BY STEVE KRAH
It happened on Sunday afternoon.
A nice crowd was at Madison Consolidated High School’s Gary O’Neal Field to watch the last game of the 2019 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series.
The day before (June 22), the North and the South split a doubleheader with the South winning 7-3 in Game 1 and the North 16-3 in Game 2.
The third game was played with wood bats and players and coaches wearing their high school uniforms (the North won 8-4).
In the fifth inning, Cooper Terry beats out a single to shortstop and a few moments later finds himself at third base before scoring the third of the South’s four runs that day. The coach in the box is his father, Tim Terry.
“What a special moment in this all-star game,” says Tim. “What a good memory for me and my son Cooper.”
Many of the memories in the Terry family revolve around baseball.
Tim and Kim Terry’s four sons — T.J., Canton, Cooper and Easton — grew up with the game and on the practice field at South Vermillion High School, where Tim has been head coach since the 1982 season.
T.J. was an IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series alternate in 2015 when the games were played at Indiana State University in Terre Haute and South Vermillion’s Tim Terry and Jim Brown was part of the South coaching staff and Wildcat middle infielder Jordan Branz was a player.
Catcher Canton played in the all-star series in 2017 at Ball State University in Muncie. Cooper was used as as shortstop, pitcher, designated hitter and pinch-runner in Madison.
“I have former players come back and remember the times (the Terry boys) were little and wanting to get involved in our practice drills,” says Tim. “They spent many hours watching and being a part of many high school baseball teams.
“It is amazing what they pick up. When Cooper was about 10 years old, he was playing first base in a Little League baseball game. A ground ball was hit. He fielded it then raced to first base. I could see a major collision about to happen with him and the base runner.
“But, at the last moment, he slid feet-first to beat the base runner to the bag to get him out. On the way home, I asked him how he knew what to do in that situation. He told me he had seen us working on that situation at practice.
“That was one of the first times I realized how much they were learning just being at our practice.”
The baseball discussion between father and son often carries over from the field to home.
“I might bring somebody up and say I should’ve done this or he’ll give me pointers,” says Cooper. “He’s always trying to make me the best I can be. If I’m no doing so good, he’ll stay after practice throw me some balls.
“Watching (T.J. and Canton), I saw what it took to be a great high school baseball player.”
While in elementary, the Terry boys went to morning hitting practice with the high schoolers and then be taken to school by one of the assistant coaches.
“It’s been something my whole life — looking forward to getting to high school,” says Cooper. “It’s great.”
Cooper enjoyed the all-star experience — from the practices to the games to the time spent around Madison and at Hanover (Ind.) College, where teams were housed and the banquet was held.
“There’s a lot of great players in this state,” says Cooper. “There’s a lot of similarities between us. We all enjoy the game. It’s just been fun hanging out with guys and getting to play baseball all weekend.”
There’s plenty more baseball on the summer slate for Cooper, who play for Clinton Post 140 on weekdays and for a summer collegiate team with Wabash players called the Tomahawks on weekends.
T.J. was a pitcher and outfielder. At the plate, was an inside-out swing that took balls to right field as a right-handed hitter. He bunted for hits. He took the mound often as a sophomore, especially during the American Legion season with Clinton Post 140.
After he tore the right-side labrum, T.J. was used mostly in right field. He played through the pain the rest of his high school career, but was unable to play at Franklin College. He came back to Clinton, Ind., started attending Ivy Tech and coaching baseball with his father.
“It’s been an honor,” says T.J. of taking part in the all-star series. “You get around these guys who are going to bigger and better things in college and you see the talent out there. And good character, too. They’re all good kids. We haven’t had a problem all weekend. It’s been stress-free.
“Sometimes with coaching, you’re stuck babysitting. Not with these guys. You’re hear to coach and win.”
At South Vermillion, T.J. helps his father by making sure things are ready to go and gives him a report on how the players’ arms are feeling on a given day. He keeps track of pitch count.
“I’m always pretty honest with the kids,” says T.J., who expects the same in-return. “Tell me everything. Even if you’ve got a little soreness, tell me. I’m very adamant about checking that.”
By observing his father all these years, T.J. has witnessed the highs and lows of coaching.
“I’ve seen riding into town with a caravan of people and fire trucks and police officers leading the way,” says T.J. “I’ve also been there when you’ve got seniors crying on your shoulders. It’s their last game and it’s hard. I’ve seen the battles with parents and the excitement with parents.”
“Canton told me his sophomore year he wasn’t going to play basketball any more and he was going concentrate on baseball,” says Tim. “You should be thrilled with that (as a baseball coach). But everybody who tell me that sits on the couch and gets fat.
“He put in about three hours a day. He worked his butt off. He’s just a hard-working kid. Cooper is probably the most natural talent of them all.”
Easton (Class of 2023) is heading into his freshman year at South Vermillion.
“He’s the one we don’t know about yet,” says T.J. “He’s a catcher. But he kind of plays everywhere, too.”
South Vermillion advanced to the Class 2A Jasper Semistate in 2019, the farthest the Wildcats have advanced in the IHSAA tournament since Tim Terry has been head coach.
“This whole year has been great,” says Tim. “The boys have all been special in their own ways.
Sons T.J. and Cooper and father Tim Terry share a moment before the wood bat game at the 2019 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series in Madison. They all represented South Vermillion and were with the South team. (Steve Krah Photo)
Sons T.J. and Cooper and father Tim Terry participated in the 2019 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series in Madison — Cooper as a player with T.J. and Tim as assistant coaches. They all represented South Vermillion and were with the South team. (Steve Krah Photo)