Tag Archives: Rex Stills

Enright emphasizes mental approach with Wheeler Bearcats

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Jeff Enright sees baseball as more than just physical. There’s what goes on between the ears, too.
“Baseball is kind of a unique sport,” says Enright, the head coach at Wheeler (Ind.) High School since the summer of 2019. “There’s so much thought that goes into every position and every pitch.
“There’s the mental approach and how to overcome short-term adversity.”
Players will face a bad call by the umpire or have a sure hit robbed by a great catch, but they must move forward or it becomes a negative.
“That’s what I enjoy most about coaching baseball,” says Enright. “You try to put them in healthy stressful situations as much as you can during the off-season.
“You make them uncomfortable and failing and then you build them back up.”
Enright equates mental training with mental health.
“These kids are 14 to 18,” says Enright. “They are still growing emotionally. Their highs are too high and lows too low.”
The coach goes for even-keel.
“We say you’re never as bad or as good as you think you are,” says Enright. “We talk about it all the time.”
For every four practices on the baseball field, the Bearcats are in the class room going over the last few practices or games. Enright likes to do this debriefing on a rainy day.
Wheeling won the program’s sixth sectional title in 2021.
While right-handed pitcher Rex Stills (9-1, 1.37 earned run average, 100 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings) and infielder Sean Conroy have moved on — Stills to Purdue Fort Wayne and Conroy to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif.
Returnees for 2022 include senior outfielder Nehemiah Parrish, senior catcher/outfielder Dylan Passauer, senior corner infielder/right-hander Kole Hutcheson, junior shortstop Kris Kingery, junior right-hander/outifleder Mason Leckrone, sophomore utility man Mark Johnson, sophomore right-hander Lucas McNamara and sophomore third baseman/designated hitter Jackson Smith.
Parrish, who plans to enter the U.S. Marines after graduation, hit .414 with 30 runs batted in and 17 stolen bases in 2021.
Passauer has committed to the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Kingery is expected to be the Bearcats’ lead-off hitter.
Leckrone and Hutcheson are likely the team’s top two starting pitchers.
Johnson (.317, 13 RBI) and Smith (.355, 19 RBI) are coming off solid offensive seasons.
Of the 21 players in the program, most are juniors and sophomores.
“For a (Class) 2A school we’re pretty deep this year,” says Enright.
Wheeler (enrollment around 450) is a member of the Greater South Shore Conference (with baseball members Calumet New Tech, Griffith, Hammond Bishop Noll, Hanover Central, Illiana Christian, Lake Station Edison, River Forest and Whiting).
With the addition of Illiana Christian, the conference is broken into divisions with teams playing two games with their division and one against squads in the other division. Wheeler is paired with Calumet New Tech, Lake Station Edision, River Forest and Whiting.
The Bearcats do not have a conference JV schedule but has scheduled JV games on days when the varsity does not play.
“I want to get the young guys some reps,” says Enright.
Wheeler is part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Bowman Academy, Hammond Bishop Noll, Illiana Christian, Lake Station Edison and Whiting (host).
Enright’s varsity assistant is Joe Kennedy, who was a player for Enright at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. Enright was an assistant for the 2013 Class 4A Illinois state champions.
JV coaches are Union Township Middle School teacher Sean Cunningham and Alex Hutman (Wheeler Class of 2021).
Wheeler is due to get new baseball and softball fields with turf. First up is the turfing of the football field. The diamonds will be located on the other end of the property from their current locations.
“It may not be pure baseball in the traditional sense, but as soon as it stops raining you can play,” says Enright of playing on turf. “In our area of the country it’s tough to get a baseball season in in the spring.”
Wheeler is small incorporated Valparaiso community. The feeder system for the baseball program include Union Township Little League (T-ball through Senior League for middle schoolers).
Enright estimates that around 75 percent of players are with travel organizations, including Triple Crown Valparaiso, 5 Star Great Lakes Chiefs and Cangelosi Sparks (Lockport, Ill.). Some also play American Legion ball for Post 502 Blaze coached by Bob Wineland.
An alum of Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill. (1995), Enright with a double major in History and Political Science from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1999. He went to Chicago-Kent College of Law and practiced product liability law at Schiff Hardin LLC in Chicago.
It was while clerking for a judge during law school that he got the idea that he might one day want to go into education. He teaches History and U.S. Government at Wheeler.
Before landing with the Bearcats, Enright was head coach at Calumet Tech. The 11 years prior to that was spent at Mount Carmel. He moved up from freshmen coach to sophomore coach and varsity assistant while working with Caravan head coach Brian Hurry.
“I learned most about coaching from him,” says Enright of Hurry. “The biggest thing was how to have a personal relationship with each kid to try to maximize their potential.”
A member of the Chicago Catholic League, Mount Carmel players are recruited while in middle school.
“We get to know them in sixth and seventh grade as you’re trying to entice them to come to your school,” says Enright. “You hope you know how they tick.”
During his time at Mount Carmel, the baseball community rallied over a series of tragedies. Complications of a heart defect took Steven “Stevie” M. Bajenski in 2009 (the first Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Baseball Tournament was played in 2012). The Caravan also lost a coach to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and another player passed on July 4.
“It brought everybody closer together,” says Enright. “Everybody was reeling.”
Jeff and wife Kerry have three children in the Union Township School Corporation — junior Emily (16), eighth grader Sarah (14) and sixth grader Jack (11).

Jeff Enright

Indiana Tech taking down No. 1 Southeastern among week’s highlights

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Indiana Tech bested NAIA No. 1 Southeastern (Fla.) 11-8 Thursday, March 10, ending the Fire’s season-opening 26-game college baseball win streak.
The Warriors took a 8-3 lead after four innings and held on for the victory. The contest played in Lakeland, Fla., featured seven home runs, including those by Tech’s Tristan Osika, Ashtin Moxey and Jayden Reed.
Other highlights from around the state for the week of March 7-13 include Taylor right-hander/Mishawaka High School graduate Luke Shivey pitching a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk in nine innings against visiting NAIA foe Huntington March 10.
The Foresters’ lone hit was a one-hit single by Langston Ginder (Fort Wayne Carroll) in the seventh inning. Shively threw 116 pitches in the 6-0 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
NAIA Oakland City beat No. 25 Point Park 8-6 in Game 3 of a series played at the Mighty Oaks’ Pinnick Field.
OCU scored two runs in the seventh inning and held on to top the Pioneers. Alec Pruitt plated four runs for Oakland City.
The Pride of Purdue Northwest (8-1) has roared out to quite a start in 2022. The NAIA club enjoyed 5-0 week, beating Minot State three times and Upper Iowa twice at Dowling Park in Hammond.
Lake Central graduate Ray Hilbrich (.467) as well as Luke Montgomery (.346) are PNW’s top hitters. Joe Sullivan (2-0, 1.04) and Mishawaka alum Sam Shively (2-0, 3.46) are among the leading pitchers.
NAIA Indiana University Kokomo (12-7) finds itself at 6-0 in the River States Conference.
NCAA Division I Purdue (14-0) keeps adding to its best-ever start. With a 2-0 series against Bellarmine, the Boilermakers upped their stolen base mark to 44-of-51. Curtis Washington Jr. (9-of-9) and Mike Bolton Jr. (9-of-12) lead the club.
Left-hander/McCutcheon graduate Jackson Smeltz (4-0, 2.11, 38 K’s, 7 BB, 21 1/3 IP) has been super on the mound for the nation’s last unbeaten D-I team.
Evansville (6-10) swept three games at Top 20-ranked Tulane. Starters Shane Gray, Nick Smith (Boonville) and Shane Harris (North Posey) picked up victories for the Purple Aces.
Notre Dame (11-1) won its first two Atlantic Coast Conference games at No. 17 North Carolina. The Irish carry a 1.71 team earned run average — among the D-I’s best.
Right-hander Sam Klein (Bloomington North) picked up his third and fourth saves of the season as D-I Ball State swept a March 13 Mid-American Conference doubleheader from Eastern Michigan.
Mitchell Spencer, Rex Stills (Wheeler) and Jacob Myer combined to hold Saint Louis to five hits in D-I Purdue Fort Wayne’s 4-1 win in Game 2 of a three-game series on the Billikens’ field.
With two wins against Principia, NCAA Division III Earlham moved to 7-1. Christian Lancianese (.482), Leo graduate Easton Embry (.462), Cameron McCabe (.448) and Andrew Bradley (.429) are the top hitters for the Quakers.
Franklin (8-3) beat Alma four times. Munster alum Logan Demkovich (.568) paces Grizzlies hitters on the season.
Including March 6 games, D-III Wabash (7-2) went 5-2 in Tucson, Ariz. The Little Giants are led offensively by Highland graduate A.J. Reid (.500) and Warsaw alum Liam Patton (.424). Tavic Simmons (Carmel) is 2-0 on the bump.
D-III Trine (5-6) went 4-5 in Florida. Avery Fulford (.400), Jack Kletzly (.400) and Brenden Warner (.364) guide the Thunder in hitting and New Prairie alum Noah Bretin (1-0, 1.50) in pitching.
D-III Manchester scored 30 runs in a doubleheader sweep at Berea. Griffin Garwood (Mt. Vernon of Fortville) and Aidan Stevens (Rensselaer Central) drove in five runs each and and Zach White (Logansport) scored six for the Spartans (2-7).

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through March 13
NCAA D-I
Purdue 14-0 (0-0 Big Ten)
Notre Dame 11-1 (2-0 ACC)
Indiana State 7-6 (0-0 MVC)
Valparaiso 5-6 (0-0 MVC)
Butler 7-7 (0-0 Big East)
Ball State 7-7 (2-0 MAC)
Evansville 6-9 (0-0 MVC)
Indiana 6-9 (0-0 Big Ten)
Purdue Fort Wayne 1-14 (0-0 Horizon)

NCAA D-II
Purdue Northwest 8-1 (0-0 GLIAC)
Southern Indiana 7-5 (0-0 GLVC)
Indianapolis 5-7 (0-0 GLVC)

NCAA D-III
Franklin 8-3 (0-0 HCAC)
Earlham 7-1 (0-0 HCAC)
Wabash 7-2 (0-0 NCAC)
Trine 5-6 (0-0 MIAA)
Anderson 5-7 (0-0 HCAC)
DePauw 4-4 (0-0 NCAC)
Rose-Hulman 3-3 (0-0 HCAC)
Manchester 2-7 (0-0 HCAC)
Hanover 2-7 (0-0 HCAC)

NAIA
Saint Francis 14-6 (4-2 CL)
Taylor 14-8 (4-2 CL)
Oakland City 14-8 (3-3 RSC)
Indiana University-Kokomo 12-7 (6-0 RSC)
Indiana University Southeast 11-7 (3-0 RSC)
Indiana Tech 9-9 (0-0 WHAC)
Grace 9-10 (3-3 CL)
Marian 9-11 (1-5 CL)
Bethel 9-13 (3-3 CL)
Indiana Wesleyan 7-11 (3-3 CL)
Indiana University South Bend 6-10 (0-0 CCAC)
Huntington 5-9 (3-3 CL)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 5-12 (0-0 CCAC)
Goshen 4-12 (1-5 CL)

Junior College
Vincennes 6-9 (0-0 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 4-3 (0-0 NJCAA XII)
Marian’s Ancilla 3-13 (0-0 MCCAA)

Week of March 7-13
NCAA D-I
Tuesday, March 8
North Florida 12, Butler 6
Indiana 7, Cincinnati 0
Notre Dame 11, Elon 3

Wednesday, March 9
Belmont 7, Evansville 4
Indiana 12, Purdue Fort Wayne 2

Thursday, March 10
Wright State 6, Indiana State 3
Purdue 8, Bellarmine 4
Saint Louis 5, Purdue Fort Wayne 2

Friday, March 11
Troy 2, Indiana 1
Indiana State 6, Wright State 2
Notre Dame 8, North Carolina State 4 (12 inn.)

Saturday, March 12
Evansville 5, Tulane 3
Evansville 5, Tulane 1
Southeast Missouri 9, Valparaiso 1
Southeast Missouri 16, Valparaiso 6

Sunday, March 13
Ball State 2, Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State 1
Ball State 6, Eastern Michigan 4
Butler 8, Western Illinois 5
Butler 9, Western Illinois 5
Evansville 15, Tulane 1
Troy 6, Indiana 4
Troy 7, Indiana 4
Wright State 11, Indiana State 10
Notre Dame 11, North Carolina State 4
Purdue 7, Bellarmine 4
Purdue Fort Wayne 4, Saint Louis 1
Saint Louis 5, Purdue Fort Wayne 2
Southeast Missouri 10, Valparaiso 8

NCAA D-II
Tuesday, March 8
Purdue Northwest 15, Minot State 13
Southern Indiana 6, West Florida 1
West Florida 1, Southern Indiana 0

Wednesday, March 9
Purdue Northwest 3, Minot State 2
Purdue Northwest 3, Minot State 1

Sunday, March 13
Lake Erie vs. Indianapolis
Lake Erie vs. Indianapolis
Upper Iowa vs. Purdue Northwest
Upper Iowa vs. Purdue Northwest
Davenport 12, Southern Indiana 4

NCAA D-III
Monday, March 7
Dominican (Ill.) 9, Trine 7
Wabash 7, Wheaton 6

Tuesday, March 8
King’s (Pa.) 12, Trine 1
Wabash 15, Northland 1

Wednesday, March 9
Earlham 21, Principia 4
Earlham 10, Principia 0
Spalding 9, Hanover 1
Trine 16, Vassar 6

Thursday, March 10
Wilmington 11, Franklin 4
Trine 7, Fontbonne 5
Wabash 3, Bemidji State 2

Friday, March 11
Westfield State 10, Anderson 5
Anderson 12, Westfield State 0
Franklin 6, Alma 2
Franklin 15, Alma 7
Manchester 16, Berea 5
Manchester vs. Berea
Trine 3, Mt. St. Joseph 2
Mt. St. Joseph 15, Trine 1
Wabash 12, Bethany Lutheran 4
Buena Vista 11, Wabash 5

Sunday, March 13
Amherst 13, Anderson 0
Farmingdale State 10, Anderson 0
DePauw vs. Hanover
DePauw vs. Hanover
Franklin 11, Alma 9
Franklin 12, Alma 2

NAIA
Monday, March 7
Grand View 12, Calumet of St. Joseph 5
Siena Heights 9, Calumet of St. Joseph 7
Southeastern 13, Indiana Tech 7
IU Kokomo 6, Georgetown (Ky.) 5

Tuesday, March 8
St. Thomas (Fla). 17, Indiana Tech 2
St. Thomas (Fla.) 7, Indiana Tech 1
Madonna 5, IU Kokomo 4
Northwestern (Iowa) 16, IU South Bend 3
Lindsey Wilson 10, Oakland City 7
Taylor 9, Defiance 2

Wednesday, March 9
Thomas (Ga.) 8, IU South Bend 7 (10 inn.)

Thursday, March 10
Bethel 11, Indiana Wesleyan 0
Bethel 7, Indiana Wesleyan 3
Concordia (Neb.) 10, Calumet of St. Joseph 5
Calumet of St. Joseph 5, Siena Heights 2
Spring Arbor 6, Grace 4
Spring Arbor 4, Grace 2
Saint Francis 12, Goshen 6
Saint Francis 8, Goshen 0
Taylor 6, Huntington 0
Huntington 8, Taylor 7
Indiana Tech 9, Northwestern (Iowa) 2
Indiana Tech 11, Southeastern 8
IU Kokomo 12, Rio Grande 1
IU Southeast 3, Brescia 2
IU Southeast 12, Brescia 3
Mt Vernon Nazarene 6, Marian 2
Mt Vernon Nazarene 7, Marian 1
Point Park 6, Oakland City 4
Point Park 1, Oakland City 0

Friday, March 11
Lawrence Tech 11, Calumet of St. Joseph 5
Warner 14, Calumet of St. Joseph 1
IU Kokomo 12, Rio Grande 8
IU Kokomo 7, Rio Grande 1
IU Southeast 15, Brescia 2
Oakland City 8, Point Park 6

Saturday, March 12
Lawrence Tech 8, Calumet of St. Joseph 2
Indiana Tech 8, Thomas (Ga.) 4

Sunday, March 13
Indiana Tech 5, Thomas (Ga.) 2

Junior College
Tuesday, March 8
Ivy Tech Northeast 9, Anderson JV 8
Marian’s Ancilla 4, Hibbing 3

Wednesday, March 9
Hagerstown 10, Marian’s Ancilla 0
Vincennes 4, Volunteer State 1

Thursday, March 10
Kellogg 7, Ivy Tech Northeast 5

IHSBCA selects 2021 North/South All-Stars

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

The same week the IHSAA crowns four state champions in Indianapolis, the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association will conduct its North/South All-Star Series in Evansville.
State Finals are Monday and Tuesday, June 21-22 at Victory Field with the games to be set after semistates.
The IHSBCA will hold its all-star game festivities Friday through Sunday, June 25-27 at the University of Evansville and historic Bosse Field.
Practice is at U of E’s German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium (North workout at 3:15 p.m. Central Time, South workout at 5 Central) followed by the all-star banquet at Crescent Center at Milestones at 7 Central.
A noon doubleheader is slated for Saturday at Braun Stadium with a wood-bat single game on Sunday at Bosse Field at 11 a.m. Central. Holiday Inn Express East, 220 Kirkwood Drive, is the team hotel.
The North leads 68-63 in the all-time series.
Indiana all-stars are seniors nominated by IHSBCA members and selected by a committee.
In addition, the IHSBCA Futures Game (non-seniors) is to be staged in Evansville Wednesday, June 28.

IHSBCA NORTH/SOUTH ALL-STAR SERIES
2021 Rosters
North
Pitchers
Rex Stills (Wheeler)
Coley Stevens (Leo)
Bryce Schaum (Munster)
x-Grant Comstock (Valparaiso)
Logan Nickel (Westfield)
x-Kyle Tupper (South Bend St. Joseph)
x-Garrett Harker (Lebanon)
x-Carter Doorn (Lake Central)
Khal Stephen (Seeger)
Catchers
Karson Kennedy (Harrison of West Lafayette)
Jaden Deel (Hobart)
x-Jacob Loftus (Peru)
First Basemen
Matt Dobuck (Plymouth)
Alex Farr (Southwood)
Second Basemen
x-Kameron Salazar (Wawasee)
Riley Western (Western)
Shortstops
A.J. Bordenet (Lafayette Central Catholic)
Gavin Noble (Wapahani)
Third Basemen
Rocco Hanes (Norwell)
Aric Ehmke (DeKalb)
Outfielders
Sergio Lira Ayala (NorthWood)
x-Carter Mathison (Homestead)
x-Caleb Koeppen (Lafayette Jeff)
Jared Comia (Hanover Central)
Flex
Cal Curiel (Crown Point)
Head Coach
Tim Bordenet (Lafayette Central Catholic head coach)
Assistants
Steve Strayer (Crown Point head coach)
Nick Byall (Homestead head coach)
Shawn Harkness (Homestead assistant)
South
Pitchers
Cal Shepherd (Lawrence North)
x-Luke Hayden (Edgewood)
x-Chris Gallagher (Indianapolis Cathedral)
Drue Young (Center Grove)
x-Luke Leverton (Seton Catholic)
Nate Dohm (Zionsville)
x-Kyler McIntosh (Columbus North)
x-Holden Groher (Silver Creek)
Brady Linkel (South Ripley)
Catchers
Evan Waggoner (Bedford North Lawrence)
x-Hunter Dobbins (Mt. Vernon of Fortville)
Pierson Barnes (Riverton Parke)
First Basemen
C.J. Richmond (Park Tudor)
Parker Allman (Lapel)
Middle Infielders
x-Henry Brown (Evansville Central)
Nick Mitchell (Carmel)
x-Colson Montgomery (Southridge)
Andrew Oesterling (Oldenburg Academy)
Camden Gasser (Southridge)
Third Basemen
Jack Moroknek (Brebeuf Jesuit)
Nick Sutherlin (Greencastle)
Outfielders
Blake Herrmann (Castle)
Reid Cleary (East Central)
Ty Rumsey (Evansville North)
Parker Harrison (Columbus East)
Flex
Eli Watson (Providence)
Head Coach
Chris McIntyre (New Albany head coach)
Assistants
Ben McDaniel (Columbus North head coach)
Paul Quinzer (Mount Vernon of Posey head coach)
Chris Schaefer (Evansville Memorial assistant)
x-Denotes District Players of the Year.