BY STEVE KRAH
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.”