TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute South, Terre Haute North, Northview and West Vigo return veteran pitchers to the high school baseball mound this spring, some more than others.
But all four coaches agree some actual spring weather would be nice so they can get their defenses out of the gymnasium and onto the baseball diamond to better help those pitchers out.
Braves’ coach Kyle Kraemer is fired up to have a senior trio of Cody Brock, Damon Olds and Pete Lannoo that had quality junior seasons on the hill. Terre Haute North features strong-armed junior Austin Hicks, West Vigo features a pair of southpaws — Brandon Calleja and Kevin Stewart — with vast experience, and Northview senior right-hander Craig Peters leads a staff that coach Scott McDonald says is seven or eight deep.
Let’s take a closer look (in alphabetical order) at the outlook for all four teams:
I I I
n Northview — Coming off a 21-win season and Class 4A sectional title, the Knights are hoping to maintan a high level of success.
Northview will mix in several underclassmen on the mound with the aforementioned Peters, who doubles as the Knights’ shortstop, and senior righty Brock Smith, who is the likley No. 2 in the rotation.
Left-hander Damon Bass was a spot starter as a freshman in 2012, and freshman right-handers Tucker Stewart and Nathan Thomas will be in the mix this spring along with junior Trevor Hetrick.
“Don’t have anybody that will get a ton of strikeouts, but we’re around the plate a lot,” McDonald said.
At the plate, junior Connor Pierce returns to the middle of the lineup, and Devin Clark returns to the top of the lineup. Clark led the team in stolen bases.
“We’ll have a lot of team speed,” McDonald said. “Maybe the fastest team I’ve had. Just have to put the ball in play.”
Junior infielder Connor Ganly, who had a game-winning double in that sectional championship, and junior infielder Kyle Moore are also returnees.
Joe Ball and Bo Stewart are competitors for the starting catcher job, and Ball could also earn time in the outfield.
“I think our defense will be our strongest point. I can’t tell right now,” McDonald said.
Northview (21-9) plays in a scrimmage Thursday against Crawfordsville.
n Terre Haute North — The Patriots graduated a pair of Division I hitters — Tony Rosselli (Indiana State) and Cody Gardner (Wright State) — but coach Shawn Turner is excited about a good mix of veterans and young players who are looking to build on an 18-win campaign.
Hicks led North with a 2.14 earned-run average last season in 39 1/3 innings as a sophomore. Sophomore Greg Hannum, a “hard-throwing and heady” right-hander, could be the Patriots’ No. 2 pitcher, while Tristan Pate slots in at No. 3 on the mound, Turner said.
“He’s picked up velocity and added more movement,” Turner said of Hicks. “He mixes his pitches a little bit better. Any time you can throw three or more pitches where you want them, that’s a good sign.”
The Patriots also lost .300-hitting outfielder Nick Long to a knee injury this season, but senior Sam Wulf, junior third baseman Zach Milam and senior outfielder Colton Pittman all return after batting over .300 last spring.
Wolf is the top returning run producer who’s likely to bat cleanup this year. Milam was second on the Patriots in runs scored in 2012.
“We’re excited to see Wolf complete his high school career with a lot of success,” Turner said. “Zach has a very bright future. Colton is a very strong hitter, hits to all fields, runs well. And has a very hard-throwing arm.”
Junior Jonathan Eilbracht, sophomore Cody Maloon — who’s also a pitcher — Hicks and senior Gabe Sevigny will be in the mix in the middle infield.
“All four are pretty strong,” Turner said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
In the outfield, junior Lane Dransfield will move to center field after playing some in left last year. The lefty will also do some pitching.
“Pretty smooth kid, covers a lot of ground. We’ve had a lot of good center fielders over the years, and he’s another one that fits right into the mix,” Turner said.
Senior MacKenzie Minger looks to take over in right field.
At catcher, freshman T.J. Collett, junior Jake Schlosser, Hannum and junior Nathan Will are all in the mix.
Left-handed pitcher Nick Norton will also add depth for North on the mound.
“I think going in that we have the most talent that we’ve had across the field since I’ve been there. We may not have the dominating one, two or three presence we had when [Josh] Phegley and [Nick] Ciolli were playing. This is a very tallented group.”
n Terre Haute South — Terre Haute South came up short in a bid for a sixth straight Class 4A Sectional crown, but the Braves are enthusiastic about getting back to work on starting another streak.
Brock went 7-0 on the mound in 2012 with a 2.32 ERA, while also batting .300 with five home runs and 26 RBIs.
Lannoo chipped in three wins, four saves and a 3.30 ERA, while Olds struck out 49 in 34 1/3 innings to get three wins. Throw in sophomore left-hander Timmy Herrin, who got some experience as a freshman, and freshman right-hander Logan Ames and Kraemer likes the looks of his staff.
“I don't know that we’ve ever had three senior pitchers,” Kraemer said. “They’ve all logged considerable innings. We're interested in seeing what those pitchers can do this year.”
South’s lineup features some veteran returnees as well. Brock, Lannoo (.387, 17 RBIs) and senior catcher Preston Tofaute (.330, 3 homers, 28 RBIs) will make up a formidable middle of the order.
Shortstop Jacob Johnson (.348, 19 RBIs, 57 runs, 18 stolen bases) will be the South table-setter once again.
Kraemer is looking to fill holes at second base, third base and all three outfield spots.
Senior Cam Higgins and sophomore Jared Wolfe are vying for second base, while Zach Donnally and sophomore Conner Shipley — also a potential pitcher — are battling at third base.
In the outfield, freshman Justin Jenkins and junior Nathan Reed are potential starters in center field, while Sander Downs and Clayton Streeter are working in left field. Austin Slover, a junior, could man right field.
South has the makings of a successful team, but “we have to have guys step up and earn the other spots,” Kraemer said.
n West Vigo — The Vikings have 12 players that started at least one game last season, coach Steve DeGroote said, meaning he expects improvement on a 20-10 campaign. The Vikings finished second in the Western Indiana Conference.
Twin brothers Kevin and Kyle Stewart are two key leaders for the Vikings, DeGroote said. Kevin, a left-handed pitcher, finished strong in 2012 on the mound. He’s joined by Calleja, a southpaw who won seven games.
Kyle Stewart batted third for the Vikings, finishing with a .439 average. He and senior outfielder Kade Lindsey — a .305 hitter in the leadoff spot — are key to making the Vikings offense go.
Senior infielder Lucas Fagg batted .450 as a sophomore and .325 last season with 21 RBIs, DeGroote said.
“He really worked on his pitching. He can throw hard, he’s a prospective pitcher and probably bats among the top five,” DeGroote said.
Sophomore infielder David Inman hit .345 as a freshman with 25 RBIs.
“We’ve had an awesome offseason and worked so hard in the weight room. We’re going to be tough,” DeGroote said.
Austin Wallace and sophomore Donnie Ames split time behind the plate for the Vikings.
Braiden Cardinal is also hoping to return to the lineup at third base as a “much improved” player, DeGroote said.
Brandon Behringer and Alex West will battle for playing time at first base, DeGroote said.
“Behringer really came on in the summer. Some of these kids just put time in. He’s a left-handed hitter that realy improved. West started last year as a freshman,” DeGroote said.
Freshman Jordan Schaffer could fill in at second base when Fagg is pitching. Freshman Bryson Scank is another potential contributor as an infielder/pitcher.
“I’m just ecstatic. I’ve got more kids than I can mention. I couldn’t ask for more to work with and better attitudes and better leadership,” DeGroote said. “I’ve got speed. I don’t have a [Jeremy] Lucas or a [Tyler] Wampler, but I’ve really got some talent here. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”
TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute South, Terre Haute North, Northview and West Vigo return veteran pitchers to the high school baseball mound this spring, some more than others.
- High School
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Rick Risinger spoke this past week about defense being the key to securing a win against a talented Fort Wayne Canterbury girls basketball squad in the Class 2A state championship game.
Coach Risinger’s Heritage Christian squad rose to the occasion Saturday in Hulman Center, holding the Cavaliers to 33-percent shooting to claim the school’s fifth state title since joining the IHSAA in 2003.
The Eagles won their first title since 2009 by a score of 64-61.
Class A girls: Oregon-Davis holds off Vincennes Rivet
Oregon-Davis jumped out to a 15-2 lead when senior Alicia McIntosh drilled a 3-pointer in Saturday’s Class A state championship for girls high school basketball.
The Bobcats stretched that lead to as large as 17 before halftime, and still led by double figures with three minutes remaining.
Class 3A girls: Western over Evansville Mater Dei 38-35
Like Fort Wayne Canterbury in the Class 2A championship, two-time defending Class 2A champion Evansville Mater Dei found the going much more tough when moving up one class due to the IHSAA’s “Team Success Factor” legislation.
Mater Dei (26-2), which had an average margin of victory of 27 points throughout the season, struggled against Western’s 2-3 zone all night long in falling to the Panthers 38-35.
Class 4A girls: Bedford North Lawrence wins second straight title
Damon Bailey guided Bedford North Lawrence to a second straight state championship in his first year as head coach.
Bailey, an assistant on the Stars’ unbeaten Class 4A champions in 2013, watched his team hold off a scrappy Penn squad for a 51-41 victory Saturday night.
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Damon Bailey among coaches directing daughters at Hulman Center on Saturday
Father-daughter bonding was among the themes Saturday at Hulman Center as Terre Haute played host to the IHSAA girls basketball state finals for a third straight year.
Class 4A title favorite Bedford North Lawrence looked to repeat as champions late Saturday night. Former BNL state champion and Indiana Hoosier great Damon Bailey led his Stars into the game with a pair of daughters on the court. Junior Alexa Bailey, wearing No. 22 of course, is a Butler recruit and sophomore Loren is a reserve for the Stars.
Owen Valley, Edgewood in sectional final again
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Temples’ 3-pointers help Paris advance
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Ailing Wilkey helps Rockville advance to title game
For part of Friday, doubt existed about whether flu-stricken Rockville standout Keiontre’ Wilkey would be able to play in the first semifinal game of the Class A North Vermillion Sectional for boys basketball. The junior guard gutted it out, however, and tallied 17 points to help lead the Rox over the host high school 61-53. That sent them into tonight’s sectional championship game against No. 7-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic.
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Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
An accomplished group of girls basketball coaches will make their way into Hulman Center on Saturday for the IHSAA state finals.
Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
Terre Haute South ran into a championship performance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for boys high school basketball. Martinsville’s Troy Spears scored 30 points while leading the Artesians to a 65-44 victory that ended South’s season.
North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
There’ll be no Cinderella story in Dugger to end this boys high school basketball season, and a spirited upset bid also fell short Tuesday night at the Class A White River Valley Sectional.
Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
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Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
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AMEY TAKES AIM: Bringing you the Amey Teams for girls basketball
Our Wabash Valley teams won’t be represented when the Indiana girls state basketball finals return again to Hulman Center on March 8 (even though the Class 4A title will probably be decided this weekend when Lawrence North plays Bedford North Lawrence in a semistate game).
I wish some of our girls teams had been able to play longer for a purely selfish reason: that might have given me an opportunity to see one or two of their games.
South boys fall to Southport, finish regular season 8-14
Terre Haute South got an up-close look Thursday night at what a Conference Indiana championship boys basketball team looks like. And Southport is big and quick.
Southport, led by 6-foot-10 sophomore Joey Brunk and junior guard Malik Bennett overpowered South’s Braves 61-49 at Southport Fieldhouse. Brunk had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett scored 21 points.
VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals
Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.
Casey advances to regional title game
Casey will be in the championship game of the Class 2A Robinson Regional for boys high school basketball teams Friday night. The Warriors gained their spot in the title tilt with a 55-42 victory over Marshall on Wednesday.
Cloverdale joins Pizza Hut Classic field
The Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic has a new team, but the newcomer for the 2014 tournament is led by a familiar name to Terre Haute basketball. Pat Rady’s Cloverdale Clovers, currently 19-1 this season, will join the field as a likely contender.
Preps: Northview rallies past Linton in boys basketball
Ethan Whitson, Christian Ellis and Jim Mace tallied 19, 18 and 10 points respectively as host Northview overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Linton 62-57 in boys high school basketball Wednesday night.
Terre Haute North plays well but doesn't finish at Bedford North Lawrence
Visiting Terre Haute North did everything but win a nonconference high school basketball game Tuesday at Bedford North Lawrence.
The Patriots shot better, dominated the boards and reversed the game’s momentum with a second-half defensive adjustment, but only once got the lead above a one-possession one. That cost North in the end, when the Stars scored the last six points to win 42-38.
- More High School Headlines
- Class 2A girls: Rick Risinger coaches Heritage to fifth state title