By STEVE KRAH
Pat Antone may be young.
But he goes into his first season as a high school baseball head coach having learned a great deal from a pair of Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famers.
Antone, who turns 27 in November, is now in charge at Boone Grove High School in Valparaiso.
Andrean’s Dave Pishkur was the corner infielder’s coach his first two prep seasons as a player. Chesteron’s Jack Campbell provided his wisdom in Antone’s final two high school campaigns. Antone graduated from CHS in 2009.
“I had a really good experience at both places,” says Antone. “I built real good relationships with coaches, teachers and my friends that I still have today.”
Anxious to get his coaching career started, he became an assistant at Valparaiso High School while doing his student teaching in the spring of 2014.
The 2015 season was spent as an assistant for Campbell’s Trojans and 2016 and 2017 for Pishkur’s 59ers. This summer, he was an assistant for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League.
“I’m very, very glad I made the decision I did,” says Antone. “If I didn’t there’s no way I’d be as far along as I am right now.
“I’m at a very good advantage to have played and coached with (Campbell and Pishkur). Dave has learned as he’s gone on. I learned from him to never be satisfied. I try to always improve myself as a coach.”
Antone has done that by accessing Pishkur’s library of baseball books and DVDs and traveling with him to clinics.
“I like talking with other coaches, seeing what they do and picking up anything you can incorporate into my program to make it a little bit better,” says Antone whose Boone Grove staff so far includes Chesterton classmate and teammate Jack Wilson, 2014 Boone Grove graduate Jake Gholsten and Bryan Hill (who was an assistant to Rollie Thill who resigned after 14 seasons, six sectional, two regional and six Porter County Conference round robin and tournament titles with more than 300 wins).
Antone hopes to pick up another assistant or two to lead a program expect to have 30 or more players on varsity and junior varsity squads in the spring of 2018.
“In order to be successful you need to surround yourself with good assistants,” says Antone. “You coach them about the vision for the program and let them know what their responsibilities.”
This fall, Antone is leading Boone Grove seventh and eighth graders in a PCC schedule. He has also gotten a chance to meet some high schoolers and looks forward to working more with them soon.
Antone looks for his team to “be grinders and play the game one pitch at a time.”
He expects to have a good mix of veterans and newcomers. There are some freshmen who could contribute at the varsity level.
Classes began Monday, Aug. 14 at BG, where Antone is an alternative school teacher. He taught the last two years at Andrean after three years at St. Patrick’s School in Chesterton, where he went from pre-school through eighth grade.
Antone played Little league baseball at Liberty Rec in Chesterton then travel ball with the Duneland Flyers as a junior high schooler and Indiana Breakers while in high school.
Pat Antone, a graduate of Chesterton High School and Valparaiso University, is the new head baseball coach at Boone Grove High School.