Tag Archives: Trojans

NAIA RBI leader Bass, Taylor University heading into postseason play

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

T.J. Bass came out of the gate producing at the plate in 2022.
The righty swinger in his fourth baseball season at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., knocked in two run in the Trojans’ campaign-opening win against Kansas Wesleyan in Mesa, Ariz.
Heading into the Crossroads League tournament which begins May 7 at Taylor (note the change because of rain), Bass leads all of NAIA in runs batted in with 84.
Besides that, he’s hitting .382 (71-of-186) with 19 home runs, 14 doubles, 51 runs scored and a 1.254 OPS (.491 on-base percentage plus .763 slugging average).
“I need to start by giving credit to the guys batting before me,” says Bass of his big RBI total. “It seems like I come up with two or three guys on every time.”
Bass, who looks to be aggressive and barrel the ball up on the first good pitch he sees per at-bat, has been used by Trojans head coach Kyle Gould primarily in the No. 3 spot in the batting order with a few games in the 2-hole. He’s often found senior Nick Rusche (.337 with 63 hits) and freshman Kaleb Kolpein (.403 with 77 hits) — and for awhile — sophomore Camden Knepp (.282 with 44 hits)— reaching base before him. Rusche prepped at New Palestine (Ind.) High School, Kolpein at Homestead (Fort Wayne) and Knepp at Northridge (Middelbury).
“The back half the lineup has also been pretty good,” says Bass, a 2018 graduate of Greenwood (Ind,) Community.
Of his 19 homers, Bass has clouted three grand slams (vs. Reinhardt in Waleska, Ga., vs. Olivet Nazarene in Athens, Tenn., and vs. Indiana Wesleyan in Upland), four three-run bombs, seven two-run dingers and five solo shots. The enjoyed two-homer games against Reinhardt and Mount Vernon Nazarene.
Bass belted 14 circuit clouts in Crossroads League regular-season play.
Taylor (36-16) is the No. 2 seed in the eight-team Crossroads League tournament. Regular-season champion Mount Vernon Nazarene is No. 1.
The turf at Winterholter Field will also be the site of an NAIA Opening Round May 16-19.
“It’s incredible,” says Bass of playing at the facility located in the heart of the TU campus that was resurfaced after the 2021 season. “Coach Gould takes huge pride in how the field looks and it’s awesome to see so many fans come out.”
Bass has started in all 52 of the Trojans’ games in 2022, mostly in center field or right field. But he’s also been used as a catcher and first baseman. During his college career, he’s played everywhere but the middle infield and on the mound.
“It’s wherever the team needs me most based on who’s healthy if we need an offensive day or a defensive day,” says Bass. “Coach Gould does a good job of looking at Synergy in scouting teams.”
Taylor players watch videos of opposing hitters and pitchers to study their strengths weaknesses.
At 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, Bass has gotten physically stronger and faster since arriving on-campus thanks to off-season programs led by assistant coach Justin Barber as well as Gould.
When Bass arrived at Taylor in 2018-19, Josh Lane and Wyatt Whitman were seniors.
“They they were both huge role models taking a freshman and hour and a half from home under their wings,” says Bass. “They took the strain off.”
Bass was asked how they could help and if they could pray for him.
When Whitman moved on and acted jersey No. 11, Bass took it.
It was also during his first year at Taylor that Bass was undecided on a major. He landed on Elementary Education.
A camp counselor at a community recreation center since his junior year of high school and the son of high school teacher (Andy Bass) and pre-kindergarten teacher (Jenni Bass) with other educators on both sides of the family, T.J. sees that as a natural career path.
“I’ve been around teaching my whole life,” says Bass. “I really love to be able to work with kids and I like getting to know them and finding their interests.
“It didn’t feel like I would do as well with secondary (students). God was calling me to work with elementary.”
Andy Bass teaches Algebra II and Geometry at Greenwood Community, where he has been head baseball coach since 1998. Jenni Bass ran her own daycare for more than a decade and now works at Waverly Elementary School in the Mooresville corporation.
Timothy James Bass, 22, is the oldest of Andy and Jenni’s four kids. Sam Bass is two years younger than T.J. and living and working in Fort Wayne. Mary Bass is a Greenwood Community freshman. Claire Bass is a sixth grader in the Mooresville system.
T.J. was born and raised in Greenwood and played Little League baseball there. Around fifth grade, he played with the traveling Johnson County Jaguars. The summers following his freshman and sophomore years were spent with the Indiana Bulls. The next summer he played for the Indiana Nitro then was with Demand Command right before and right after his freshman year at Taylor.
Bass did not play during the COVID-19 summer of 2020. In 2021, he split his time between the Prospect League’s Lafayette (Ind.) Aviators and the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
With an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic, Bass plans to come back for a fifth season at Taylor in 2023. He expects to do his student teaching this fall.

T.J. Bass (Taylor University Photo)
T.J. Bass (Taylor University Photo)

T.J. Bass (Taylor University Photo)
T.J. Bass (Taylor University Photo)

Earlham’s Bradley enjoys five-homer day; Taylor’s Bass belts 13th

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

Earlham junior Andrew Bradley belted five home runs in a doubleheader sweep of visiting Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Defiance April 6.
The clean-up hitter launched two dingers each in the first and third innings of a 40-7 Game 1 rout. In Game 2, he circled the bases in the third frame as the Quakers won 12-3. The games were contested at Randal R. Sadler Stadium.
For the week of week of April 4-10, NCAA Division III Earlham went 3-1 and is 16-6 overall and 5-1 in the HCAC.
Earlham is in three-way tie atop the conference standings with Franklin (20-6 overall) and Anderson (13-10).
NAIA Taylor went 3-1 on the week and moved to 27-11 overall and 17-5 in the Crossroads League, which ties the Trojans for first place with Mount Vernon Nazarene.
Taylor junior T.J. Bass (Greenwood Community) has raised his season totals to 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in.
With two wins Sunday against Point Park, first-place Indiana University Southeast moved to 24-10 overall and 12-2 in the River States Conference.
Heading into Game 3 of the Point Park series today (April 11), Grenadiers coach Ben Reel has 499 career victories.
Indiana Tech has won five straight. The Warriors are 18-15 overall and 6-4 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.
In NCAA Division I, Purdue (20-7 overall, 2-4 in the Big Ten) took two of three games from visiting Indiana (12-17, 2-3) at Alexander Field.
Game 1 Saturday saw the Boilers roll 17-0. Redshirt junior left-hander Jackson Smeltz (McCutcheon) gave up one hit in eight innings with 13 strikeouts.
In Sunday’s doubleheader, the Hoosiers prevailed 10-3 with freshman Brock Tibbitts cracking his seventh homer of 2022.
Purdue outlasted Indiana 16-15 in the nightcap. Redshirt sophomore Cam Thompson smacked a three-run homer and drove in four runs for the Boilers. Thompson paces the team with 10 circuit clouts.
Notre Dame pushed its win streak to eight games. The Irish (20-5 overall, 8-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) are 6-1 at Frank Eck Stadium, including 4-0 this past week.
D1Baseball.com has Notre Dame No. 3 nationally in RPI. Indiana State is No. 60, Ball State No. 103, Evansville No. 119, Purdue No. 133, Indiana No. 156, Butler No. 187, Valparaiso No. 206 and Purdue Fort Wayne No. 230.
Purdue Fort Wayne is on a season-best four-game win streak after besting Michigan once and Wisconsin-Milwaukee three times.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through April 10
NCAA D-I
Purdue 21-7 (3-4 Big Ten)
Notre Dame 20-5 (8-4 ACC)
Indiana State 19-8 (5-1 MVC)
Ball State 18-12 (12-2 MAC)
Evansville 15-16 (1-2 MVC)
Butler 15-17 (1-2 Big East)
Indiana 12-18 (2-4 Big Ten)
Valparaiso 11-16 (0-3 MVC)
Purdue Fort Wayne 8-22 (5-7 Horizon)

NCAA D-II
Indianapolis 13-17 (7-5 GLVC)
Southern Indiana 13-17 (2-6 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 11-8 (0-4 GLIAC)

NCAA D-III
Franklin 20-6 (5-1 HCAC)
Earlham 16-6 (5-1 HCAC)
Anderson 13-10 (5-1 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 12-7 (3-3 HCAC)
Wabash 12-8 (0-5 NCAC)
DePauw 10-12 (3-3 NCAC)
Hanover 9-14 (4-4 HCAC)
Trine 8-13 (3-1 MIAA)
Manchester 5-14 (2-4 HCAC)

NAIA
Taylor 27-11 (17-5 CL)
Indiana University Southeast 24-10 (12-2 RSC)
Indiana University-Kokomo 20-14 (10-3 RSC)
Oakland City 20-16 (6-10 RSC)
Saint Francis 20-17 (9-12 CL)
Indiana Wesleyan 19-18 (14-10 CL)
Indiana Tech 18-15 (6-4 WHAC)
Huntington 17-13 (15-7 CL)
Marian 15-19 (7-13 CL)
Bethel 15-23 (9-13 CL)
Grace 14-21 (8-14 CL)
Indiana University South Bend 10-23 (4-13 CCAC)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 8-23 (3-11 CCAC)
Goshen 7-25 (4-18 CL)

Junior College
Vincennes 15-16 (6-6 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 11-10
Marian’s Ancilla 6-24 (4-6 MCCAA)

Week of April 4-10
NCAA D-I
Tuesday, April 5
Notre Dame 5, Butler 2
Evansville 8, Indiana 4
Purdue 17, Northern Illinois 14
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3, Valparaiso 2
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 8, Valparaiso 3

Wednesday, April 6
Indiana State 10, Purdue 6 (10 inn.)
Purdue Fort Wayne 6, Michigan 3

Friday, April 8
Oregon 13, Ball State 7
Villanova 13, Butler 3
Southern Illinois 14, Evansville 4
Notre Dame 4, Clemson 1

Saturday, April 9
Ball State 3, Oregon 2
Oregon 10, Ball State 4
Villanova 6, Butler 4
Evansville 6, Southern Illinois 2
Purdue 17, Indiana 0
Indiana State 2, Valparaiso 0
Notre Dame 8, Clemson 1
Purdue Fort Wayne 5, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 4
Purdue Fort Wayne 7, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 0

Sunday, April 10
Oregon 7, Ball State 6
Butler 11, Villanova 3
Southern Illinois 14, Evansville 5
Indiana 10, Purdue 3
Purdue 16, Indiana 15
Indiana State 15, Valparaiso 8
Indiana State 11, Valparaiso 8
Notre Dame 9, Clemson 3
Purdue Fort Wayne 7, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 6

NCAA D-II
Tuesday, April 5
Purdue Northwest 5, Indianapolis 1
Indianapolis 3, Purdue Northwest 0

Friday, April 8
Indianapolis 12, Missouri A&T 4
Southern Indiana vs. Illinois-Springfield

Saturday, April 9
Indianapolis 14, Missouri A&T 8
Illinois-Springfield 9, Southern Indiana 2
Illinois-Springfield 19, Southern Indiana 2

Sunday, April 10
Missouri A&T 14, Indianapolis 5
Missouri A&T 15, Indianapolis 7
Illinois-Springfield 9, Southern Indiana 1
Illinois-Springfield 6, Southern Indiana 2

NCAA D-III
Tuesday, April 5
Bluffton 4, Manchester 3
Bluffton 11, Manchester 2
Adrian 9, Trine 5

Wednesday, April 6
Anderson 10, Franklin 5
Franklin 9, Anderson 2
Earlham 40, Defiance 7
Earlham 12, Defiance 3
Rose-Hulman 18, Hanover 15
Hanover 10, Rose-Hulman 3
Wittenberg 5, Wabash 2 (11 inn.)

Thursday, April 7
Denison 13, DePauw 2
Denison 12, DePauw 2

Sunday, April 10
Anderson 13, Mount St. Joseph 9
Anderson 11, Mount St. Joseph 0
DePauw 7, Oberlin 3
DePauw 16, Oberlin 10
Hanover 3, Earlham 1
Earlham 7, Hanover 3
Franklin 10, Defiance 2
Franklin 7, Defiance 4
Rose-Hulman 5, Manchester 2
Rose-Hulman 22, Manchester 9
Kalamazoo 5, Trine 2
Kalamazoo 18, Trine 5
Kenyon 5, Wabash 1
Kenyon 10, Wabash 4

NAIA
Monday, April 4
Bethel 10, Marian 6
Bethel 12, Marian 11
Calumet of Saint Joseph 7, Trinity International 3
Mount Vernon Nazarene 8, Goshen 4
Mount Vernon Nazarene 6, Goshen 2
Indiana Wesleyan 11, Grace 4
Grace 4, Indiana Wesleyan 2
Taylor 13, Saint Francis 7
Taylor 8, Saint Francis 3

Tuesday, April 5
IU Kokomo 6, Indiana Tech 5 (8 inn.)
Judson 4, IU South Bend 3
Judson 15, IU South Bend 10

Wednesday, April 6
Indiana Tech 15, Wright State-Lake 2

Thursday, April 7
Ivy Tech Northeast 12, Indiana Tech JV 3
Indiana Tech JV 6, Ivy Tech Northeast 5
Mount Vernon Nazarene 7, Saint Francis 6
Saint Francis 8, Mount Vernon Nazarene 3
Vincennes 12, Oakland City JV 5

Friday, April 8
Huntington 3, Indiana Wesleyan 2
Indiana Wesleyan 10, Huntington 8

Saturday, April 9
Marian 7, Grace 5
Grace 12, Marian 2
Huntington 17, Indiana Wesleyan 7
Huntington 2, Indiana Wesleyan 1
Trinity Christian 5, IU South Bend 4 (9 inn.)
Trinity Christian 10, IU South Bend 5
Taylor 5, Spring Arbor 3
Spring Arbor 4, Taylor 3

Sunday, April 10
Goshen 4, Bethel 2
Goshen 5, Bethel 2
St. Ambrose 14, Calumet of Saint Joseph 4
St. Ambrose 11, Calumet of Saint Joseph 3
West Virginia Tech 8, IU Kokomo 6
West Virginia Tech 2, IU Kokomo 0
IU Southeast 6, Point Park 5
IU Southeast 5, Point Park 3
Indiana Tech 4, Cleary 0
Indiana Tech 12, Cleary 5
Midway 3, Oakland City 2
Oakland City 14, Midway 0

Junior College
Tuesday, April 5
Ivy Tech Northeast 21, Glen Oaks 7

Thursday, April 7
Ivy Tech Northeast 12, Indiana Tech JV 3
Indiana Tech JV 6, Ivy Tech Northeast 5
Vincennes 12, Oakland City JV 5

Friday, April 8
Mid-Michigan 8, Marian’s Ancilla 0
Marian’s Ancilla 3, Mid-Michigan 2

Saturday, April 9
Marian’s Ancilla 4, Mid-Michigan 3 (8 inn.)
Mid-Michigan 8, Marian’s Ancilla 3
Frontier 7, Vincennes 5

Sunday, April 10
Vincennes 2, Frontier 1

Demkovich powers Franklin during fruitful week

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

Franklin — with a 17-5 overall record — has gotten off to the best start of 2022 among the state’s NCAA Division III schools.
The Lance Marshall-coached Grizzlies enjoyed a 4-1 week (March 28-April 3). One of the highlights was senior Logan Demkovich’s four home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Bluffton. Munster High School graduate Demkovich is now hitting .410 with 12 home runs and 36 runs batted in.
Earlham (13-5) won its first two HCAC games. Quakers head coach Steve Sakosits reached the 200-win plateau earlier this season.
D-III Trine enjoyed a 3-1 week, including a three-game Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association sweep of Olivet. The first two games were the Thunder’s first home contests of the season.

With a win Sunday against Aquinas, Indiana Tech gave Warriors coach Kip McWilliams his 500th career victory.
NCAA Division I Ball State saw its 10-game win streak end with a loss Sunday at Toledo. The Rich Maloney-coached Cardinals (17-9) fashioned a 6-1 week and moved to 12-2 in the Mid-American Conference.
Griffith graduate Amir Wright (.344) leads the BSU attack for the lead-off spot. Hamilton Heights graduate Tyler Schweitzer (4-2), Lawrence North alum Ty Johnson (4-1) and Bloomington North grad Sam Klein (six saves) are among the leading pitchers.
A 4-0 week for Notre Dame included a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference sweep at Florida State. The Irish won 2-0 in 12 innings, 5-4 (with one run in the eighth inning and two in the ninth) and 9-7 (with two eighth-inning runs). ND head coach Link Jarrett played at FSU.
A 4-0 week for Evansville (13-14) included a three-game non-conference sweep of Michigan State. Wes Carroll’s Purple Aces are 7-4 on their home turf.
Butler (14-14) went 4-1 on the week. Dave Schrage’s Bulldogs have won five of their last six heading into a Tuesday game at Notre Dame. Schrage reached 850 career wins earlier this spring.
NCAA Division II Indianapolis won three of four Great Lakes Valley Conference games at Truman as part of a 3-3 week. Al Ready’s Greyhounds are 5-5 in away contests.
Inclement weather meant no games for Dave Griffin’s Purdue Northwest squad. The Pride is 10-7.
Following a 5-1 week NAIA Taylor (24-10) is tied atop the Crossroads League standings with Mount Vernon Nazarene at 14-4. Kyle Gould’s Trojans were to play two at Saint Francis today (April 4).
Also in the Crossroads League, Rich Benjamin’s Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats (17-14) went 5-1 and Seth Zartman’s Bethel Pilots (13-21) went 4-2.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through April 3
NCAA D-I
Purdue 18-5 (1-3 Big Ten)
Ball State 17-9 (12-2 MAC)
Notre Dame 16-5 (5-4 ACC)
Indiana State 15-8 (2-1 MVC)
Butler 14-14 (0-0 Big East)
Evansville 13-14 (0-0 MVC)
Valparaiso 11-11 (0-0 MVC)
Indiana 11-15 (1-2 Big Ten)
Purdue Fort Wayne 4-22 (2-7 Horizon)

NCAA D-II
Southern Indiana 13-13 (2-2 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 10-7 (0-4 GLIAC)
Indianapolis 10-14 (5-3 GLVC)

NCAA D-III
Franklin 17-5 (2-0 HCAC)
Earlham 13-5 (2-0 HCAC)
Wabash 12-5 (0-2 NCAC)
Anderson 10-9 (2-0 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 9-6 (0-2 HCAC)
Trine 8-10 (3-0 MIAA)
DePauw 8-10 (1-1 NCAC)
Hanover 7-12 (2-2 HCAC)
Manchester 5-10 (2-0 HCAC)

NAIA
Taylor 24-10 (14-4 CL)
Indiana University Southeast 22-10 (10-2 RSC)
Indiana University-Kokomo 20-11 (10-1 RSC)
Saint Francis 19-14 (8-8 CL)
Oakland City 19-15 (5-9 RSC)
Indiana Wesleyan 17-14 (12-6 CL)
Huntington 14-12 (12-6 CL)
Indiana Tech 14-15 (4-4 WHAC)
Marian 14-16 (6-10 CL)
Bethel 13-21 (7-11 CL)
Grace 12-19 (6-12 CL)
Indiana University South Bend 9-20 (3-10 CCAC)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 7-21 (2-9 CCAC)
Goshen 5-23 (2-16 CL)

Junior College
Vincennes 13-15 (6-6 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 9-6
Marian’s Ancilla 4-22 (2-4 MCCAA)

Week of March 28-April 3
NCAA D-I
Monday, March 28
Ball State 2, Western Michigan 0
Ball State 12, Western Michigan 5

Tuesday, March 29
Butler 7, Bellarmine 4
Evansville 10, Austin Peay 5
Notre Dame 11, Northern Illinois 2
Illinois-Chicago 10, Purdue 9
Purdue Fort Wayne 11, Valparaiso 3

Friday, April 1
Ball State 8, Toledo 1
Butler 1, Eastern Illinois 0
Evansville 7, Michigan State 2
Indiana 5, Northwestern 4
Indiana State 4, Illinois State 2
Notre Dame 2, Florida State 0 (12 inn.)
Illinois 8, Purdue 1
Wright State 5, Purdue Fort Wayne 3
Illinois-Chicago 9, Valparaiso 7
Valparaiso 8, Illinois-Chicago 3

Saturday, April 2
Ball State 7, Toledo 3
Ball State 10, Toledo 2
Eastern Illinois 3, Butler 2
Evansville 7, Michigan State 5
Northwestern 7, Indiana 6
Illinois State 12, Indiana State 2
Notre Dame 5, Florida State 4
Illinois 11, Purdue 10
Wright State 17, Purdue Fort Wayne 11

Sunday, April 3
Toledo 5, Ball State 1
Butler 2, Eastern Illinois 0
Butler 2, Eastern Illinois 1
Evansville 5, Michigan State 4
Northwestern 13, Indiana 6
Indiana State 5, Illinois State 2
Notre Dame 9, Florida State 7
Illinois 11, Purdue 8
Wright State 12, Purdue Fort Wayne 3
Valparaiso 5, Illinois-Chicago 2

NCAA D-II
Tuesday, March 29
Kentucky Wesleyan 8, Indianapolis 2
Kentucky Wesleyan 4, Indianapolis 1
Maryville 15, Southern Indiana 8

Friday, April 1
Truman 3, Indianapolis 2
Quincy 7, Southern Indiana 2

Saturday, April 2
Truman 3, Indianapolis 2
Indianapolis 4, Truman 2
Southern Indiana 5, Quincy 1
Quincy 5, Southern Indiana 3

Sunday, April 3
Indianapolis 9, Truman 3
Quincy 6, Southern Indiana 4

NCAA D-III
Monday, March 28
Franklin 9, St. Olaf 8

Tuesday, March 29
Carson-Newman 13, DePauw 3
Wittenberg 10, Earlham 5
St. Olaf 4, Franklin 3
Hanover 15, Mount St. Joseph 14 (13 inn.)
Hanover 9, Mount St. Joseph 5
Rose-Hulman 7, Wabash 1
Ohio Northern 12, Trine 11

Wednesday, March 30
Anderson 15, Greenville 5
DePauw 10, Earlham 3
Franklin 7, Williams 6
Heidelberg 8, Manchester 2

Saturday, April 2
DePauw 12, Wooster 4
Wooster 13, DePauw 6
Earlham 7, Mount St. Joseph 4
Earlham 12, Mount St. Joseph 8
Franklin 16, Bluffton 4
Franklin 13, Bluffton 3
Manchester 6, Hanover 2
Manchester 6, Hanover 2
Trine 3, Olivet 0
Trine 13, Olivet 3
Allegheny 8, Wabash 3
Allegheny 11, Wabash 0

Sunday, April 3
Anderson 4, Rose-Hulman 3
Anderson 6, Rose-Hulman 5
Trine 4, Olivet 2

NAIA
Tuesday, March 29
Bethel 6, Marian 4
Marian 8, Bethel 0
St. Francis (Ill.) 7, Calumet of St. Joseph 1
IU Southeast 16, Campbellsville 7
Indiana Wesleyan 9, Grace 7
Grace 5, Indiana Wesleyan 3
Spring Arbor 16, Huntington 14
Huntington 15, Spring Arbor 2
Concordia 6, Indiana Tech 5
Indiana Tech 5, Concordia 3
Taylor 13, Saint Francis 1
Taylor 11, Saint Francis 0
Mt. Vernon Nazarene 5, Goshen 3
Mt. Vernon Nazarene 3, Goshen 1

Wednesday, March 30
Lawrence Tech 5, IU Kokomo 4
Lawrence Tech 10, IU Kokomo 4
St. Francis (Ill.) 12, IU South Bend 4
Indiana Wesleyan 18, Thomas More 4

Friday, April 1
Grace 9, Bethel 4
Bethel 13, Grace 3
Taylor 12, Goshen 1
Goshen 3, Taylor 2
IU Kokomo 15, Midway 5
Midway 5, IU Kokomo 4
Olivet Nazarene 10, IU South Bend 0
Olivet Nazarene 11, IU South Bend 3
IU Southeast 8, Oakland City 7
IU Southeast 16, Oakland City 4
Indiana Wesleyan 12, Saint Francis 1
Indiana Wesleyan 11, Saint Francis 5

Saturday, April 2
Bethel 4, Grace 2
Bethel 3, Grace 0
Taylor 13, Goshen 1
Taylor 10, Goshen 3
Huntington 10, Marian 6
Huntington 14, Marian 12 (8 inn.)
IU Kokomo 7, Midway 6 (10 inn.)
Olivet Nazarene 9, IU South Bend 5
Oakland City 10, IU Southeast 9 (11 inn.)
Cornerstone 5, Indiana Tech 4
Cornerstone 9, Indiana Tech 3
Indiana Wesleyan 11, Saint Francis 1
Indiana Wesleyan 13, Saint Francis 6

Sunday, April 3
Aquinas 5, Indiana Tech 2
Indiana Tech 7, Aquinas 5

Junior College
Tuesday, March 29
Marian’s Ancilla 2, Glen Oaks 1
Glen Oaks 5, Marian’s Ancilla 3

Friday, April 1
Muskegon 4, Marian’s Ancilla 0
Muskegon 11, Marian’s Ancilla 2
Vincennes vs. Danville Area 8, Vincennes 3
Vincennes vs. Danville Area 6, Vincennes 1

Saturday, April 2
Olney Central 3, Ivy Tech Northeast 0

Sunday, April 3
Marian’s Ancilla vs. Muskegon
Danville Area 7, Vincennes 5
Vincennes 7, Danville Area 6

Gayday sharing homegrown baseball know-how at Saint Francis

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

Kristian Gayday was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., and that’s where he learned about baseball and where he continues to share his knowledge.
Gayday, who turns 30 on Dec. 20, is heading into his fourth season as an assistant coach at the University of Saint Francis, located on the Summit City’s west side.
Growing up near Waynedale on the south end of town, Gayday played at Don Ayres Little League, travel ball for the Aboit Braves and Fort Wayne Cubs (coached by Cisco Morales) then played on the last four teams at Elmhurst High School (it ceased to be a high school after 2009-10) and four years at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne (now Purdue Fort Wayne). He has coached in the Fort Wayne Diamondbacks travel organization (formerly Fort Wayne Cubs).
Gayday played three seasons for Eddie Fields and his senior year for Zac Pace at Elmhurst, helping the Trojans go 18-7 and win the program’s first sectional title in eight years. A power-hitting shortstop, he was named all-Summit City Athletic Conference and all-area as a senior.
“(Pace) did a good team with a senior-laden team,” says Gayday.
Bobby Pierce was the coach of the IPFW Mastodons and Gayday played shortstop or third base from 2011-14. A righty swinger, he hit .274 (183-of-667) with 16 home runs, two triples, 31 doubles and 104 runs batted in 201 games.
“He’s such a cool person,” says Gayday of Pierce. “He’s figure out a way to develop guys. He’d break down the swing and show different perspectives.
“He taught me most of what I know today and was such a good mentor.”
In 2015, Gayday played mostly as a corner infielder for the Sonoma (Calif.) Stompers of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. That team was managed by Japan native Takashi Miyoshi.
Gayday, who has worked at The Diamond Baseball & Softball Academy in Fort Wayne, was called away from coaching a Fort Wayne Diamondbacks team to play for Sonoma. He anticipates coaching for the Manny Lopez-led D-backs in 2022.
At Saint Francis, Gayday is on the staff of Cougars head coach Dustin Butcher.
“He’s such a likable guy,” says Gayday of Butcher. “You know he has your back.
“I’m grateful to have him around and being a mentor to me.”
Primary duties for Gayday include working with USF hitters and infielders while also aiding in the running game.
One of the keys for Gayday’s hitters is “being athletic.”
To Gayday, swinging a bat requires attention to pitcher’s tendencies and the mental side.
“We want them to stay back instead of trying to force their body to do something,” says Gayday. “We do not want them having a good approach and not being pull happy.
“Instead of pulling, they can hit a curveball to right field and see what happens.”
Gayday stresses a “prep step” for his infielders.
“It’s a nice hop down into our legs so we can stay low,” says Gayday. “We want to set our feet and make a good throw.
“Everyone is progressing the right way.”
It also helps that the hops at Cougar Field are getting smoother.
“We’ve put a lot of time in that field to make it better,” says Gayday.
Saint Francis, a member of the NAIA-affiliated Crossroads League, went 34-22 and stole 73 bases in 86 attempts.
Keys to success include reading the pitcher’s delivery (slide step, leg kick etc.) and his pick-off move.
“We want to put momentum into our steal,” says Gayday. “Being a half step quicker is what we’re looking for.”
While its currently a period where athletes are away from the coaching staff, there can be communication through calls and social media.
When the team comes back from break in early January, the Cougars will hit the ground running in preparation for the 2022 season opener Feb. 4 at Bethel (Tenn.) University.
Besides coaching, Gayday runs the shipping and receiving department for McMahon Best-One Tire & Auto Care in Fort Wayne and answers directly to Pat “Bubba” McMahon, who is also head baseball coach at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne.
Kristian lost both parents — Elmhurst graduates Johnny and Christine — in 2020. He has two older siblings — John Gayday and Natasha Nestleroad.

Kristian Gayday (University of Saint Francis Photo)

At 24, Taylor U. grad Waddups coaching pitchers for Mount Vernon Nazarene

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

Tucker Waddups got his first taste of coaching right out of high school. A half decade later, it’s his career.
Waddups, who is now pitching coach at Mount Vernon (Ohio) Nazarene University at the age of 24, graduated from Pioneer Junior/Senior High School in Royal Center, Ind., in 2016 and began giving pitching lessons to youngsters around Cass County.
“I really started to fall in love with it,” says Waddups of sharing his baseball knowledge. “I got work with guys one-on-one, see what made guys tick and do trial-and-error things. I’d what worked and didn’t work.”
A native of Logansport, Ind., Waddups grew up near Cicott Lake, played youth baseball at Rea Park next to Pioneer Elementary from age 4 to 12 followed by Babe Ruth League Baseball in Rochester, Ind., at 13U, the Jay Hundley-coached Indiana Outlaws from 14U to 16U, the Ken Niles-coached Indiana Mustangs at 17U and the Mike Hitt-coached Indiana Blue Jays at 18U. He was with the Mike Farrell-coached Brewers Fall Scout Team at 16U and Kevin Christman-coach Giants Fall Scout Team at 17U. He went to Farrell for pitching lessons from age 12 until the end of the high school career.
A right-handed pitcher-only in travel ball and college, Waddups was also a shortstop and first baseman at Pioneer while playing four years for Panthers head coach Rick Farrer.
“We still stay in-touch,” says Waddups of Farrer. “He’s a great man.”
Wads was a four-team all-Loganland, all-Hoosier North Athletic Conference and team captain at Pioneer, where he set career records for earned run average, strikeouts, wins, home runs and runs batted in. As a senior, he was Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association All-State, an IHSBCA North All-Star and Loganland and HNAC Player of the Year.
With a few exceptions, father Murl Waddups coached Tucker on most of his teams growing up. He got to have his father on his staff with the Nitro.
Waddups spent the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 with the Anderson (Ind.) University baseball team. Dustin Glant (now pitching coach at Indiana University) was Ravens head coach until the end of the fall semester then Drew Brantley (now head coach at Indiana University Kokomo) took over.
A transfer to Taylor University in Upland, Ind., gave Waddups the opportunity to play for head coach Kyle Gould and pitching coach Justin Barber. With an extra COVID-19 season, he suited up for the Trojans for four seasons (2018-21).
“It was definitely a good experience playing for Coach Gould,” says Waddups. “He knows the game well. He’s won a lot of baseball games.
With Gould and Barber, it’s all about player development and getting guys better every year. They did a really good job of taking care of us and making sure we had everything we needed to be successful. It was four of the best years of my life.”
Waddups majored in Sport Management and minored in Coaching at Taylor.
In the summer of 2019, Joel Mishler gave Waddups the chance to coach at 13U team for the Indiana Chargers travel organization founded and directed by Mishler.
“I absolutely loved it,” says Waddups. “It was a blast.”
One of Waddups’ Chargers players was Kai Aoki, son of then-Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki (now head coach at Morehead State University).
“I got to know Mik real well,” says Waddups. “I still talk with him.”
Chad Newhard had been a Taylor assistant and was affiliated with the Indiana Nitro and that relationship led to Waddups coaching at 15U Nitro team in the summer of 2020.
After wrapping his playing career in the spring of 2021, Waddups served as pitching coach for the college wood bat Northwoods League’s Hayden Carter-managed Kokomo Jackrabbits. Waddups pitched for Kokomo in 2017 and 2018 when Gary McClure was Jackrabbits manager.
“He knows how to win really well,” says Waddups of McClure. “He won a lot of games at Austin Peay (University).”
Waddups is slated to head back to the Northwoods League in the summer of 2022 as the pitching coach for the Travese City (Mich.) Pit Spitters. He got to know Traverse City manager Josh Rebandt through frequent meetings between Kokomo and the Spitters in 2021.
The coaching position at Mount Vernon Nazarene came about when Cougars head coach Keith Veale let friend and fellow Crossroads League head coach Gould know about a need for an assistant to guide pitchers and help with recruiting.
Veale and Waddups spoke during the Crossroads League tournament and Waddups saw an MVNU practice before the NAIA Opening Round and decided to take the job.
“I work every single day with pitchers and do their programming,” says Waddups, who also recruits and runs camps. “It’s definitely something I want to do the rest of my life.”
Home Designs by Waddups (formerly Waddups Improvements) is Murl’s business.
Kim Waddups runs a daycare out of her home.
“She taught me a lot about life,” says Tucker. “We’ve gotten really, really close since I went to college.”
Trey Waddups (Pioneer Class of 2018) is Tucker’s younger brother. He played baseball and basketball in high school and is the Panthers’ all-time scoring leader in basketball. He played one season of baseball and is in his third in basketball at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind.

Tucker Waddups (Kokomo Jackrabbits Photo)
Tucker Waddups (Kokomo Jackrabbits Photo)

Wapahani, Ball State graduate Wilburn takes over Delta baseball program

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

The way Devin Wilburn sees it, life is about timing.
Just when he and his wife were looking to move closer to home and family for the arrival of their first child, a job opportunity opened up.
Teacher Devin and nurse Maddie Wilburn were living in Florida when the chance to come to come back to the Muncie, Ind., area came as daughter Tatum was on the way.
Tatum is now 2 months old and Devin (who turned 30 on Sept. 18) is the head baseball coach and a physical education teacher at Delta High School.
Delta (enrollment around 800) is a member of the Hoosier Heritage Conference (with Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon of Fortville, New Castle, New Palestine, Pendleton Heights, Shelbyville and Yorktown).
In 2021, the Eagles were part of an IHSAA Class 3A sectional grouping with Guerin Catholic, Hamilton Heights, Jay County, New Castle and Yorktown. Delta has won 13 sectional crowns — the last in 2016.
The Wilburns reside in Selma, about 10 minutes from both sets of grandparents and in the same town where they graduated from Wapahani High School.
Devin went 24-9 and struck out 309 batters while while walking 79 in 203 1/3 innings while playing for Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Brian Dudley and graduating in 2010.
“A lot of stuff fell in place,” says Devin Wilburn, who comes to the Eagles after spending the 2021 season as an assistant to head coach Kyle Gould at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., after one spring season (2020) as head coach at Countryside High School in Clearwater Fla.
Wilburn, who holds a Sport Administration degree (2014) and Masters in Sport Administration (2016) from Ball State University, was an assistant to head coach Rich Maloney at BSU in Muncie in 2019 after spending the fall of 2018 on Matt Bair’s staff at Anderson (Ind.) University. He was the pitching coach at Taylor 2015-18.
A left-handed pitcher, Wilburn played three seasons for head coaches Alex Marconi (2011 and 2012) and Maloney (2015).
At 20, Wilburn had a colon procedure and spent the better part of two years recuperating then returned to the diamond with the Cardinals.
“It was a cool ending to my career,” says Wilburn. “I working out with my best friend, Jon Keesling (who played at Wapahani then Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion).
“My ball was moving pretty good. Maybe I’ll give (a comeback) a shot.”
Wilburn made the team and in 27 mound appearances (26 in relief) went 4-2 for a 33-25 squad that played in the Mid-American Conference championship game in 2015.
“That last year I got to play changed my life in so many ways,” says Wilburn. It was through Ball State volunteer assistant Rhett Goodmiller that he was connected with Taylor.
The summer before joining the Trojans, Wilburn was the head coach of the Indiana Prospects 17U national travel team. The talented club featured future Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft first-round pick J.J. Bleday plus two others now in the minors — Gianluca Dalatri and Sean Mooney — with the help of father Bryan Wilburn.
Wilburn has formed his coaching philosophy through the men he played for and coached with — Dudley, Maloney and Gould — and more.
“Along the way you make it yours,” says Wilburn. “You learn from coaching conventions and podcasts and put your own spin on it.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some really good baseball teams and coaches.
“Coach Dudley and I have a real good relationship. He just does things the right way. He was my first mentor. I learned so much from him.
“He had such a high expectation for us. He let us shine with what we were good at.”
Devin, the only child of Bryan and Missie Wilburn, moved from Muncie to Selma in the fourth grade and his first teacher was Jason Dudley, Brian’s son and a longtime Wapahani baseball assistant.
“I was part of those good traditions that shape your life in so many ways,” says Wilburn, who counted three former Wapahani teammates in the wedding party when he married Maddie a little over three years ago. “I’m so grateful to go through that program.
“I look back fondly on my high school days.”
A youth baseball coach for several decades, Russell Wilburn had a field named in his honor in Muncie’s Chambers Park when Devin was a young boy.
Bryan Wilburn and brother Dan both played baseball at Muncie Central High School and Bryan went on to the diamond life at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and Dan to Valparaiso University.
After being recruited by Greg Beals, playing for Marconi and then Maloney, the latter hired him as an assistant.
“I wore many hats,” says Wilburn. “I got to work with catchers and some with outfielders. My end goal was to find a head coaching job at small college or high school.
“I wanted to be a well-rounded coach.”
Wilburn is appreciative of Blake Beemer, who was a Cardinals teammate and then a coaching colleague.
“I’m grateful for his mentorship,” says Wilburn of Beemer. “I also coached with Dustin Glant. He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever heard talk about pitching.”
Gould gave Wilburn his first crack at college coaching.
“He is probably the best mentor in my life,” says Wilburn. “I’ve learned so much from him from the baseball and the life perspective
“He opened my eyes in so many different ways. I could not be more grateful for the time I spent over there learning from him. (Taylor) is a wonderful place.”
It was at Taylor that Wilburn also got to be on staff with IHSBCA Hall of Famer Rick Atkinson and Justin Barber.
“Coach A forgot more about baseball than what I knew,” says Wilburn. “Justin and I had a good relationship when we recruited his players when he was with the Indiana Chargers.”
At Delta, Wilburn has hired former Ball State teammate Scott Baker as his pitching coach with other assistant hires pending school board approval.
The Eagles play on Veteran’s Field.
“We’ve got a couple of projects,” says Wilburn, whose been assessing Delta’s baseball needs since taking the job. “We’ve got a nice facility and a real supportive booster club.”
Feeders for Wilburn’s program include Delta Little League in Royerton and East Central Indiana junior high league run by Jason Dudley.
Current senior left-hander Nick Crabtree has committed to Taylor.
And Wilburn continues his love affair with the game.
Says the coach, “Baseball is what keeps me sane in life and forget the daily stress.”

Devin Wilburn (Delta High School Image)
The Wilburns (from left): Maddie, Tatum and Devin.
Devin and Maddie Wilburn with daughter Tatum.
Devin Wilburn (red pullover) with Ball State University head coach Rich Maloney (2), assistant Blake Beemer (24) and the Cardinals in 2019.
Devin Wilburn (right) coaches at Taylor University.
Devin Wilburn and the Taylor University baseball team celebrate a victory.
Devin Wilburn (second from left) with mentor and Taylor University head baseball coach Kyle Gould.

Benedictine’s Castillo enjoying summer opportunity in Illinois Valley

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

Playing with and against players from bigger schools, Damen Castillo enjoys showing what he can do on a baseball diamond.
Castillo, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound righty-swinging/throwing first baseman, plays during the spring at NCAA Division III Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. This summer, the Highland (Ind.) High School graduate is with the Prospect League’s Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp in the team’s first season in Peru, Ill.
“It’s the competition level,” says Castillo, 21. “The pace of play is faster than what I come from.
“It’s fun being around guys from different schools like that.”
Of the 31 players listed on the team’s online roster, 18 are from Illinois with eight from California and one each from Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Castillo is one of six players from NCAA D-III schools (the others are pitchers Jake Dahl of Rockford University, Chandler Kerr of Concordia University Chicago and Justin Rios and Jason Shanner of North Central College and infielder Garry Maynard of Concordia University Chicago).
There are 20 from NCAA D-I, two from NCAA D-II and three from National Junior College Athletic Association institutions.
Teams on Illinois Valley’s schedule, which consists of squads from the Wabash River, Great River, Prairie Land divisions, boasts no less than 105 D-I players.
The Pistol Shrimp are owned and managed by John Jakiemiec, who co-owns a player development academy in Naperville, Ill., Evolution Athletics.
“He’s been great,” says Castillo of Jakiemiec. “When we play, it’s real serious.
“You get your work in and still try to win at the same time.
“It’s been a fun summer.”
Jakiemiec, who played baseball at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., uses his Ivy League education to throw out random facts during bus trips.
“We don’t always know what he’s talking about,” says Castillo. “But we laugh.”
Through 25 games with the Pistol Shrimp, Castillo was hitting .280 (23-of-82) with five home runs, four doubles, 14 runs batted in and 10 runs scored.
“One of my best qualities as a hitter is the ability to drive the ball to the right side of the field,” says Castillo. “I get pitched away and I get a lot of off-speed. Over the years I’ve gotten good at hitting the outside pitch.”
Adam Smith is the head coach at Benedictine.
“He’s been real supportive,” says Castillo of Smith. “He come to me with things he think I can change.”
Castillo appreciates how Smith keeps practices loose and competitive.
“Our team tends to do better when things are like that,” says Castillo, who helped the Eagles go 29-13 overall and 15-5 in the Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference in 2021. “We do competition things in practice. It’s better than taking mass ground balls or BP.
“It makes it fun.”
In 42 games (all as a starter), Castillo hit .347 (61-of-176) with nine homers, one triple, 18 doubles, 51 RBIs, 35 runs and a 1.009 OPS (.395 on-base percentage plus .614 slugging average).
The 2021 season was his third at Benedictine. In the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, he started all seven games and hit .217 (5-of-23) with one extra-base hit (a double), four RBIs, three runs and a .557 OPS (.296/.261).
As a freshman in 2019, Castillo played a little bit of third base before becoming a full-time first baseman. In 28 games (24 as a starter), he hit .323 (32-of-99) with four homers, six doubles, 21 RBIs, 16 runs and a .885 OPS (.380/.505).
With two years of eligibility left, Castillo is a year away from earning a degree in Management of Organizational Behavior through the Goodwin College of Business.
Castillo and his Eagles teammates are to report back to campus in late August and will get right to work for about eight weeks of workouts before “captain’s practice” where NCAA D-III rules limit contact by the coaching staff.
Born and raised in Highland to Damen and Jodee Castillo with little sister Angelica (a volleyball and softball athlete entering her senior year at Highland High in 2021-22), “D” played travel ball around his hometown until 12 and then went with the Dave Griffiin-coached Indiana Playmakers, Morris (coached by Jim Tucker), Chiefs (coached by Dave Sutkowski) and Midwest Irish (coached by Shane Brogan).
When the Midwest Collegiate League shut down and Castillo was not able to play for the Southland Vikings in 2020, he assisted Brogan with the Irish.
“He has been the closest coach to me,” says Castillo of Brogan. The two talk every other day.
This year, Castillo helps Brogan out in practice when his schedule allows.
John Bogner was Castillo’s coach at Highland and had the third baseman on the varsity since early in his freshmen year with the Trojans.
“He was a great high school coach and I learned a lot from him,” says Castillo, who stays in touch with Bogner and dropped by practice during the end of 2021 season to hit with the Highland team.

Damen Castillo (Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp Photo)
Damen Castillo (Benedictine University Photo)
Damen Castillo (Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp Photo)

IU-Kokomo runs win streak to seven; Plesac fans 14

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Jared Heard’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning helped Indiana University-Kokomo (22-16, 10-8) to a walk-off 2-1 baseball victory against Brescia Saturday, April 17 at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

It was the Cougars’ seventh straight victory — the longest current streak among Indiana’s 38 collegiate programs.

By beating Brescia 8-1 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, IUK gave head coach Matt Howard his 100th career victory.

Indiana Wesleyan (36-11, 25-3) built a three-game lead in the Crossroads League standings  with a four-game sweep of Huntington. The Wildcats have won six in a row.

Frank Plesac pitched a seven-inning complete game with 14 strikeouts as Bethel (13-30, 10-18) completed a four-game sweep of visiting Crossroads League foe Goshen and ran the Pilots’ win streak to five.

Indiana State (20-8, 7-1) finally played games at Bob Warn Field after opening the season with 24 on the road. The Sycamores swept a four-game Missouri Valley Conference series against Valparaiso.

Ellis Hanna II drove in four runs in a 12-1 win in the series finale. ISU has won five straight.

Clay Woeste collected nine hits, scored nine runs and drove in seven as Indiana University Southeast (32-13, 20-1) racked up 41 runs in a three-game River States Conference series sweep at West Virginia Tech. 

IUS also got eight hits, four runs and eight RBIs from Marco Romero, five hits, three runs and six RBIs from Derek Wagner, seven hits, four runs and five RBIs from Matt Monahan and five hits, seven runs and five RBIs from Brody Tanksley.

The Grenadiers have won four in a row.

Purdue (9-15, 9-15) ran its win streak to four by beating Michigan State twice and Illinois once during a three-team Big Ten Conference pod in Champaign, Ill.

Joe Moran smashed three homer runs as Taylor (33-12, 22-6) wrapped a four-game Crossroads League sweep of visiting Spring Arbor. Moran pushed his season homer total to 12.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL

Records Through April 18

NCAA Division I

Ball State 21-11 (11-4 MAC) 

Indiana State 20-8 (7-1 MVC) 

Evansville 19-15 (4-7 MVC) 

Notre Dame 18-7 (16-7 ACC) 

Indiana 15-8 (15-8 Big Ten) 

Purdue 9-15 (9-15 Big Ten) 

Purdue Fort Wayne 9-18 (6-14 HL) 

Butler 7-15 (2-6 Big East) 

Valparaiso 5-20 (0-8 MVC) 

NCAA Division II

Southern Indiana 19-13 (15-9 GLVC) 

Indianapolis 13-13 (11-7 GLVC) 

Purdue Northwest 8-13 (2-10  GLIAC) 

NCAA Division III

Earlham 16-11 (16-11 HCAC) 

DePauw 16-12 (7-5 NCAC) 

Wabash 16-12 (7-5 NCAC) 

Hanover 16-13 (16-13 HCAC) 

Franklin 15-7 (15-7 HCAC) 

Anderson 15-10 (15-10 HCAC) 

Rose-Hulman 12-10 (12-10 HCAC) 

Manchester 12-16 (12-16 HCAC) 

Trine 5-16 (5-7 MIAA) 

NAIA

Indiana Wesleyan 36-11 (25-3 CL) 

Taylor 33-12 (22-6 CL) 

Indiana University Southeast 32-13 (20-1 RSC) 

Saint Francis 28-16 (18-10 CL) 

Huntington 24-12 (17-11 CL) 

Indiana University-Kokomo 22-16 (10-8 RSC) 

Indiana Tech 21-20 (8-4 WHAC) 

Marian 19-24 (12-16 CL) 

Indiana University South Bend 16-18 (12-7 CCAC) 

Oakland City 15-23 (8-13 RSC) 

Bethel 13-30 (10-18 CL) 

Grace 11-28 (8-20 CL) 

Calumet of Saint Joseph 4-25 (4-14 CCAC) 

Goshen 3-34 (2-26 CL) 

Junior College

Ivy Tech Northeast 18-18 

Vincennes 16-19 (4-12 MWAC) 

Ancilla 6-21 (2-10 MCCAA) 

Conferences

NCAA Division I

Big Ten

Atlantic Coast (ACC)

Big East 

Horizon (HL)

Mid-American (MAC)

Missouri Valley (MVC)

NCAA Division II

Great Lakes Valley (GLVC)

Great Lakes Intercollegiate (GLIAC)

NCAA Division III

Heartland Collegiate (HCAC)

Michigan Intercollegiate (MIAA)

NAIA

Crossroads League (CL)

Chicagoland Collegiate (CCAC)

Wolverine Hoosier (WHAC)

River States Conference (RSC)

Junior College 

Mid-West Athletic (MWAC)

Michigan Community College (MCCAA)

Thixton going out with a bang at Indiana Wesleyan

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Tye Thixton figures he was born to play baseball.

He is named for his great grandfather on his mother Amy’s side — Leonus “Tye” Goheen, a standout pitcher in Kentucky in the 1920’s and 1930’s who once was matched up against a young Hall of Famer-to-be Dizzy Dean

Goheen led the Dawson Springs Daylight Ball Club to the state championship in 1932 and an appearance in the Little World Series in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1937.

When Tye Thixton was but a tyke his father — Jeff Thixton — introduced his oldest son to the game with wiffleball and followed him all the way through youth and travel ball and college until his passing at 50 on Jan. 10, 2020 with wife Amy and sons Tye and Trey surviving. 

“We bonded a lot of the time through baseball,” says Tye, who was granted an extra year of eligibility at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind,, because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shortened the 2020 season and is shining in 2021 (Trey Thixton, 20, is a sophomore on the IWU men’s tennis team). “I want to leave it all on the field for dad.”

Tye has his father’s initials — JLT — on his wrist tape and writes them in the dirt each time he comes up to bat.

Thixton’s Indiana Wesleyan team, which also features “COVID seniors” Tanner Killian, Austin Swift and Jon Young, goes into a Crossroads League series today (April 16) and Saturday (April 17) against visiting Huntington at 32-11 overall and 21-3 in conference play. The team has its sights on being the program’s first 40-game winner.

Center fielder and lead-off man Thixton is hitting .349 (60-of-172) with 11 home runs, one triple, 11 doubles, 45 runs batted in, 48 runs scored and is 15-of-15 in stolen bases. He sports an 1.039 OPS (.423 on-base percentage plus .616 slugging average) with 20 multi-hit games.

For his IWU career, Thixton is hitting .360 (151-of-419) with 21 homers, three triples, 28 doubles, 96 RBIs, 106 runs and is 29-of-32 in stolen bases. His OPS is 1.020 (.428 on-base percentage plus .592 slugging average).

Thixton’s most-recent circuit clout came Monday, April 13 in Game 1 of a CL doubleheader against Taylor. The two-run shot in the fourth inning to left field cut through a steady cross wind and landed on the football stadium next to Wildcat Field.

“Off the bat I was thinking, ‘get on 2,’” says Thixton. “The fact that it got out gave us a lot of momentum and helped us get into their pen.

“My whole game has changed. I’m a little bit of a power threat this year. I think the COIVD year helped guys develop. We got to spend more time in the weight room and more time to work on the swing.

“Across the board players progressing and numbers on the pitching and hitting side a lot better.”

A center fielder and No. 1 hitter in the batting order since his days at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind., Thixton relishes both roles.

“I like being able to run the outfield,” says Thixton. “It’s fun playing gap-to-gap.

“I’ve always loved being a lead-off hitter — just being able to set the tone of the game.”

Thixton, 23, is finishing up his Business Management degree. Commencement at IWU is slated for May 1.

“I’ll be done,” says Thixton of his college days which began with two years at Danville (Ill.) Area Community College, including a team MVP season in 2018. “Then I get on to the real world.”

Competing against NAIA No. 1-ranked Southeastern in Florida and No. 6 Faulkner in Alabama to begin the season in February, the Wildcats got off to an 0-7 start.

“We got walked off three times in seven games,” says Thixton. “But we knew we could compete with the highest level. We could’ve easily won three of four of those games.

“Nobody’s head was down. It was time to go on a win streak.”

And that’s just what IWU did. 

The Wildcats won their next 16 under the guidance of head coach Rich Benjamin.

“He loves all of his players,” says Thixton. “He’s done such a good job of bringing a team together and making guys want to play for each other and for him.

“We’ve got a good mix of all ages. Guys able to learn from each other. That’s really contributed to this year.”

Going through the uncertainty of the pandemic has also impacted the team’s outlook.

“We’ve played every game with the thought it could be our last,” says Thixton.

Born in Greenwood, Thixton started school at Clark Elementary in Whiteland and played at Whiteland Little League then moved to the Center Grove area as a third grader and he attended the former West Grove Elementary. 

He played in the Center Grove Little League then travel ball with a Center Grove team coached by Mike Chitwood that morphed into Indiana Elite Baseball and Pony Express Baseball, where his coaches were Kyle Beachy, Quentin Brown and Grant Bellak

“(Brown and Bellak) were a blast to be around,” says Thixton. “They helped me develop my game so much. 

Thixton graduated from Center Grove High School in 2016. Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Dave Gandolph was in his final season with the Trojans while Thixton played on the junior varsity as a freshman. 

Keith Hatfield was Thixton’s varsity coach for three CG seasons.

What is Thixton’s impressions of Hatfield?

“It’s his passion for the game,” says Thixton. “We had so much fun playing with Coach Hatfield (in 2016).

“We had a talented group of seniors. We lost to (eventual IHSAA Class 4A state champion) Roncalli in the (Plainfield) Semistate.”

Clayton Hicks, who is now head coach at Danville Area, was an assistant when he recruited Thixton for the Jaguars and got him to play for head coach Tim Bunton.

“He’s the best baseball mind I’ve ever been around,” says Thixton of Bunton. “He took my game to a completely different level mentally.

“It was about winning every pitch and winning the little things in baseball.

“There are so many metrics now. But the game still comes down to the mental side and what to do when the ball is in play

“What you can do at-bat to help your team team?”

In two seasons at Danville Area (2017 and 2018), Thixton hit .376 (139-of-369) in 101 games (98 starts).

In the summers after his freshman and sophomore years, Thixton played for the Hicks-managed Hannibal Hoots in 2017 and the St. Louis Kats in 2018.

Tye Thixton (Indiana Wesleyan University Photo)

Taylor, IU Southeast, Marian, UIndy, Indiana Wesleyan among streaking teams

BY STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

As winter has turned to spring, the hottest college baseball programs in the state — based on current win streaks — are at Taylor, Indiana University Southeast, Marian, Indianapolis and Indiana Wesleyan.

Among NAIA squads, there’s the Taylor Trojans (21-6) with 14 straight wins, IU Southeast Grenadiers (17-11) and Marian Knights (15-8) with eight each and Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats (21-8) with five. NCAA D-II’s UIndy Greyhounds (7-7) have six straight triumphs (including a 4-0 weekend series vs. Truman).

Among regulars, Conner Crawford (.357 with three home runs) paces the Taylor offense. Anderson High School graduate Joe Moran (5-2, 2.45 earned run average) is the Trojans’ top moundsman.

Brody Tanksley (.392 with seven homers) leads IU Southeast batters. Drew Hensley (4-2) is tops in pitching wins. Both are Bedford North Lawrence alums.

Hitter Matteo Porcellato (.329) and pitcher Kole Aping (4-0) have contributed to Marian’s success. Aping is a Beech Grove graduate.

M.J. Stavoia (.411) and Jon Young (4-0) are IWU stalwarts.

By the way, Crossroads League frontrunners Indiana Wesleyan (12-0) and Taylor (10-0) are slated to meet April 9 and 10 in doubleheaders at IWU.

Brandon DeWitt (.475) and Greenwood Community grad Reid Werner (2-1) have been key performers for Indianapolis.

Taylor (4-0 vs. Mount Vernon Nazarene), IU Southeast (3-0 at Ohio Christian), Marian (2-0 vs. Spring Arbor), UIndy (4-0 vs. Truman) and Indiana Wesleyan (4-0 at Goshen) are all coming off weekend series wins as are NAIA members Oakland City (11-11) 3-0 vs. Rio Grande and NCAA D-II’s Purdue Northwest (6-3) 3-0 vs. Wisconsin Parkside.

NCAA D-I series victors included Indiana State (11-6) 3-1 at Alabama-Birmingham, Indiana (9-2) 2-1 vs. Purdue, Notre Dame (9-3) 2-1 vs. Duke, Ball State (9-8) 3-1 vs. Western Michigan, Evansville (9-10) 2-1 at Butler and Purdue Fort Wayne (7-8) 3-1 vs. Oakland.

Max Wright is hitting .339 with four homers for Indiana State. Geremy Guerrero (4-0, 1.14) has been the Sycamores’ top pitcher.

Evansville Memorial graduate Drew Ashley (.395) and Carmel alum Tommy Sommer (2-0, 1.40) are among those who have shined for Indiana.

Ball State has been sparked by Adam Tellier (.429) and John Baker (2-1, 1.11).

Kenton Crews (Heritage Hills alum) became the first Evansville player during the NCAA D-I era to hit for the cycle when he produced a single, double, triple and home run in Sunday’s win at Butler.

Notre Dame played its first home games since 2019. Irish hitters led so far in 2021 by Jared Miller (.380 with three homers). Niko Kavadas (Penn graduate) is hitting .302 with seven homers. Starter John Michael Bertrand and reliever Liam Simon are both 3-0.

Purdue Fort Wayne regular and Hamilton Southeastern product Jack Lang (.354) is among the Mastodons’ leaders as is Jacob Myer (3-0, 1.61).

At the NCAA D-III level, Hanover (6-2) went 2-0 vs. Mount St. Joseph, Wabash (7-5) 4-0 vs. Trine, Anderson (6-4) 3-1 for the weekend — 1-1 at Earhlam Saturday and 2-0 vs. Bluffton Sunday.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL

Records Through March 21

NCAA Division I

Indiana State 11-6 (0-0 MVC) 

Indiana 9-2 (9-2 Big Ten) 

Notre Dame 9-3 (9-3 ACC) 

Ball State 9-8 (3-1 MAC) 

Evansville 9-10 (1-3 MVC) 

Purdue Fort Wayne 7-8 (4-4 HL) 

Valparaiso 4-9 (0-0 MVC) 

Butler 3-4 (0-0 Big East) 

Purdue 2-9 (2-9 Big Ten) 

NCAA Division II

Indianapolis 7-7 (6-2 GLVC) 

Purdue Northwest 6-3 (0-0 GLIAC) 

Southern Indiana 4-10 (2-6 GLVC) 

NCAA Division III

Earlham 7-3 (7-3 HCAC) 

DePauw 7-6 (0-0 NCAC) 

Hanover 6-2 (6-2 HCAC) 

Franklin 5-3 (5-3 HCAC) 

Wabash 7-5 (0-0 NCAC)

Rose-Hulman 4-3 (4-3 HCAC) 

Anderson 6-4 (6-4 HCAC) 

Manchester 3-7 (3-7 HCAC) 

Trine 0-9 (0-0 MIAA) 

NAIA

Indiana Wesleyan 21-8 (12-0 CL) 

Taylor 21-6 (10-0 CL) 

Indiana University Southeast 17-11 (8-0 RSC) 

Huntington 15-5 (8-4 CL) 

Marian 15-8 (8-2 CL) 

Saint Francis 14-11 (6-6 CL) 

Oakland City 11-11 (4-5 RSC) 

Indiana University-Kokomo 9-12 (3-6 RSC) 

Indiana Tech 8-13 (0-1 WHAC) 

Grace 8-13 (5-7 CL) 

Indiana University South Bend 6-12 (2-2 CCAC) 

Bethel 5-20 (2-10 CL) 

Calumet of Saint Joseph 1-11 (1-1 CCAC) 

Goshen 0-17 (0-12 CL) 

Junior College

Vincennes 12-6 (2-2 MWAC) 

Ivy Tech Northeast 10-12 

Ancilla 4-11 (0-0 MCCAA)