By STEVE KRAH
Defense is a priority for head coach Bob Todd and his Wes-Del Middle/High School baseball team.
Entering his second season in 2019, Todd is emphasizing defensive communication and execution at the school in Gaston, Ind., northwest of Muncie.
“If you’re defense is bad, it’s hard to win even if you do hit,” says Todd. “We try to limit the free 90’s and win that battle every game.
“That gives us a chance to at least be in the game.”
During this IHSAA limited contact period, Todd’s Warriors have been in the small middle school gym on Wednesday or Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.
“We usually have stations for defensive reps or conditioning for an hour then do hitting and flat-mound bullpens for an hour,” says Todd. “We keep them working. Everybody is doing something. We don’t want anybody standing around. We’re getting a lot of things accomplished and getting better at all times.”
Todd counts himself as a proponent of the arm care program discussed by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association and Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
In the future, Wes-Del baseball may benefit from a new auxiliary gym in the works at the Delaware County school.
Wes-Del (enrollment around 280) is in the Mid-Eastern Conference (with Blue River Valley, Cowan, Daleville, Eastern Hancock, Monroe Central, Randolph Southern, Shenandoah, Union-Modoc and Wapahani).
MEC teams play each other once at various times during the spring to determine a conference champion.
Todd says it has been announced that beginning in 2021 conference games will be played every Tuesday and Thursday with schedules being laid out around those days.
Non-conference opponents include Alexandria-Monroe, Anderson Preparatory Academy, Blackford, Delta, Eastbrook, Elwood, Frankton, Liberty Christian, Madison-Grant, Muncie Burris, Seton Catholic, Southern Wells, Union City and Yorktown. The Delaware County tournament is slated for May 7 and May 11.
The home field is located behind the school on North Yorktown-Gaston Pike (North 600 West).
The Warriors are in an IHSAA Class 1A grouping with Anderson Prep, Cowan, Daleville, Liberty Christian, Southern Wells and Tri-Central. Wes-Del last won a sectional title in 2011.
Todd is assisted by Ken Zvokel (varsity) and Zach Tanner (JV) with occasional help from other volunteers. Mary Helen Bink has been a scorekeeper for Wes-Del for more than three decades.
A year ago, Wes-Del had 20 players in the program. Nine of those have graduated and two others are not expected back. Based on call-out meetings, Todd says he may have as many as 24 this spring.
The first official day of practice is March 11. Spring break for Wes-Del Community Schools is March 22-29. The baseball team is slated for open its season April 2 and have six games scheduled in the first eight days.
“Players have 10 practice to get before spring break,” says Todd, referring to the IHSAA rule for participation. “It’s imperative that they come to all practices.”
Wes-Del Youth Athletic Association provides baseball and softball for T-ball through age 12.
To provide baseball opportunities for middle schoolers, a team has been organized for Wes-Del boys that plays in the spring and summer.
Others Wes-Del athletes participate in the summer in the East Central Indiana League and in travel baseball.
Bob and Felicia Todd have two children — McKenzie (20) and Zack (15). Zack Todd is a freshman baseball player at Wes-Del and plays with the Indiana Nitro during the travel ball season.
Bob Todd is a 1996 graduate of Muncie South Side High School, where he played freshmen baseball when Larry Lewis was head coach.
Before taking the job at Wes-Del, Todd had coached in area travel ball organizations, including the Indiana Mojo.
Todd is employed as a general manager for American Pest Professionals, which has offices in Muncie and Marion.
The Todd family (from left): Felicia, Zack, Bob and McKenzie. Bob Todd is head baseball coach at Wes-Del High Sch