Keith Nunley returns to a high school head coaching post with his hiring last summer at Guerin Catholic in Noblesville, Ind. “I got a call from (Eagles director of athletics Ryan Davis),” says Nunley. “We went to breakfast. Right from the beginning I could tell he was a baseball guy. “We want to build a championship culture and do it the right way.” Guerin Catholic (enrollment around 720) is a member of the Circle City Conference (with Brebeuf Jesuit, Covenant Christian, Heritage Christian, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard and Roncalli). “We’re a really good conference,” says Nunley. “Every team has a superstar on their mound or in their lineup. “I’m looking forward to getting in the mix of it.” In 2022, CCC teams will play Tuesday-Wednesday home-and-home series. In 2021, the Eagles were part of an IHSAA Class 3A sectional grouping with Delta, Hamilton Heights, Jay County, New Castle and Yorktown. Guerin Catholic is seeking its first sectional title. Nunley, who previously was head coach from 2016-20 at Monroe Central Junior-Senior High School in Parker City, Ind., was an assistant to Bulldogs head coach Matt Campbell this past season at Lapel (Ind.) Junior-Senior High School. He coached in the Indiana Bulls travel organization the past two summers and in fall ball. While in Randolph County, Nunley and best friend and former Ball State University teammate Matt Deckman (who is now Monroe Central head coach) ran the traveling Indiana Bears. Bryce Deckman, Matt’s son, is a freshman on the Huntington (Ind.) University baseball team. An IHSAA Limited Contact Period went from Aug. 30-Oct. 16 and Nunley had 12 to 20 athletes participating two times a week while many other players were unavailable because of fall sports. “It’s always good to have multi-sport athletes,” says Nunley. “They’re competing in other avenues working with other coaches. It’s a team of coaches – not just one guy. “(Multi-sporters) are in the weight room or another sport and doing something with their bodies and not just sitting,” said Nunley. The next limited contact period begins Dec. 6 and the ramping up of pitching arms will begin in earnest. Matt Hession is dedicated to the job of tending the Eagles’ home diamond. “Matt has done a fantastic job taking care of the field,” says Nunley. The on-campus facility was recently laser-graded through the efforts of Hession and Blake Marschand of Marschand’s Athletic Field Services. Nunley’s Guerin Catholic 2021-22 coaching staff includes John Becker, Cade Luker, John Magers, Lewis Diltz and volunteers Kolbe Smith and Justin Bloxom. Becker played and coached at Anderson (Ind.) University and also coached for the Indiana Bulls. Luker (who will lead the junior varsity team) and Magers (who will help with pitchers and float between varsity and JV squads) are Lapel graduates who played at Manchester University. Diltz was on the staff in 2021 and will help with the JV as weill Guerin Catholic alum Smith. Bloxom played at Kansas State University and played and scouted in the Washington Nationals organization.
Nunley, a Winchester Community High School graduate, is a territory owner and sales representative for Adrenaline Fundraising, a company which also employs Deckman and Brebeuf Jesuit head coach Jeff Scott. Keith and wife Kate, an Exceptional Learners teacher at Fishers (Ind.) High School, have two baseball-playing sons – Guerin Catholic freshman A.J. and middle schooler Koby.
Kyle Callahan’s future is pointed toward a career in health care.
His father (Mike Callahan) and uncle (Jim Callahan) are doctors. He has cousins who are doctors and dentists.
“That’s what I grew up with,” says Callahan, a Biochemistry major at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., where he has been on the Tiger Pride Honor Roll for his first four semesters and is a member of the Future Medical Professionals club with his sights set on medical, dental or optometry school.
But that’s not all.
Callahan is a baseball player.
During the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, he hit .324 (11-of-34) with two home runs, 18 runs batted in and 10 runs scored in eight games. He started all eight as the Tigers’ designated hitter, batting in the No. 3 hole. After four losses to open the campaign, NCAA Division III DePauw ended with a four-game winning streak.
After sweeping Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders at Manchester University, players were told they could not shake hands with the opposition.
“We were told, ‘you’re not going to do this today.’ We had heard talks about the virus. We knew something was up.”
The team practiced for a few days and then found out the rest of the season was canceled.
“It was definitely a tough pill to swallow,” says Callahan. “Especially for the seniors. They played their last game as a DePauw Tiger.”
Callahan has played two years in the Black and Gold.
In his freshman campaign of 2019, he hit .296 (34-of-115) with four homers and 24 RBIs while scoring 41 runs and learning lessons from Tigers head coach Blake Allen.
“He came from Vanderbilt,” says Callahan of the DePauw graduate who served two stints on the Nashville-based NCAA Division I powerhouse (2004-08, 2015-16). “He definitely knows what he’s talking about.
“He teaches us how be a good player and how to behave off the field. He stresses how important that is after college to be a good person. We have meetings where we talk about that.”
The Tigers also talk about being a good teammate, competitive and displaying mental toughness.
“You’ve got to be mentally tough to play baseball,” says Callahan. “Seven out of 10 times you’re going to fail. You have to focus on your positives.
“You may have one tough day. But there’s always tomorrow. There always’s more AB’s.”
Callahan had a memorable at-bat Tuesday, June 23.
Making a transition from outfield to first base, he’s been playing that position this summer for the Mark Walther-coached Marksmen in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
In the first game of a doubleheader against the Woodchucks, righty-swinger Callahan faced DePauw teammate E.J. White and socked a homer that TrackMan Baseball data says traveled 416.96 feet (the CBL’s longest hit in Week 2).
“It went right down the left field line,” says Callahan. “I pulled it. It kind of hooked around the pole.
“I was afraid the umpire was going to wave the ball foul.”
It’s not a long commute to Grand Park. Callahan is from Zionsvillle, Ind., in nearby Boone County.
A 2018 graduate of Zionsville Community High School, Callahan was on junior varsity as a freshmen and a roster player when the Eagles were IHSAA Class 4A state runners-up in 2016. He started in the outfield in 2017 and 2018 for head coach Jered Moore.
“He was always a great coach,” says Callahan of Moore. “Coming in as a freshmen, I was intimidated by him. Our relationship evolved and he became a friend. He supported us on the field and taught us how to behave off the field.
“He was a great role model and mentor throughout high school.”
Callahan was born in Indianapolis. His father, who now works at St. Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, did a three-year fellowship in Boston and the family landed back in Zionsville when Kyle was 7.
These days, Wade’s son Kyle plays at Purdue University. Former Bulls executive director Held is on the Indiana University coaching staff. Honaker (Martinsville), Drosche (Avon) and Campbell (Lapel) are high school head coaches.
Honaker, Callahan’s 15U Bulls coach, went from Zionsville High assistant to the Artesians and has continued to work with Callahan on his hitting in the summer.
“He’s been an awesome part of my baseball career,” says Callahan.
Last summer when a chance to play for the Chillicothe (Ohio) Paints in the Prospect League fell through, Callahan worked out with long-time friend Nick Nelson. They’ve known each other since middle school and were high school teammates and share the field at DePauw. Nelson was the Tigers’ starting center fielder in 2020.
“He’s short stocky guy,” says Callahan of Nelson. “He’s pretty jacked. He wants to do something in the health field as well, maybe Kinesiology or Physical Therapy school.”
Callahan has to balance the diamond and academics in college.
“It’s tough,” says Callahan. “There’s some hard moments when you feel swamped.
“The important thing is to manage your time wisely. You should really try to stay on top of your work so it doesn’t snowball on you all at once.
“We have great resources at DePauw with teacher assistants and tutoring hours — usually nightly.”
The Tiger Honor Roll was established by director of athletics and recreational sports Stevie Baker-Watson to recognize the top student-athletes. To get on the list, they must have semester grade-point average of 3.40 or higher.
As a D-III program, the Tigers work with coaches in the fall and then — about the end of September — coaches are not allowed to instruct players.
“We have senior- or upperclassmen-led practices,” says Callahan. “It’s important. It weeds out the guys who aren’t fully committed to making baseball a priority.
“It’s definitely a bonding experience.”
When Callahan has rare free time he sometimes works in St. Vincent’s operating rooms as a Patient Care Technician (PCT). He cleans up after a case and gets it ready for the next.
“It’s immersed me into the hospital setting,” says Callahan. “I’ve only worked one day since COVID started and there were no cases when I was there.”
He’s glad he lives near a testing site because the exam is slated for 6:30 a.m.
Mike and Mollie Callahan (a former Westfield Elementary teacher) have three children. Kyle (20) has a twin sister named Grace, who is studying Journalism at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Christian (10) is baseball and basketball player heading into fourth grade.
“You play the kids who are up for the challenge,” says Douglas. “If you can play, I don’t care if you’re a sophomore or a freshman.”
Frankton is a small town in Madison County and the school has around 480 students.
Douglas tells his players that they are making lifetime of memories during their school days.
“I’m a firm believer in the kids being good citizens and good students,” says Douglas. “I want them to be extremely involved with the community, have school spirit and support everyone. They should appreciate the four years and make the best of it.”
This high-knit community lost a baseball coach and teacher the day after Christmas 2017 when Chris Hatzell died unexpectedly at 44. The 1992 Frankton graduate was an eighth grade social studies teacher and tended the first base box for the Eagles.
“He was a great guy and a great dad,” says Douglas, who was a a high school teammate of Hatzell’s for two years. “You learn a lot about people after they’re gone. Students were very touched by the loss of Coach Hatzell.”
Douglas works as a union representative for Rolls Royce in Indianapolis and Hatzell was his “eyes and ears” at the school and did many things behind the scenes. On the diamond, he would throw batting practice or swing the fungo bat for hours.
“We reflected each other well,” says Douglas, who recalls Hatzell coaching a 12-year-old Frankton team to a Town & Country Baseball state championship.
To honor Hatzell, there will be a patch on Frankton jerseys this spring. There are also plans for a memorial marker near the dugout on the Eagles’ home field.
That field, located on the Frankton Elementary School grounds, has an infield that’s been re-graded and re-sodded with an irrigation system installed. The mound and home plate areas have been re-built. There is also new on-field storage in the home dugout, new concrete and safety hand rails in each dugout and concrete tee stations in the batting cage.
Since Douglas took over the program, he has gotten the Eagles schedule back up to the 28-game regular-season limit and includes plenty of quality.
“When you have Shenandoah, Wapahani, Tipton and Yorktown in addition to our CIC schedule (each team meets the other once on Tuesdays and Thursdays), you’re in for some good baseball,” says Douglas.
The Eagles are in an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Lapel, Monroe Central, Muncie Burris, Shenandoah and Wapahani.
“We play in one of the toughest sectionals in the state,” says Douglas. “It’s competitive regardless of the names of the players. You’ve got coaches like Brian Dudley at Wapahani, Matt Campbell at Lapel, Bruce Stanley at Shenandoah and Keith Nunley at Monroe Central.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us. But it’s a good challenge that we embrace.”
The Eagles’ last two sectional titles came in 2003 and 2016. They were also regional champions in ’03.
Returnees for Frankton in 2018 include to college baseball-committed seniors in right-handed pitcher/shortstop Landon Weins (Morehead State University) and right-hander/infielder Evan Doan (Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo.) plus others from the Class of ’18 in right-hander/center fielder Travis McGuire, outfielder Will Harris, utility Brock Threet and Noah Van Slyke.
“We have nine seniors returning,” says Douglas. “That’s unheard of for a small school.”
There’s also junior right-hander/third baseman J.J. Hatzell and sophomore left-hander/outfielder Ethan Bates.
Frankton’s 2018 assistant coaches are Rick Dellinger, Tim Friend and Mark Caldwell.
Prior to taking over the program at his alma mater, Douglas was coaching in youth and travel baseball. He continues to coach son Bradyn Douglas (a seventh grader) with Tony Cookerly and the 13U White Indiana Bulls.
“I’m a huge proponent of travel baseball,” says Douglas, who has had Frankton players also play for the Indiana Prospects, Indiana Mustangs, USAtheltic and others. “I use a lot of things that (executive director) Dan Held preaches throughout the Bulls organization.”
Frankton’s high school program is also fed by Red and White seventh and eighth grade club teams.
Brad and Tricia Douglas also have a daughter. Sydney Douglas is a Frankton junior.
Frankton baseball coach Brad Douglas (left) celebrates with Jake Richwine in 2017. The 2018 season will make the fifth as Eagles head baseball coach for 1994 Frankton graduate Douglas.
“I pitched how I would benefit the team most,” says Lozer. “They put me in late-inning, high-leverage situations.”
In four seasons with the Wolverines, Lozer made 100 mound appearances (all in relief) and went 4-1 with three saves and a 2.22 earned run average. In 77 innings, he produced 94 strikeouts and 44 walks.
Lozer was pitching in the summer for the Indiana Bulls when he was approached by Michigan assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Nick Schnabel about coming to Ann Arbor.
“It was a perfect fit academically, athletically and socially,” says Lozer, 22. “To this day, it’s one of the best decisions of my life.”
At Michigan, he played for head coach Erik Bakich. A nutritionist and trainer before becoming a coach, the former head coach at the University of Maryland, assistant at Vanderbilt University and Clemson University and player at East Carolina University after San Jose City College attends to more than just what happens between the white lines.
“He’s an amazing guy and an amazing coach,” says Lozer of the man who runs the Maize and Blue program. “He’s a life coach. He is concerned with the full human being. He develops you in leadership skills and makes you a better future father and current brother and son. He has a perfect formula for coaching a baseball player.
“I’m glad I stayed one more year and had another year with Coach Bakich.”
Lozer says the nutrition component at Michigan offers a “killer foundation.”
Whether a player is looking to gain, lose or maintain weight, needs to know how much water to drink or what supplements to take, there is a program in place to help players maximize their bodies.
“It’s not rocket science, but a lot of hard work,” says Lozer.
Michigan did mental strength training nearly everyday and Lozer focused on concepts like awareness, confidence and releasing negative energy. In the off-season, the Wolverines attended leadership sessions twice a week.
“Mental toughness is a learned trait,” says Lozer. “It’s not inherited.
“You have to be mentally tough in the real world. It’s truly a life skill.”
As a college reliever, Lozer needed to be prepared to pitch three or four times a week as compared to a starter who pitches once a week.
“As a reliever, you can have a bad outing one day and redeem yourself the next day and get it off your mind,” says Lozer. “It’s all about mental preparation. You want to be in that moment and not hesitant.
“It’s a synergy of mental and physical preparation. You close your eyes and take mental reps. I do a lot more mental reps than I do pitches. I make sure my confidence is at its highest point before I go in.”
Lozer credits former Michigan pitching coach Sean Kenny (now at the University of Georgia) for making him into an effective pitcher, teaching him the attack mindset while helping him develop his four-seam fastball (which has two-seam action), slider and change-up (which became game-ready in 2017).
“He’s going to do great things at Georgia,” says Lozer of Kenny. “I thank him for everything he did at Michigan.”
Staying at Michigan for four years also helped Lozer complete his degree in sociology with a sales certificate.
Lozer played baseball from age 7 to 11 at First Baptist Athletic Association. From 12U to 14U, he was with the Indiana Prospects. Coaches included his father Jeff Lozer plus Mike Nash and Andy Upchurch.
At 14U and 15U, Mac was with North Central Panther Summer Select. That team was coached by North Central High School head coach Phil McIntyre.
Lozer appreciates how McIntyre allowed him to play multiple positions during his high school career. Mac was a center fielder, first baseman, shortstop and catcher as well as a pitcher at NCHS.
“The best thing about (the Bulls) is they are not going for trophies,” says Lozer. “They are developing players to match their potential.”
Mac is the son of attorney and former Davidson College baseball player Jeff Lozer and Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis professor Staci Lozer.
“She takes care of all the boys in the house,” says Mac of his mother.
One younger brother, Alan Lozer, is studying investment banking at Miami University after playing baseball at DePauw University. Youngest brother Scott Lozer is a North Central freshman and Indiana Nitro player.
Mac Lozer, a graduate of North Central High School in Indianapolis and the University of Michigan, is a pitcher in the New York Mets organization. (Kingsport Mets Photo)
“There are definitely challenges,” says Matt Campbell, who enters his second season as Lapel’s head baseball coach in 2018. “It’s not in the size or the athletes that come out of it. Location is a very interesting factor. There are not a lot a lot of schools in close proximity of the same size. We end up playing a lot bigger schools.
“It’s fun to go up against them and have success on different levels every night. I just want to play good baseball schools and play them well.”
In 2017, Lapel hosted a sectional with Frankton, Monroe Central, Muncie Burris, Shenandoah and Wapahani. The Bulldogs won sectionals in 1976, 1983, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2013 and 2015. Lapel’s lone regional title came in 2006.
Lapel is also an independent, having left the Indiana Crossroads Conference in 2014-15.
Where the disadvantage comes in is with scheduling. Lapel is often the first team to get dropped when conference teams need to make up games.
“In high school sports, there’s nothing better than having rivalries,” says Campbell. “It’s always better to be playing for something. That’s the same way it is with all sports at Lapel.
“He was a great guy,” says Campbell of Hatzell, the Eagles’ first base coach. “He will be missed.”
Campbell enters his second season as Lapel head baseball coach in 2018. He is the eighth man to lead the program in 11 years. The Class of 2017 had four different coaches in four years.
The baseball field at Lapel went in with the new school building a decade ago, but improvement or maintenance projects have slowed with the coaching turnover. Campbell did participate in a recent irrigation upgrade.
“He is the epitome of baseball,” says Campbell of Stoudt. “I talk to him weekly if not more. I can’t get enough of him. There’s a reason he was so successful. He just loves being around the game. When I got this job, I think he was as excited about the game as I was. I gave him one more connection to the game.”
Stoudt was a regular spectator in 2017 at Lapel games.
“He has a ton of wisdom to give,” says Campbell of Seitz. “One of those things was — don’t stray, keep to the path. He saw the end in sight that we — as 17- and 18-year-olds — didn’t see.
“That’s something that’s stuck with me for a long time. Especially at this time of year. The season seems so far off. Pitchers and catchers meet at 6 a.m. After school, we finally get access to the gym (after winter sports teams). There’s the time in the weight room. But to us coaches, it seems like it’s just around the corner.
“It’s the dawning of a New Year.”
Campbell has also been coaching with the Indiana Bulls organization since 2006. He began as an assistant to Larry Fowler and took over the 18U squad in 2009 and a few years later joined the board of directors.
Fowler is now an assistant to Campbell at Lapel. His other assistants for 2018 include Ryan Scott, Jim Cook, Cameron Mendel, Hunter Cook, Sam Wides and Cade Luker. Scott, Mendel and Luker are all Lapel graduate. Jim Cook coached at Pendleton Heights and his son, Hunter Cook, played there.
Lapel is currently represented in college baseball by Brady Cherry (Ohio State University) and Jaxon Shirley (Weatherford College in Texas).
Left-hander Devon Frank (Lapel Class of 2018) has verbally committed to Anderson U. Other Bulldogs are considering college options.
Campbell graduated from Indiana University (where he did not play baseball), taught 10 years in Pendleton schools and is now teaching seventh grade at Lapel Middle School. Matt and Christene Campbell have two children — Easton (4) and Teaghan (3 months).
Matt Campbell, a Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate, is heading into his second season as head baseball coach at Lapel High School in Madison County in 2018. (Brian Gill Photo)