TERRE HAUTE —
Cody Gardner enjoyed his freshman baseball season at Wright State and earned more time on the field than he honestly expected to get.
Coach Rob Cooper departed WSU after last season to take over at Penn State, however, and Gardner jumped at the chance to return to his hometown as an Indiana State Sycamore and perform for the school where two members of his family previously excelled.
“I learned a lot about the game last year,” said Gardner, who will have three years of eligibility left after sitting out next spring as a transfer. “I didn’t expect a starting position going in, but as I proved myself I earned a starting job in left field.
“Soon after I was moved to second base for the heart of the season and finally I was the designated hitter during the conference tournament. I couldn’t have asked for a better freshman year.”
Like many college athletes, the coach was a primary reason for Gardner choosing to go to the Dayton, Ohio, school. Mitch Hannahs took over for Rick Heller earlier this year, and that change led to Gardner’s decision to transfer.
“I’ve always wanted to play in the legacy of my father [John] and grandfather [Harlan Lautenschlager] at ISU, but coming out of high school I was not given the chance,” he said. “Coach Hannahs was given the head-coaching job and I saw a great opportunity to play for my hometown and under a great baseball mind. Not only was coach Hannahs a deciding factor, but the whole coaching staff is very knowledgeable in the game and I knew I would learn a lot about the game. My family has great respect for the current coaches at ISU.”
John Gardner was a standout pitcher on ISU’s only College World Series team in 1986, while Lautenschlager was an NAIA All-American infielder for the Sycamores in 1963.
Last season at Wright State, Cody Gardner played in 37 games (starting 30) and hit .222 with three doubles and 14 RBI.
He hopes to continue the family legacy in blue and white.
“As far as accomplishments go, personally I would like to earn an everyday starting position,” he said. “But I think I can speak for the whole team by saying we would love to bring another championship to the Wabash Valley and go back to the World Series like the 1986 team.”
I I I
n Valley athletes moving on — Former Terre Haute North basketball standout Jake Newton is one of several Wabash Valley athletes to make college choices this fall and sign national letters-of-intent.
Newton, a 6-foot-6 wing forward, is one of the leading scorers for Lincoln Trail Community College. He is coming off an excellent freshman season in which he was a first-team All-Great Rivers Athletic Conference selection and a second-team All-Region selection, in which he averaged 11.2 points and four rebounds per game.
Newton will continue his career next fall at Division I Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.
“Jake is a very good shooter,” SIUE Coach Lennox Forrester said of Newton. “He has an incredibly high basketball IQ. He is a very skilled and savvy player.”
Newton, who helped lead the Patriots to the sectional championship in high school, had a great impression when he visited SIUE.
“I really enjoyed my visit,” he said. “The campus was very nice and the people there were first class. It felt like a great fit in every aspect of the process, basketball as well as getting my degree.
“It’s also going to be nice to finish my college career close enough to home that my family can make it to watch some games.”
In an era when great outside shooters are not easy to come by, Newton will help fill a need for his new team.
“They were looking for a guard to come in right away and contribute,” Newton said. “Coach Forrester and his staff are looking for me to be able to score when needed and also add to rebounding from perimeter. My goal right now is to continue to get better and win a national championship here at LTC.”
n Paris baseball standout Hunter Morris also will play at the Division I level in Illinois in the spring of 2015 as an Eastern Illinois Panther.
Morris was a first-team All-Apollo selection as a sophomore and junior and holds four school baseball records. A team captain, he has helped his teams to three winning seasons.
The hard-hitting catcher was named the Terre Haute Tribune-Star Area Player of the Year in 2013 after posting a .539 batting average last season.
“Hunter is exactly the type of player you want leading your team, especially as a catcher,” Paris coach Creighton Tarr said. “His work ethic, his leadership abilities and his commitment to the game make him not only a top player in the area but also the state. Once he gets to EIU and works with coach [Jim] Schmitz and his coaching staff, I really feel he will develop into something special.”
“Hunter has been to our camps for years,” he said. “We knew he could hit but didn’t know where to play him defensively. Over the past year, his catching skills improved where he has a chance to come in and play right away.
“He has an above-average arm and is a great leader behind the plate. He gives us left-handed power.”
n Kelsey Marlow of Terre Haute South is yet another Valley standout heading to the Land of Lincoln and will play softball for Western Illinois in 2015.
Marlow comes to Macomb after being named All-Vigo County in each of her first three seasons at Terre Haute South. She led her team in batting average during her freshman year and won the team’s Gold Glove award the following season.
Last year, she was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. In her first three seasons, Marlow hit .416 with 53 stolen bases, driving in 58 runs and scoring 86 runs.
“Kelsey caught our eye with her presence on the field and her approach at the plate,” coach Holly Van Vlymen said. “She plays all out no matter where she is on the field and has a great knowledge of the game.”
I I I
Another Mount Union familiar face — North Putnam grad Hank Spencer, a sophomore starting linebacker for the defending NCAA Division III national football champions, was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District Football Team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Spencer is a computer-science major with a 4.00 grade-point average. He graduated from high school a semester early last December after excelling for coach Greg Barrett and enrolled at Mount Union last January.
A key contributor and team captain on the nation’s No. 2-ranked defense, Spencer played in all 15 games as a freshman and started the final six games as he finished third on the team in tackles. This season, he has started seven games and has 20 tackles and two forced fumbles.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Tracking former Wabash Valley athletes
(Statistics listed when available)
Patrick McCown, R-Fr., Indiana State — Became a starting defensive lineman by season’s end, finishing with three solo tackles, 10 assisted tackles, three tackles for loss, and one sack.
Shawn McCown, Fr., Rose-Hulman — Serving as a backup offensive lineman.
Jordan Greenlee-Hickam, Jr., DePauw
Tanner Parker, Jr., Hanover — Caught 20 passes for 253 yards and one touchdown.
Nick Gilliam, Fr., Siena Heights (Mich.)
Hunter Smith, Fr., Franklin — Made one assisted tackle.
Andrew Okruch (has family in Linton area), Fr., Rose-Hulman — Played nose guard, registered five unassisted tackles and six assisted along with 1.5 sacks.
Kyle Risinger (former Terre Haute resident), Jr., St. Cloud (Minn.) State — Made 33 solo tackles and 19 assisted tackles, including 2.5 for losses. Made two interceptions and recovered one fumble.
Larry Shaffer (former Northview student), Fr., University of the Cumberlands (Ky.)
Taylor Duncan, R-Jr., Eastern Illinois — Ranks second on team in rushing with 809 yards in 176 carries. Has long run of 45 yards and nine touchdowns. Has caught 26 passes for 218 yards.
Taylor Sanders, So., Millikin — Led team in receiving with 38 catches for 433 yards and two touchdowns.
Dante Rehmel, Fr., Franklin — Had four solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Also had one tackle for loss and one interception.
Lane Clark, So., Mount Union — Has made three catches for 44 yards and two touchdowns, with a long of 26 yards.
Damon Hyatt, So., DePauw — Played in seven games with two solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Returned one kickoff for 17 yards.
Trent Lancaster, R-Fr., Indiana State — Played in two games, completing 9 of 18 passes for 88 yards and one touchdown. Rushed for 37 yards in 15 carries.
Chance Talbot, R-Fr., Urbana
Keaton Neeley, Fr., Millikin
Jacob Whitacre, Fr., Rose-Hulman
James Kent, Sr., Mount Union — Starting center for the defending NCAA Division III national champions. Named second-team all-Ohio Athletic Conference.
Tophel Secuskie, Sr., DePauw — Made 13 solo tackles and 12 assisted tackles. Had 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
Matt King, Sr., Siena Heights (Mich.) — Completed 109 of 169 passes for 1,291 yards and eight touchdowns. Ran 51 times for 96 yards.
Nick Wheeler, Jr., Anderson
Cody Wheeler, So., Anderson
Derek Dean, Sr., Wabash
Adam Masters, Jr., Indiana State — Was team’s starting right guard this season.
Andy Walsh, Sr., Wabash — As the backup quarterback, completed 16 of 20 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown. Rushed 13 times for 47 yards.
Michael Thompson, Jr., Wabash
Jordan Brower, Jr., Manchester
Terre Haute North
Steve Englehart, head coach, Florida Tech — Coached team to 5-7 record in its inaugural season, capped by a 32-20 win over Alderson Broaddus in the first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference Division II Futures Bowl.
Ethan Tyler, strengthconditioning coach, Florida Tech — Is in first year at Florida Tech.
Scott Weatherford, R-Sr., Eastern Illinois — Has averaged 36.7 yards per punt with a long of 53, two touchbacks, 18 fair catches, eight landing inside the 20 and one of more than 50 yards.
Daniel Millington, strengthconditioning coach, Indiana State — In third year as assistant.
Ben King, Jr., DePauw — Made five solo tackles and three assisted tackles.
Chris O’Leary, Jr., Indiana State — Caught seven passes for 80 yards with a long of 21 yards.
A.J. Hughes, So., Virginia Tech — Has punted 64 times for 2,851 yards (a 44.5 average), ranking him second in the Atlantic Coast Conference and ninth nationally.
Tyler Lawrence, So., Earlham — Made one assisted tackle.
David Knight, So., Marian
Dakota Vermillion, R-Fr., Indiana State — Was team’s starting left tackle.
Vasco Bilberry, Fr., Kentucky Wesleyan — Ranked third on team with 32 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles. Also had one sack and one interception.
Charles Dillahunt, Fr., Wabash
Austin Lewis, Fr., Western Michigan — Played in 10 games, starting the final two of the season, recording 15 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles, two tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
Calvin Blank, Fr., Ball State — Sitting out season as a reshirt.
Cole Seward, Fr., Wabash
A.J. Grady, Fr., Dodge City Community College (Kan.) — Earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a starting guard.
Terre Haute South
Trent Miles, head coach, Georgia State — In first year as head coach at GSU after five years as head coach at Indiana State.
Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator, Louisiana State — In his first year at LSU after serving as OC of NFL’s Baltimore Ravens for the first half of last season.
Michael Engle, assistant coach, Bryant (R.I.) — In his second year as wide receivers coach.
Brock Lough, assistant coach, Georgia State — Took over early this season as running backs coach after briefly serving as graduate assistant.
Logan Buske, So., Indiana State — Caught three passes for 38 yards and one touchdown as a tight end.
Tre Stephens, Jr., Earlham — Led team in rushing with 495 yards in 120 carries and three touchdowns. Earned honorable mention all-Heartland College Athletic Conference honors.
Tyler Evans, Fr., Indiana State — Had one carry for 32 yards.
Tsali Lough, R-Fr., Indiana State — Played key role in secondary mostly as a reserve, started last game of season. Had nine solo tackles, 22 assisted tackles and two interceptions.
Thomas King, So., DePauw
Danny Etling, Fr., Purdue — Has played in seven games at quarterback, completing 116 of 218 passes (53.2 percent) for 1,205 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Also ran for one touchdown.
Zach Harper, Fr., Anderson
Seth Marshall, Sr., Greenville
Thomas Girdler, Fr., Greenville — Made one solo tackle, one unassisted tackle and one-half of a tackle for loss.
John Burt, Sr., Rose-Hulman — Had two assisted tackles, 11 solo tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception.
Ethan Boatman, Fr., Earlham — Made six solo tackles and three assisted tackles, and also had a fumble recovery.
Chris Neidinger, Fr., Hanover
TERRE HAUTE —
Cody Gardner enjoyed his freshman baseball season at Wright State and earned more time on the field than he honestly expected to get.
- Sports Columns
Ramblin’ Reck: It’s officially Tourney Time in the Valley
The regular season now has ended for most high school and college basketball teams in the area. It’s Tourney Time.
College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record
Two Wabash Valley products have helped the Ball State softball team get off to a 12-2 start, including five straight wins last weekend to capture the Louisville Slugger Invitational at Arizona State.
Redneck Quaker: Edington, Mafioli set up marriage in unique way
Kaylee Edington says being outdoors gets you away from the turmoil in life and that is why they want to include it into the most important things in their lives.
Little did she know a marriage proposal was being planned for her while she was shooting sporting clays in the great outdoors.
Ramblin Reck: Cloverdale riding 10-game winning streak
Illinois high school boys basketball teams commenced postseason play Monday night and teams in Indiana are set to close out the regular season. Two of the teams with top marks in the area are Cloverdale and Clay City and they met last Saturday to cap a good week of basketball.
TODD GOLDEN: Relax, guys: Play loose, have fun
What seems like an end can really be a beginning for Indiana State’s men’s basketball team.
Redneck Quaker: Wabash Valley Limbhangers conducting banquet March 7
Stand by for news!
No, I’m not Paul Harvey, but please read on about a lot of fun that is about to happen in the turkey-hunting and bass-fishing worlds.
Ramblin’ Reck: Regular season winding down in high school basketball
Time flies when you’re having fun … and playing basketball.
It’s hard to believe that the regular season ends this week for high school basketball teams that we cover in Illinois. The postseason begins next Monday.
Paris, Casey and Marshall have the top marks and Robinson has had some good wins playing a tough schedule.
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.
College Report: Valley pair square off in softball pitching duel
Administrators and coaches long ago scheduled the East Tennessee State and Indiana University softball teams to both compete in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta last weekend. Little could they have realized, however, that a Sunday afternoon pitching matchup between the two teams would pair two successful, blonde, and versatile performers from western Indiana in a head-to-head clash.
Redneck Quaker: National Wild Turkey Federation banquet coming Saturday
The Sycamore Ridge chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will have its banquet this coming Saturday at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Hall, 8801 E. Milner Ave.
Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 7. Food is catered by Rick’s Smokehouse; you will lick your fingers to the bone after enjoying one of their fine meals.
Ramblin’ Reck: Grizzlies shoot, make just one free throw in win
Memphis defeated Atlanta 79-76. The big point about this game is that the Grizzlies shot just one free throw in the game — and made it. That is an unofficial record for the shot-clock era.
Redneck Quaker: Everyone should meet John Steinbrenner at least once
I’m struggling to find the correct words to describe this incredible 44-year-old outdoorsman!
At times, I will get down on life and feel sorry for myself. Everyone should meet John Steinbrenner at one time n their life. This man sees no challenges, just solutions for anything he comes up against.
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.
Ramblin' Reck: Upsets leave Syracuse in No. 1 spot
A wild week of men’s college basketball action ended Sunday with Indiana’s Hoosiers knocking off Big Ten leader Michigan 63-52.
TILL IT'S OVER: Indiana Track and Field museum in Terre Haute a treasure for city
Greg Gibson and Dave Patterson were named honorary members of the Indiana Track and Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame on Saturday at a reception for the 2014 inductees Saturday.
The Wabash Valley inductees were former high-jump state champion Ted Sweatt of Terre Haute Wiley, former Sullivan and Indiana State standout Erica Moore, former state mile record holder Jack Corridan of Wiley and Tom Henderson of Brazil.
Hughes, News & Views: Odds in favor of Richard Sherman being mentioned here
I’ve explained my post-2011 NFL allegiances before, but allow me to summarize them one more time for any new readers to this column.
I eased into liking the Indianapolis Colts as my favorite team in the late 1980s. Like plenty of other Wabash Valley sports fans, I became Colts-obsessed when Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and others turned them into an elite franchise in 1999 and the early 2000s.
When the Colts beat Da Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, I yelled as loud as anyone in Terre Haute.
Ramblin’ Reck: Even after 20-point loss, Sycamores move up to 51st in RPI
Checking out some basketball polls and rankings -- colleges first:
In spite of losing to Wichita State, Indiana State moved up to 51st in the weekly RPI totals from 63. Some other rankings: Kansas 1, Wisconsin 4, Villanova 5, Wichita State 9, Creighton 10, Illinois 58, Northern Iowa 70, Indiana 77, Missouri State 78, Purdue 87, Butler 90, Notre Dame 94, Illinois State 108.
College report: Terre Haute pair Berry, Comer to boost Sycamores’ lines
While many people have varying opinions on the most important position on a football team, most old-school gridiron veterans would consider strong line play as a necessity for anything else to work — kind of like pitching in baseball and guard play in basketball.
FROM THE PRESSBOX: Time for constructive criticism, not panic for ISU
I said before Indiana State’s Missouri Valley Conference showdown with Wichita State that there would be no need to hit the panic button if the Sycamores lost at Koch Arena on Saturday.
REDNECK QUAKER: Hunting bear will provide challenge you seek
Brett Dalton and some fellow turkey hunters decided to try their hand at bear hunting, but found it to be more of a challenge than they thought.
Don’t forget, Mother Nature calls the shots!
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?
AMEY TAKES AIM: Emmitt 'Tank' Tyler remembered as a great football player, great mentor
Visitation is 4 to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. until the 11 o’clock services Saturday at Second Missionary Baptist Church for Emmitt “Tank” Tyler.
The former Garfield and Indiana State fullback and linebacker passed away on Jan. 8 and is survived by his wife Debra and sons Emmitt II and Ethan, along with three goddaughters, two sisters, five brothers and a huge extended family.
Ramblin' Reck: After snow, busy week in prep basketball
Because of lots of snow and ice, high school basketball action was limited in the area last week. This week promises to be a busy one, especially with better weather conditions in the forecast. Some key prep boys games are slated, two of them tonight.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Basketball clock ticking down for Union
If there’s an unfortunate unintended consequence of the several weather-related postponements to the Greene County Invitational — which is operating as well as it possibly could have, Steve Brett was adamant about going on record to say Saturday evening — it’s that losers of Saturday’s four first-round games won’t get to play their usual two additional games in the consolation bracket.
Ramblin' Reck: Both ISU basketball teams off to strong starts in MVC
College basketball teams have commenced league play and it's nice to see Indiana State teams in the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.
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.
Amey Takes Aim: Tourney provided a few Classic moments
This column was falling into place nicely until about 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Then youth and inexperience reared up to bite it.
Ramblin’ Reck: College basketball season races start to get serious
The preliminaries are over and college conference teams start playing each other tonight with league titles and possible NCAA berths on the line.
A few words of wisdom for this Christmas season
Tis the day before Christmas, a day set aside for observing the birth of Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas to you all and your loved ones. We'll take this time to publish some words of wisdom from one of the cards sent our way – this person is No. 1 among card senders in our book. To wit:
College report: Wabash Valley hoops pair earn MVC weekly honors
Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court. Evansville freshman Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week for the third time while Loyola sophomore Matt O’Leary of Terre Haute North was chosen as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the week.
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