News From Terre Haute, Indiana

From the Press Box

June 19, 2011

FROM THE PRESS BOX: No debate about quality of Vigo baseball

TERRE HAUTE — It’s standard practice for losing high school coaches — especially coaches who led teams on a deep postseason run — to heap praise on their seniors one last time. It’s even more so when one of those seniors was the rock of a given team for a four-year period.

And so it was last Saturday when Terre Haute South fell to Indianapolis Cathedral in a tight 1-0 semistate loss at Plainfield. I covered the game, and inevitably, I asked South coach Kyle Kraemer about standout senior pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed, who played his last game in a Braves’ uniform after a sterling career.

“He’s got to be the best player to ever play in Vigo County …” Kraemer said.

It threw me for a little bit of a loop when he said it. Not because what he said was hyperbole, because Reed is an outstanding baseball player, but because there were immediately other candidates that flashed in my mind.

And that’s pretty incredible. I’m no grizzled long-time Hautean. I haven’t been in Vigo County very long to have other “greatest” candidates flashing through my head, especially with Reed setting the bar as amazingly high as he did.

My first baseball season in Terre Haute was 2005. Obviously, there’s far more Vigo players of yore I haven’t seen than I’ve seen. Given that, The Best Player In Vigo County History argument is not one that I’m going to try and settle here. No way.

And I’m sure as heck not going to argue with Kraemer. In terms of his devastating double-whammy pitching and batting prowess, Reed is the best I’ve seen, Vigo County or otherwise. Reed finished his senior year with a .585 batting average, 16 home runs and 48 RBI, with teams pitching around him as a matter of course. On the mound, Reed was 8-1 with a 1.06 ERA and 108 strikeouts.

Reed was drafted in the 25th round by the New York Mets on June 7 and is undecided whether he’ll sign or play baseball at the University of Kentucky.

Outstanding … right?

Yet it’s a testament to the strength of Vigo County baseball, then, that even in a short period of time I’ve been around, the other two Vigo high schools can present legitimate candidates of their own.

You never forget the first elite player when you come to a new area and Terre Haute North’s Josh Phegley is that player for me.

In 2006, he hit .592 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI and was Indiana’s Mr. Baseball. Phegley also pitched when he wasn’t catching, and though he wasn’t in Reed’s class on the hill, he was no slouch.

Like Reed, Phegley was the leader of a semistate team that lost a close game to Indianapolis Cathedral. He was not drafted out of high school because he had earned a rare full-ride baseball scholarship to Indiana.

After his Hoosiers’ career was over, he was drafted in the sandwich round (between the first and second rounds) by the Chicago White Sox in 2009. He’s currently playing at the Double-A level at Birmingham.

Like Reed and Phegley, West Vigo catcher Jeremy Lucas was the bedrock of a 2009 Vikings team that advanced to the 3A state championship game. Lucas hit .490 and set a Vikings’ record with 49 hits that season. He wasn’t quite in Reed or Phegley’s class in terms of power, but the eight home runs he had in 2009 is excellent by normal standards for high school baseball. Lucas also had 46 RBI.

Lucas’ senior year numbers aren’t quite there with Reed or Phegley’s, but he helped lead his team one step further in the postseason, and at a very important position to boot. And for those who say it was 3A, I would submit that the difference between 4A and 3A is negligible in baseball, especially once you get past the sectional level (and West Vigo’s sectional is rarely a walk in the park).

Lucas was drafted in the 35th round in 2009 by the Baltimore Orioles, but elected to go to Indiana State. He will be a junior for the Sycamores next season.

Keep in mind, that trio is just the elite of the elite Braves, Patriots and Vikings’ candidates since 2005. The talent level goes oh so much deeper.

The excellence continues with players like North’s Nick Ciolli, Joe Meggs, Skyler Pearson, Michael Eberle, Parker Fulkerson, Brandon Dorsett and the late Jordan Shaw-Tyler. Or South’s Jacob Hayes, Koby Kraemer and Cole Vicars. Or West Vigo’s Jordan Pearson and Tyler Wampler — both ex-Vikings probably the closest to Reed since 2005 in the hitting-pitching combo department — with Cameron Fagg and Scott West.

All of the aforementioned Vigo baseball alumni play or played Division I baseball, or would have played in Shaw-Tyler’s case, at some point in their post-high school careers. (Apologies if I left a Division I name or two out. There’s so many players who have excelled since 2005, it’s hard to keep track of them all.)

My point in reeling off these names isn’t necessarily to ballyhoo any one player’s ability against another. It’s to point out how unbelievably good baseball is in Vigo County, even using a very small seven-season sample size.

 There are other counties around the state, most of them in fact, that would kill for that level of talent over a 25-year (or more) period. Factor in the counties adjacent to Vigo County (former Northview star Brady Shoemaker only misses the elite list above by dint of geography) and the talent pool deepens.

Finally, imagine all of the pre-2005 names I didn’t list because I wasn’t here to see them. The names in the debate many of you can have would be so much deeper than mine.

But I’m not here to debate, I just want to celebrate. There is no question in my mind that baseball is the best-played sport in Vigo County. I would put Terre Haute up against any other Indiana locale as the best baseball city in the state.

Who’s better? Who’s best?

Who cares? I’m just glad I get a chance to appreciate it.

Thanks for the well-wishes — I don’t like to advertise my aches and pains — everyone has their own problems in life and mine sure as heck aren’t any more important than anyone else’s just because I have a newspaper column — but I would like to publicly thank all of those who wished me well after my recent heart catheterization.

I had it last Wednesday, and so far, I received very positive news. I will be back to full strength very soon, so I plan to cover Indiana State (unfortunately, I was recovering when the football and basketball teams made moves late last week) and all other aspects of the area sports scene per usual.

Again, thanks to all of those who had well-wishes. They are always appreciated.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Please check out Golden’s Down In The Valley blog at blogs.tribstar.com/downinthevalley.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
From the Press Box
  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Fair or unfair, ISU football most vulnerable to NCAA change

    It just doesn’t seem fair.
    Just when you think Indiana State football has achieved stability and a sense of calm, forces are ranged around it that continue to make it the most vulnerable sport offered at ISU.

    July 26, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Bigelow part of Action Track’s lifeblood

    Many things have changed since the Terre Haute Action Track opened in 1952, but the one constant is dirt.

    July 18, 2014

  • From the Press Box: Simple sports pleasures are best

    Andy Amey is the undisputed king of vacation columns in the Tribune-Star’s annals. I just returned from vacation, and while there were certainly tales to tell, I’m left with fond memories of simple sports pleasures.
    My family and I spent an extended weekend in Kansas City? Why? Why not? Truthfully, it was close, there’s a lot to do there, and we didn’t want the headache and expense of a long-haul vacation. We had a great time.

    July 8, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM FILE.jpg Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever

    First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.

    June 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Appeal of World Cup is communal

    Columnist explains appeal of World Cup.

    June 21, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Indy 500 book is intriguing look into an important era

    Doing the job I do, I get my share of books sent to me at the office. I hate to admit it, but a lot of them cross my eye for a moment, and like anyone else, if the subject matter doesn’t interest me, I don’t open it.

    June 13, 2014

  • SPT 053114 MITCH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone

    ISU coach Mitch Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Golden: Good times for ISU athletics

    I wish I had a time machine. Would I use it to correct some wrongs in my life or witness some important events in history? Sure, but that’s not what’s on my mind this instant. I’d love to go forward in time to see how the state of Indiana State’s athletic department from the present is perceived in the future.

    May 28, 2014

  • From the Press Box: Indiana lacking killer instinct against Wizards

    After Indiana eeked out a seven-game series win over Atlanta, I opined that I thought the Pacers could only truly declare themselves “back” if they took care of an emerging, but still young, Washington team in six games or less.
    After a rousing Game 4 comeback in Washington on Sunday, it appeared the Pacers were ready to do just that. Leading 3-1 in the series, the Wizards limped into Indianapolis on Tuesday and seemed ripe to be closed out by the invigorated Pacers.

    May 14, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Elite athletes? TH bows to no one

    Maybe instead of a new swimming complex, Terre Haute ought to built itself an ice rink. I mean no disrespect to swimming, but ice hockey is the only sport that Terre Haute can’t unequivocally claim an elite athlete in.

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT 101406 WALTMAN PRACTIC.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Waltman's integrity helped him rise to the top

    When I began to think about former Indiana State coach Royce Waltman — and I’ve thought about him a lot in recent months as the ravages of a stroke and cancer robbed us of his presence — I thought to myself “what can I print?”
    Waltman was many things. Blunt, plain-spoken, unfiltered? All of the above and more. Every Indiana State fan saw Waltman in action … and I had a front row seat for three years right next to him on press row.

    April 8, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • SPT 040514 COACH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Missouri Valley is tough — ISU making it tougher

    For those who measure the quality of a conference by their place in the Ratings Percentage Index, it was a tough year for the Missouri Valley Conference and its marquee sport: men’s basketball.
    The MVC was 11th in conference RPI and took all manner of criticism when Wichita State ran the MVC table for a perfect 18-0 season. The fingers that pointed at the league for fielding a weak challenge to the Shockers’ dominance were many.

    April 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: ISU's no-excuses approach for real

    If you were to ask me what the drawback of covering Indiana State baseball is? I’d be hard-pressed to name very much.

    March 29, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM BAKER.jpg Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best

    It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.

    March 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT 030814 ODUM GRAB.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge

    When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.

    March 9, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • MBBMock_packagephoto.jpg From The Press Box: The nuts and bolts of compiling a Mock Selection for the NCAA Tournament

    Before March Madness comes the March mystery of the run-up to Selection Sunday.

    February 17, 2014 3 Photos 1 Link

  • SPT 020514 ISU FANS STAND.jpg From the Press Box: Loss couldn’t ruin great day for ISU, Terre Haute

    When I write, and when I can, I like to give myself a bit of time to soak in what I’m going to write about. After Indiana State’s 65-58 loss to No. 4 Wichita State on Wednesday, I went home, had a bite to eat and pondered what I thought the night was all about.
    I knew ISU’s disappointment cut deep. Really deep. A cruel reality of sports is that losses linger on in the memory with greater resonance than wins often do. Given the shots that rattled out, fell short and missed the mark in the final five minutes, this is a defeat that will, sadly, dog the Sycamores tonight, tomorrow and 20 years from now.

    February 6, 2014 2 Photos

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Little to lose, a lot to gain for Indiana State

    It’s hard not to get excited about today’s Missouri Valley Conference summit meeting between co-leaders Indiana State and Wichita State. Who wouldn’t be?

    January 17, 2014

  • From the Press Box: I’ve seen the enemy … and it’s the double bonus

    I’ve seen the enemy.
    I’ve seen it turn the game of basketball from one of exciting flow into a nonstop parade of tedium. I’ve seen it morph hundreds of what would-be thrilling, last-minute, end-to-end conclusions into foul shooting exhibitions that suck the life out of a gym or arena near you.
    It’s the double bonus. It’s a scourge, one that is often overlooked when ideas on how to make the game more entertaining or to speed the game up are put forth.

    January 3, 2014

  • tsgolden From The Press Box: If ISU figures out defense, look out

    The Great Alaska Shootout is not going to provide the Great RPI Bump that Indiana State’s participation in last year’s Diamond Head Classic provided.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • From the Press Box: Damage is done for ISU football

    As a parent and a professional, there’s a bit of advice I’ve tried to pass along that I’ve found to be true.
    No matter what you happen to be doing — whether it be job performance or just your own personal behavior — you can do the right thing for a period of time, even the vast majority of the time, but all it takes is one slip and the goodwill you’ve built up can be gone in one fell swoop.
     

    November 24, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Munn, Odum want to make paper accomplishment a real one

    When it comes to Missouri Valley Conference Media Day, it has historically been a kick in the gut for Indiana State's basketball teams.
    But not this year. For the first time since formal MVC preseason polls began in the mid-1980s, the Sycamores rule the MVC roost.

    October 31, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Colts fans paid Manning ultimate tribute

    Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis was many things — the return of a beloved prodigal son, a battle of Colts’ No. 1-draft-pick quarterbacks and last, but not least, the visit from one of the AFC’s last reminaing undefeated teams — but most of all, it could have been a battle for the Colts’ fans soul.

    October 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • From The Press Box: ISU in top 2 of top-heavy MVC

    Change doesn’t often come to Missouri Valley Conference basketball. Until this season, it had endured with the same 10 members since the mid-1990s. But the reality of conference realignment finally hit the MVC where it lived last spring as Creighton departed for the new Big East Conference. The MVC responded by adding Loyola University.

    October 13, 2013

  • USDvISfb-84468.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Sycamores shocked by 1-5 start to season

    It was a play that not only symbolized Indiana State’s 17-14 loss at South Dakota on Saturday, but perhaps the Sycamores’ entire season.
    Down three with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, ISU faced third-and-9 from its own 39. ISU ran Shakir Bell to the left and the senior standout had daylight.

    October 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT 091513 GRIMES PICK.jpg From The Press Box: An avoidable loss

    It couldn’t last forever.

    September 15, 2013 3 Photos

  • From The Press Box: Colts dodge bullets ... it's what they do

    Just a few minutes into the second quarter, it seemed Colts fans could kick back and enjoy a Sunday on Easy Street.

    September 9, 2013

  • SPT 090713 SANFORD HAZELL.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Indiana State proves plenty in 20-14 loss at Purdue

    No moral victories?
    Bull. Its always been bull and it will always be bull. The Sycamores proved again that moral victories are very real, and can be very rewarding.
    All they needed to do to prove it was to look at the stunned faces of the Purdue faithful at Ross-Ade Stadium in the Sycamores’ near-miss 20-14 loss to Purdue.

    September 8, 2013 4 Photos

  • From the Press Box: Stipends? No. Off-field income? Oh yeah, bring it on

    The war flags have been raised. The trumpets have sounded.
    With the Johnny Manziel autograph hullabaloo and the ongoing Ed O’Bannon suit against the NCAA for using his likeness as background, many have rallied to the battle standard of stipends as a means of compensating NCAA athletes who are allegedly being exploited for income by their universities.
    This rally cry has a particular resonance among those in my profession, many of whom dislike the current system, and who detest the NCAA with a virulent passion.

    August 15, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Golf ... the beast within?

    Like many sports fans, my interest in professional golf is confined to the four major tournaments. Many prefer the Masters, some like the back-to-roots British Open, but I’ve always liked the U.S. Open the best.

    June 16, 2013

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con
NDN Video
NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now!
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity