TERRE HAUTE —
At 44, Clinton native Ron Alabaugh feels like he’s doing what he should be in life.
Having graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in social studies education this past May and earning his first teaching job at Rockville High School soon afterward, he convinced the school to hire him in September to replace Ryan Luce as its girls basketball coach. Luce had shifted over to guide the Rox boys basketball team.
The Rockville girls finished with an 8-13 record last season. But Alabaugh — who played basketball and baseball at South Vermillion in the 1980s and worked as an assistant baseball coach at Rockville in recent years — believes this squad is capable of improvement.
“We’re returning nine varsity players from last season,” he told the Tribune-Star. “They give great effort and this team will be well balanced.”
Alabaugh said the only senior is 5-foot-8 starting forward Meghan Bullington. Adding spark to the front line should be 5-10 sophomore Meagan White and 5-6 junior Paige Boardman.
The new coach also mentioned what he called three equally talented guards in 5-5 sophomore Morgan Black, 5-5 junior Alexia Lear and 5-6 sophomore Caylin Fellows.
“We’re going to try to find a new identity this year,” Alabaugh emphasized. “Meghan will be one of the leaders.”
He added that his biggest concern is how quickly the girls can pick up his new style of play. “I’m hoping they get used to it right off the bat,” he noted.
Alabaugh explained why he wanted this job.
“I’ve been involved in youth sports a lot and coaching is something that I’ve been wanting to do my entire life,” he said. “And so now I’m getting the opportunity, finally.”
Alabaugh admitted that he’s still becoming familiar with other teams in the Wabash River Conference, but he thinks Attica is likely to be a top contender for the title.
“I know North Vermillion and Riverton Parke lost some good players [to graduation],” he added, “but they’ll still be competitive.”
Rockville’s first game is tonight at South Putnam.
• • •
Other Indiana girls basketball teams from the Wabash Valley to keep an eye on:
• Sullivan — Now in her 11th season at the helm of the Golden Arrows, Julie Meeks has fond memories of her 2012-13 squad that finished 23-3 and won a Class 2A sectional championship a year ago.
She realizes, however, that repeating that success will be a tough task, considering her starting five has graduated.
“I have practically a new team this year,” Meeks said in a text message over the weekend. “Emily Cottom, a senior, has the most varsity experience and she tore her [anterior cruciate ligament] in the first practice. I was looking for her to score double figures and handle the ball quite a bit for us.
“Kaiti Basinger, a senior guard, got some playing time on the varsity last year. I look for senior leadership and scoring from Kaiti. Along with her are Kiersey Judson, Jenni Wilkes and Peyton Garrett, all seniors. I have a freshman in Ashley Durall who will start and help us out. Junior Skye Dillingham, coming off knee surgeries, hasn’t played since her freshman year [but] will help us. Sophomores Katie Day and Kyndall McDonald will get a lot of playing time.
“We also have another freshman, McKenzie Pirtle, that will get some varsity playing time. … I have told the team, ‘Let’s work hard, have great attitudes and play hard in games and see where it takes us.’ We will improve as the season goes on.”
Sullivan will play host to Riverton Parke tonight.
• Clay City — The Eels, who slumped to 7-14 in 2012-13 after enjoying plenty of success in previous season, are looking to make a comeback under the guidance of sixth-year coach Chris Ames.
“Returnees are [sophomore Alisha] Steward, [senior Alex] Wolfe, [senior Kylee] Truax, [junior Logan] Ellinger, [senior Claire] Miller and [senior Mahayle] Durga,” Ames explained in an email. “Expect a lot out of our core players returning this year. We also have several young kids coming in that we are looking to help us — such as [sophomore Alexis] Price, [sophomore Courtney] Brown and [sophomore Emily] Rogers. Keys for us are to be able to defend people and rebound the basketball in order to be competitive.”
Price is the Eels’ tallest player at 6-0.
Clay City will open its season Friday at home against Eminence.
• Linton — The Miners, who are coming off a 3-19 campaign, will open a new season tonight at Monrovia.
“We return seven of our top eight players from last year,” sixth-year coach Brad McKinney mentioned in an email over the weekend. “The four seniors have started since their sophomore season.
“Mercedes Shafford is our leading scorer and rebounder returning from last year. She is joined by point guard Brilee Parker, forward Courtney Johnson and guard Carlie Booe. Last year’s ‘sixth man’ Avaree Dunn also will be in the mix. Freshman Taylor Thuis will provide some size we have been not had the past few years. We have got to find a way to increase our offensive output over the past couple of years to make the step forward as a program.”
• Others — Shakamak captured a Class A sectional crown and ended up 12-12 in 2012-13. The Lakers, with sixth-year coach Troy Fougerousse in charge again, will tip off a new campaign tonight at Washington Catholic. … Riverton Parke, which finished 19-4 and battled eventual winner North Vermillion for a Class A sectional championship with Josh Douglass at the helm a year ago, will travel to Sullivan for its opener tonight. … With Tim Terry beginning his 34th season of coaching South Vermillion, the Wildcats will tangle with Western Indiana Conference foe West Vigo in the first round of the Terre Haute Savings Bank Tip-Off Tournament at 7:30 p.m. today in the Vikings’ gym. South Vermillion was 3-18 last season. … North Central, 7-15 last season, will face Owen Valley at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the THSB Tip-Off Tournament at West Vigo. The Thunderbirds are guided by second-year coach Jacob Cummings. … Union was 9-12 last season and eighth-year coach Benji Boyd will try to kick off a new season on a positive note Thursday at home against Cloverdale. … North Vermillion, coached by Terry Naylor, should have a difficult time duplicating its 24-3 mark with a Class A sectional title from a year ago. But the Falcons will try, starting tonight at Southmont. … Jeff Thompson is back to try to turn around the fortunes of Turkey Run, which ended up 2-19 in his first season there in 2012-13. The Warriors were slated to get started Monday night at Eminence.
TERRE HAUTE —
At 44, Clinton native Ron Alabaugh feels like he’s doing what he should be in life.
- High School
West Vigo baseball wins in rout
When Brandin Behringer drove in his first run Thursday evening, it gave West Vigo a short-lived lead in nonconference high school baseball.
The remainder of the Viking senior’s RBIs came four at a time in the bottom of the fourth inning, his grand-slam homer capping the second of consecutive seven-run innings that sent his team to a 15-3 win over visiting North Vermillion.
Prep roundup: Vikings get big hits to beat North Vermillion on softball diamond
The West Vigo softball team improved to 4-3 for the season with an 11-4 victory over North Vermillion on Thursday.
Leah Morrison busted the game open with a three-run double in the Vikings’ seven-run fourth inning.
Kenzie Little chipped in with a two-run triple in the sixth and Hannah Harden tossed a complete-game for the pitching win.
Prep baseball: Northview beats top-ranked Shakamak
Damon Bass pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out seven to lead Northview to a 7-0 high school baseball victory over Shakamak.
The visiting Knights blew open a tight game against Class A’s top-ranked team with a four-run seventh inning.
Austin Butts and Jake Harden combined for six hits for Northview.
PREP ROUNDUP: North girls tennis wins 5-0 at Plainfield
Terre Haute North’s girls tennis team swept its opening match of the high school season as it defeated Plainfield 5-0 on Wednesday.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall
My email box is a little less busy now, and there’ll be a familiar face missing on basketball trips to Marshall in the future.
Roncalli fights past North Central in extra innings on way to Braves Bash title
Roncalli became a three-time Gold Bracket champion of the sixth annual Braves Bash high school softball tournament at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex Saturday night by defeating Evansville Mater Dei 7-1 in the title game.
The 12-team round-robin tournament, which started Friday evening with three pools, and concluded with bracket championships Saturday night.
Sullivan enjoys record golf day at Northview Invitational
Sullivan and No. 1 player Nathan Pirtle were top finishers in the Northview Invitational for high school boys golf teams played Saturday at Forest Park.
TH North loses to McCutcheon, beats Harrison (West Lafayette)
Terre Haute North bounced back from a big loss to host McCutcheon to defeat Harrison (West Lafayette) in a pair of high school baseball games Saturday.
The Mavericks defeated the Patriots 17-7 early Saturday, but North beat the Raiders 9-4 later in the day.
West Vigo baseball drops first two in Center Grove Classic
West Vigo hammered the baseball all over the field and had a double-digit lead through three innings early in the week at Seeger before rain washed it out short of a complete game.
TH South sweeps MIC baseball doubleheader
Justin Jenkins and Timmy Herrin led visiting Terre Haute South to a sweep of a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball doubleheader Saturday at Indianapolis North Central.
Opening their final MIC season, the Braves won the opener 9-6 and the nightcap 8-6.
Braves Softball Bash a 'premier' early-season tournament
The Braves Softball Bash has grown to 12 schools in 2014, with high school teams looking to gauge their early-season progress against quality competition.
The host Braves have put together a solid 3-1 start that includes a doubleheader sweep of Casey, Ill., a newcomer to the field along with West Vigo.
Golf season gets going Saturday with Northview Invitational
Most high school boys golf teams in the area will get the season started Saturday in the Northview Invitational at Forest Park.
New players will be in the lineups for many of the teams. Sullivan and Greencastle are the leaders in returning players.
PREP ROUNDUP: Allen homers in North softball win
Jazmine Allen had her first home run of the season and she and Conner Nelson combined for five hits and four RBIs as Terre Haute North defeated Sullivan 8-1 on Thursday in nonconference high school softball.
PREP ROUNDUP: South offense leads Braves to dominant win over Lincoln
Justin Jenkins had three hits and Jacob Johnson and Zach Donnelly drove in four runs apiece as Terre Haute South rolled to a 15-2 high school baseball victory Wednesday at Vincennes Lincoln.
Terre Haute North tops Sullivan, falls to Class A No. 1 Shakamak
Class A No. 1-ranked Shakamak got a big pitching performance and big hits from Braxton and Brett Yeryar Tuesday night while beating Terre Haute North 5-2 at Don Jennings Field.
Prep roundup: West Vigo softball wins in 4 1/2 innings
Charity Lane, Shelby Edington, Baylee Waters and Leah Morrison each had two hits and Lane knocked in three runs to lead West Vigo past visiting Turkey Run 13-2 in a run-rule high school softball game that went 4 1/2 innings Tuesday.
Terre Haute South cruises to Braves Bash title
Terre Haute South knew it had a deep pitching staff going into the 11th annual Braves Bash baseball tournament and that proved to be true. But the Braves’ offense surprised everyone but the players Saturday as South won two 10-run-rule games en route to the championship.
South defeated Mount Vernon 10-0 Saturday morning and capped the championship with a 14-4, come-from-behind victory over Munster in the finale.
PREP ROUNDUP: Collett homers as North splits doubleheader
Sophomore T.J. Collett hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader as Terre Haute North opened its high school baseball season with a 9-3 victory over host Hamilton Southeastern on Saturday.
The Patriots lost the nightcap 6-0 after three first-inning errors led to three unearned runs.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
PREP TRACK PREVIEW: Raetz, Holman among new coaches
Two new coaches are in charge among the eight Vigo County and Northview high school track teams in 2014, although one of them isn’t really that new.
Mark Raetz has taken over the Northview boys for Chad Smith, who is battling an illness. Raetz formerly headed the Terre Haute South boys program for two seasons.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Season preview: Vigo County, Northview baseball teams ready to roll
To no one’s surprise, Wabash Valley baseball fans don’t have to leave Vigo County — although they certainly could, as described later in this article — to find talented baseball players on the high school diamond this spring.
Terre Haute North has a quartet of .300 hitters returning — Zach Milam, Jonathan Eilbracht, Nathan Will and Lane Dransfield — in addition to super sophomore T.J. Collett, who led the Patriots with a team-best 50 runs batted in for the 24-7 Patriots last season. Collett hit .424 with six doubles, two triples and nine home runs as a freshman.
PREP ROUNDUP: Marlow's 10 RBI leads Braves' softball at Casey
Terre Haute South’s Kelsey Marlow had 10 runs-batted-in during a doubleheader sweep at Casey.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
Girls state finals leaving Terre Haute
The IHSAA and city of Terre Haute are still on excellent terms, insists Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Dave Patterson. But that didn’t keep the girls basketball state finals from returning to Indianapolis in 2015 after a three-year stint with Terre Haute’s Hulman Center serving as the host venue.
TH South comes out swinging in softball opener
The combination of experience and talent has created great expectations, from both the fans and players, for the Terre Haute South High School softball team. The Braves displayed both Friday afternoon in an impressive 11-4 season-opening victory over host Southmont.
SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Big Four teams looking to build off strong 2013 seasons
Although any of the four would have liked more postseason success, the spring of 2013 was a good one for the Big Four high school softball teams. That’s good news.
Even better news for the three Vigo County teams is that very few seniors who contributed to that success are missing, and hopes are even higher this year.
Til it's over: Long wait finally over for first-year West Vigo baseball coach
My sincerest apology if I jinx it, but winter should be done now. This means, first and foremost, baseball season has arrived. It’s been a long winter for Culley DeGroote, in particular. He takes over the West Vigo program that his father Steve DeGroote built into a perennial winner.
Metro sports: Silver Crown field filling up for Action Track
More than a dozen drivers are scheduled to seek their initial U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown championship victory April 6 when the Sumar Classic is run at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Amey Takes Aim: Columnist’s boys basketball tradition continues
In marked contrast to my recent whiny column about girls basketball, I was blessed this winter to see virtually every high school team in the Wabash Valley during the boys season.
Some might suggest that was a mixed blessing, since a few of our teams weren’t as successful as they are used to being (particularly in the 2014 portion of the season), but the Tribune-Star was still involved with two teams that came within a game of the state finals, one of them in an Indiana final four (no capitalization anymore, new system) and two teams that were in the top eight of their class. That’s only three great teams — Paris was both a game away and in the final eight — but that’s still a pretty good haul.
- More High School Headlines
- West Vigo baseball wins in rout