News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 20, 2014

Out of reach

North players, fans soak in atmosphere as Patriots fall 2-1 in 4A title game

INDIANAPOLIS — Terre Haute North high school faced off against Noblesville in the 48th annual baseball state finals at Victory Field on Friday.

Noblesville defeated the Patriots 2 to 1 after gaining a late-game lead.

“The Patriots have had a few instances where they had the bases loaded,” said Jennifer Mullen, 1998 North High school alumnae. “They just couldn’t pull through.”

The atmosphere drew a hint of excitement all the way to the end of the seventh inning. Fans laughed, shook hands and screamed as they cheered on the Patriots, who haven’t been to a baseball state championship game since 1988, a game they lost. The last time North won a baseball championship was 1974.

“It really is a blessing for us to be here,” said Stephen Moore, who volunteer coached for the North team in ’74 and worked his way to assistant coach in ’83. “Coach Turner knows baseball. North is a very fundamental team.”

Standing next to Moore as they reminisced was Jim Cook, a shortstop who played for Moore. Cook said that North had a lot of “stellar athletes.” Having been a physical education teacher at North high school for 39 years, he said he came out to the championship game to “support the school and players.”

“It is great to see baseball in Terre Haute succeed,” Cook said before the first inning. “I hope to see a lot of people supporting the team here tonight.”

Indeed, there were lots people supporting the Patriots.

“You can sense the rivalry in the stadium tonight,” Mullen said as she yelled over the noise of the crowd. “The crowd is split through the middle, and when our team does something good, we get loud and stand up. They do the same.”

A few rows down sat Steve Pilipovich, whose son played baseball at Terre Haute North High School.

“All teams in Indiana strive to get to Victory Field,” he said. “It is great for the school and community that we made it here. Baseball is big in Terre Haute and always has been.”

After the game, Patriots fans gawked in disbelief as Noblesville fans and players hugged and cheered. Blurbs like “unbelievable,” “oh, man” were uttered, and there was an undeniable look on fans’ faces as they stared onto the field.

Shawn Turner, Terre Haute North High School’s coach choked up in tears as he addressed his team and fans.

“This is where I wanted to be all season,” Turner said as he looked to his players.

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