susan Tremain’s three children. His siblings are Nathan and Jessica.
Nick Tremain is entering his seventh season as head baseball coach at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High School in 2019. He is a 1998 Lawrenceburg graduate.