By STEVE KRAH
Terry Turner loves to be around the people who love baseball.
“It’s that camaraderie that I love about the game,” says Turner. “At Daleville, the kids believe what the coaching staff is teaching. They eat it up. They have a passion for the game also.
“I just have fun with the kids.”
In his two springs leading the Broncos, those receptive young athletes have won two IHSAA sectionals (2016 at Daleville and 2017 at Anderson Prep) and the program’s first regional (at Carroll of Flora), semistate (at Plymouth) and state championship in 2016.
Anderson has won seven baseball sectionals — four came on Turner’s watch (1987, 1988, 1992, 2012). His Indians took a regional crown in 1995 with North Central Conference titles in 1999, 2000 and 2004.
After serving as an all-star assistant coach in 2009 when Anderson player Nolan Earley was on the roster, Turner has been named North head coach for the 2017 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series, which will stage its practice, junior showcase at banquet Friday, July 14, two games Saturday, July 15, and one game Sunday, July 16, at Ball State University in Muncie.
Turner will be joined at his alma mater (he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BSU) by Daleville assistant Wally Winans.
“You’re never going to find a better teacher of the game of baseball than that guy,” says Turner. “I turn my infield over to him with one drill after the other. I just get out of his way.”
Fundamentals are the foundation of Turner’s coaching.
Turner and his Daleville assistants, including Winans, Tom Lyday and Terry Scheetz talk constantly to their players about every scenario they can conjure. If a weakness is found in a game, the Broncos will concentrate on that at their next practice.
Daleville, which is a member of the Mid-East Conference (along with Blue River Valley, Cowan, Eastern Hancock, Monroe Central, Randolph Southern, Shenandoah, Union of Modoc, Wapahani and Wes-Del), tests itself by playing mostly larger schools.
While at Anderson, Turner also sent Rod Mills (1987), Jeremy Quire (1993), Jordan Czarniecki (1999), Kurt Minnick (2000), Roy Erle (2001), Mike Earley (2006) and Zach Bucci (2011) to the all-star series.
One big difference between coaching at Anderson and Daleville is the size of the schools. Enrollment for 2016-17 was reported at 281.
As a smaller school, Daleville also shares athletes among its team. Turner says it’s not unusual for a wrestler to come from practice and take a few swings with the bat.
“The challenge is the numbers,” says Turner. “We don’t have as many pitchers as the larger schools would. The pitch count rule (1 to 35 pitches requires 0 days rest; 36 to 60 requires 1 day; 61 to 80 requires 2 days; 81 to 100 requires 3 days; and 101 to 120 requires 4 days) has hurt the small school.”
In 2016, Lanesville’s Brenden Bube tossed 137 pitches in the semistate championship game. That would not have been allowed in 2017.
After college, Turner was a junior high basketball and assistant baseball coach to Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer Basil Mawbey and IHSBCA Hall of Famer Tom Gable at Connersville High School. He remembers a piece of advice early in his days at Anderson, which began in 1986-87.
“I had no pitchers,” says Turner. “(Gable) told me, ‘everybody is a pitcher.’ He would say to his players, ‘you are a pitcher until you prove to me you can’t.’”
Turner had adopted similar approach.
“You can never have too many pitchers,” says Turner. “At the high school level — really, at all levels — it’s all about throwing strikes. If you don’t throw strikes, you’re in trouble.”
Throwing too many outside the zone also tends to have a negative effect on defenders.
“Infielders get back on their heels,” says Turner. “You put runners on and it puts all this pressure on your defense. Now they have to make the play.”
With a limited number of pitches to work with, Turner is not as quick to have his pitchers work around the zone when they get an 0-2 count.
“The pitch count changes the whole way you’re going to coach the game,” says Turner.
When it really comes into play is the sectional when single-elimination games are played in a short period of time and coaches may not have pitchers available for long — or at all — if those hurlers have thrown too many pitches prior to the next game.
“The (National) Federation is trying to protect young kids and their arms and I get that,” says Turner. “We’re all in the same boat. At tournament time, it’s not a fair situation. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Turner is still a teacher at Anderson. Formerly a physical science instructor, he now instructs on health and physical education.
Terry and Debbie Turner have three children — Derrick (32), Christa (27) and Jackie (23). All three were athletes at Pendleton Heights High School.
Terry Turner just completed his second season as head baseball coach at Daleville High School after 29 seasons (25 as head coach) at Anderson High School. He is head coach for the North in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series July 14-16 in Muncie.