All posts by Pat Hickey

Castle leaps into 4A baseball rankings; 2A well-represented in pocket

The monsoon has passed and (most) teams made their season-openers in week two. Castle was the local team to improve its stock the most, catapulting from receiving votes all the way to fourth in Class 4A in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association poll. The Knights were 4-0 this past week with wins over Tecumseh, Jeffersonville, North, and Central.

I covered that North game on Saturday, which breezed by in just an hour and a half (recap here). It was one that honestly could have went either way. North junior Tyler Hagedorn was strong, allowing just four baserunners in a complete game effort while striking out seven and flipping 58 of a ridiculously-low 79 offerings for strikes (73.4 percent). But Castle righties Jon Blackwell and Sam Huff came up with some big pitches in critical situations and their defense behind them was lights out. You hope to see two more of those games.

We move on to the third week of the season, which features some intriguing matchups:

  • Two teams in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference welcome Jasper into Evansville this week: Central (1-3) on Monday and surging Castle on Thursday. The Wildcats are off to a 2-0 start after junior Cal Krueger pitched a complete game one-hitter against Memorial in a 3-0 victory on Saturday. Last summer, the 6-foot-1 righthander was one of the first recruits—with Reitz sophomore outfielder Elijah Dunham being the first—under Indiana coach Chris Lemonis (not ironic that they both play for the Louisville-based Ironmen travel team. Lemonis spent eight years as an assistant at UL). Also a pretty good third baseman, Krueger works in the mid-to-upper 80s with his fastball and mixes in a mid-70s curveball and changeup around 78-80. Most recruiting sites have him listed primarily as a position player at the next level, though that kind of arm strength is definitely playable on a Division I team. I will be going out to Paradise later this week to watch.
  • Mater Dei (3-1), which moved down two slots to fourth in 2A, will face a tough early-season test when it hosts Hobart on Friday night. The Brickies (5-0) compete in the loaded Northwest Crossroads Conference, which also features 3A No. 1 Andrean and 3A No. 3 Griffith. Hobart is ranked No. 9 in 4A, has outscored its opponents 41-1 so far this season and carries a talented arm in junior Braden Niksich, a 6-1 righthander who can also dial it up to the upper-80s. Ideally, fans would be treated to a duel between Niksich (an Illinois State commit) and Mater Dei senior lefty Ben Sellers (a Western Illinois signee). But I would think the Wildcats throw Sellers in their SIAC opener against Reitz tonight at home. My partner in preps, Gordon Engelhardt, will be at the Westside rivalry game to tell us.
  • Speaking of Reitz (3-1), I was able to get somewhat of a glimpse of the Panthers this past Friday against Harrison. Level of competition aside, I view them as a team to surprise some this year—though I don’t know how much of a shock that would be. They’re obviously in a tough sectional with Castle and North, but it’s not hard to see the kind of potential offensive firepower they have with junior Blake Ruckman, senior Aaron Euler and Dunham atop of the lineup. Euler had himself a day against the Warriors, hitting a two-run homer, a grand slam and a double. Ruckman showed some pop and has some speed at the leadoff spot and in my first look at Dunham, I could see why Ironmen coach Mark Peters said he has progressed the most this past summer with his approach at the plate. He’s a very disciplined and selective hitter. Harrison gave him a steady dose of breaking balls, so it’s clear that he’s feared even as a sophomore. Reitz will turn around after the Mater Dei game to face Mount Vernon and Castle, so it has its work cut out.
  • Other notable games: Apollo, Ky. (13-4) at 2A No. 3 South Spencer (2-1) on Monday; 1A No. 8 Barr-Reeve (1-1) at Vincennes Rivet (2-2) and Memorial (2-1) at Heritage Hills (2-1) on Wednesday.

Follow the jump for the rest of the IHSBCA Top 10.

Continue reading Castle leaps into 4A baseball rankings; 2A well-represented in pocket

First IHSBCA regular season poll

The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Top 10 poll, with records through games of Saturday, April 4, 2015 and total votes in parentheses.

CLASS 4A
1) Floyd Central 3-0 (160)
2) Indpls. Cathedral 0-0 (144)
3) Noblesville 4-1 (90)
4) Munster 2-1 (76)
5) Lake Central 3-0 (72)
5) Brownsburg 0-0 (72)
7) Zionsville 3-1 (46)
8) Terre Haute North 0-1 (42)
9) Columbus North 0-0 (32)
10) Columbus East 0-0 (24)
Receiving Votes: Bedford North Lawrence, F.W. Carroll, Castle, Columbus East, Crown Point, Hamilton Southeastern, Homestead, Jeffersonville, LaPorte, Penn, Richmond, Westfield.

CLASS 3A
1) Andrean 0-0 (94)
2) Silver Creek 3-1 (66)
3) Lebanon 1-1 (62)
3) Batesville 0-0 (62)
5) Hanover Central 1-0 (54)
6) Yorktown 2-0 (52)
7) Norwell 0-0 (50)
8) Griffith 2-1 (38)
9) F.W. Dwenger 0-0 (22)
9) Crawfordsville 0-0 (22)
Receiving Votes: Charlestown, Edgewood, Jasper, Rushville, South Dearborn, Vincennes Lincoln.

CLASS 2A
1) Wapahani 1-0 (120)
2) Evans. Mater Dei 0-0 (102)
3) Knightstown H.s 0-0 (100)
4) Lafayette Central Catholic 1-1 (68)
5) Southwood 0-1 (62)
6) F.W. Canterbury 0-0 (56)
6) South Spencer 1-1 (56)
8) Forest Park 0-0 (26)
8) Alexandria 0-0 (26)
10) Indpls. Cardinal Ritter 0-0 (24)
Receiving Votes: Delphi, North Knox, North Newton, Tell City, Westview.

CLASS A
1) Shakamak 0-0 (108)
2) South Central (Elizabeth) 0-0 (98)
2) Rockville 1-1 (98)
4) Orleans 0-0 (86)
5) Frontier 0-0 (80)
6) F.W. Blackhawk Christian 0-0 (56)
7) Barr-Reeve 0-0 (54)
8) Pioneer 0-0 (32)
9) Daleville 0-0 (26)
10) Washington Twp. 0-2 (6)
Receiving Votes: Indpls. Luthern, Jac-Cen-Del, Loogootee, Rising Sun, Vincennes Rivet.

Quick Hits: Reitz dominant showing in Toyota Classic

The Reitz High School boys’ basketball team went 4-0 over the holiday week with wins over Mount Carmel, Princeton, Lawrenceville, and Castle by an average scoring margin of +49.0. Here are some leftover topics of interest that didn’t make the Sunday print edition.

Where is Dru Smith?

After playing in the opening round of pool play against Mount Carmel in the Toyota Classic, the Reitz junior missed the final three games after undergoing surgery to remove bone fragments in his knee.

“God bless his heart,” Panthers head coach Michael Adams said. “He’s been playing with it and hasn’t been healthy all year. We thought it was tendinitis until a few games ago when it was really swollen. So they went and checked it out and removed bone fragments from his knee. We’re hoping on Thursday (Jan. 1) he’ll be released and can start rehab. But we don’t expect him to be out very long.”

Smith has been a vital cog atop of the Reitz vaunted 1-2-2 three-quarter court zone trap this season. He’s second on the team with an average of 4.5 steals per game in addition to scoring 10.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest.

The Class 4A No. 6-ranked Panthers (8-0) are coming off a week in which they averaged 103.5 points per game in capturing back-to-back Toyota Classic titles.

Can this team play any better?

Of course they can, according to Coach Adams.

“We’re basketball purists,” he said. “We play every possession where there’s a winner and a loser. Obviously, we aren’t holding teams scoreless. There are some possessions where our guys jumped the gun (on defense) trying to run the floor and get out in transition too soon. There’s some positioning issues. Fundamentally, not turning the ball over in spots you need to be more careful. And there’s some shot selection concerns. None of this is to say we’re not very pleased with what we’ve seen. As coaches, we want perfection knowing we’ll never get there. We just have to stay hungry.”

IHSAA announces football sectional draw

The semifinals for the Class 5A sectional will be played on Oct. 31. All other first round games are on Oct. 24. For the full story of the Class 5A-4A announcement, click here. For the full story of the Class 3A-2A announcement, click here.

Class 5A, Sectional 16, semifinals:

Evansville North [2-6] at Terre Haute North [3-5]
Terre Haute South [7-1] at Castle [5-3]

Class 4A, Sectional 24, first round:

Silver Creek [4-3] at Jasper [7-1]
Evansville Central [3-4] at Evansville Harrison [2-6]
Boonville [3-5] at Owen Valley [6-2]
Evansville Reitz [8-0] at Seymour [2-6]

Class 3A, Sectional 32, first round:

Mount Vernon (Posey) [4-4] at Princeton [3-5]
Evansville Memorial [4-4] at Gibson Southern [7-1]
Pike Central [1-7] at Evansville Bosse [1-7]
Vincennes Lincoln [7-1] at Heritage Hills [7-1]

Class 2A, Sectional 40, first round:

Southridge [6-2] at Sullivan [4-4]
Forest Park [1-7] at Evansville Mater Dei [8-0]
Tell City [1-7] at Eastern Greene [5-3]
South Spencer [4-4] at North Posey [5-3]

Class A, Sectional 48, first round:

Tecumseh [5-3] bye
North Knox [6-2] at Springs Valley [1-6]
Wood Memorial [0-8] at Linton-Stockton [7-1]
North Daviess [4-4] at Perry Central [6-2]

Lyle to attend IMG Academy in Florida

MOLLY BARTELS / COURIER & PRESS Bosse's JaQuan Lyle grabs the rim as he dunks against Memorial during a game at Memorial High School in 2012.
MOLLY BARTELS / COURIER & PRESS Bosse’s JaQuan Lyle grabs the rim as he dunks against Memorial during a game at Memorial High School in 2012.

Former Bosse High School guard JaQuan Lyle will attend the fall semester at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, after complications in the enrollment process at the University of Oregon.

Lyle was added to the Oregon men’s basketball roster online in June but was removed on Sept. 16. When classes began at the end of the month, Lyle was not enrolled at the school. Sources told CBSSports.com that Lyle needed to retake one class, but that was accomplished during the summer.

The private boarding school will allow Lyle to train and clear up any remaining academic issues for the NCAA Clearinghouse. There is a possibility he could still enroll for the spring semester at Oregon when the PAC-12 Conference games begin.

Mater Dei remains 2A No. 1, Reitz up to No. 4 in 4A

The Associated Press Top 10 Indiana high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through games of Tuesday, rating points and previous rankings:

Class 6A

Rank-School FPV Rcd TP Pvs

1. Carmel (14) 5-0 424 1

2. Warren Central (7) 5-0 408 3

3. Penn (1) 5-0 330 4

4. Ben Davis – 4-1 306 2

5. Southport – 5-0 270 5

6. Fishers – 4-1 212 6

7. Carroll (Allen) – 5-0 166 7

8. Jeffersonville – 5-0 100 9

9. Noblesville – 4-1 92 NR

10. Center Grove – 2-3 34 NR

Others receiving votes: Lake Central 30. Pike 18. Lawrence Central 14. Avon 10. Crown Point 4. Brownsburg 2.

Class 5A

Rank-School FPV Rcd TP Pvs

1. Concord (17) 5-0 412 1

2. Ft. Wayne Snider – 4-1 372 2

3. McCutcheon – 5-0 316 5

4. Terre Haute South – 5-0 286 6

5. Cathedral (5) 1-3 260 3

6. Mishawaka – 4-1 190 9

7. Westfield – 3-2 168 8

8. Munster – 4-1 140 10

9. Bloomington South – 4-1 122 7

10. Ft. Wayne Wayne – 4-1 118 4

Others receiving votes: Martinsville 18. Terre Haute North 10. Bloomington North 8.

Photos JASON CLARK / COURIER & PRESS Malik Higgins of Reitz looks upfield on the punt return with help from teammate Tanner Duran of Reitz during the second quarter of their game against Castle at the Reitz Bowl in Evansville Friday.
Photos JASON CLARK / COURIER & PRESS Malik Higgins of Reitz looks upfield on the punt return with help from teammate Tanner Duran of Reitz during the second quarter of their game against Castle at the Reitz Bowl on Sept. 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class 4A

Rank-School FPV Rcd TP Pvs

1. Columbus East (20) 5-0 434 1

2. New Palestine – 5-0 376 2

3. Bishop Chatard (2) 4-1 346 4

4. Ev. Reitz – 5-0 298 6

5. Ft. Wayne Dwenger – 4-1 250 3

6. S. Bend St. Joseph’s – 4-0 204 7

7. Plymouth – 5-0 176 8

8. Jasper – 4-1 116 5

9. New Haven – 4-1 112 9

10. Roncalli – 3-2 74 10

Others receiving votes: New Prairie 18. Hammond Morton 12. Beech Grove 2. Greenwood 2.

DOUG MCSCHOOLER Gibson Southern’s Nick Sellers (15) drops back for a pass during the first half of action in the IHSAA 3A Semi-State football game at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory in Indianapolis Saturday.
DOUG MCSCHOOLER | Gibson Southern’s Nick Sellers (15) drops back for a pass during the first half of action in the 2013 IHSAA 3A Semi-State football game at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory in Indianapolis on Nov. 23.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class 3A

Rank-School FPV Rcd TP Pvs

1. Andrean (21) 5-0 438 1

2. Brebeuf Jesuit (1) 4-1 368 2

3. Gibson Southern – 5-0 354 3

4. Brownstown – 5-0 276 4

5. W. Lafayette – 4-1 256 5

6. Ft. Wayne Luers – 4-1 182 8

7. Indian Creek – 5-0 166 7

8. Tri-West – 4-1 98 9

9. Vincennes Lincoln – 5-0 84 NR

10. Western Boone – 5-0 64 NR

Others receiving votes: Yorktown 52. Batesville 38. Guerin Catholic 12. Heritage Hills 10. Charlestown 8. Jimtown 8. Mishawaka Marian 2. Corydon 2. Ft. Wayne Concordia 2.

JASON CLARK / COURIER & PRESS Mater Dei's Julian Weidner cuts around the outside corner while scoring his second touchdown of the game as Memorial's Isaac Hoffman tries to tackle him during the second quarter of their game at the Reitz Bowl in Evansville Friday.
JASON CLARK / COURIER & PRESS Mater Dei’s Julian Weidner cuts around the outside corner while scoring his second touchdown of the game as Memorial’s Isaac Hoffman tries to tackle him during the second quarter of their game at the Reitz Bowl in Evansville on Aug. 29.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class 2A

Rank-School FPV Rcd TP Pvs

1. Ev. Mater Dei (15) 5-0 424 1

2. Rensselaer (7) 5-0 404 2

3. Lafayette Catholic – 4-1 358 3

4. Monrovia – 4-1 268 4(tie)

5. Southridge – 4-1 262 4(tie)

6. Triton Central – 4-1 218 7

7. Cass – 4-1 142 9

8. Scecina – 3-2 92 6

9. Oak Hill – 4-1 76 10

10. Shenandoah – 4-1 60 NR

Others receiving votes: Woodlan 42. Winchester 22. Cardinal Ritter 22. Alexandria 14. Providence 10. Paoli 4. Eastside 2.

Class A

Rank-School FPV Rcd TP Pvs

1. Winamac (17) 5-0 430 2

2. Northeastern (3) 5-0 330 5

3. N. Vermillion – 5-0 328 4

4. Whiting (1) 5-0 222 7

5. Tri-Central – 4-1 190 1

6. Linton – 4-1 176 6

7. Pioneer – 4-1 152 8

8. Fountain Central – 4-1 130 3

9. Attica – 5-0 128 NR

10. Lutheran (1) 3-2 114 9

Others receiving votes: Monroe Central 108. W. Central 94. Eastern Hancock 10. Rockville 6. W. Washington 2.

Reitz guard Sanford commits to Toledo

ERIN McCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS ARCHIVES Reitz’s Jaelan Sanford (13) shoots a basket during the first half of the game at Memorial on Jan, 25, 2014.
ERIN McCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS ARCHIVES Reitz’s Jaelan Sanford (13) shoots a basket during the first half of the game at Memorial on Jan, 25, 2014.

Reitz guard Jaelan Sanford orally committed to the University of Toledo to play basketball late Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-3 Sanford, who averaged about 17 points per game for the Panthers last season, blew up this summer. Shortly after the July college recruiting period opened, Sanford received more than a dozen Division-I offers in a matter of two weeks.

Sanford decided on Toledo after he visited them, Ohio and Bowling Green State this past weekend.

“It was a very tough decision for me to make considering that I had so many great college programs to chose from,” Sanford said. “I thought about it for a while and talked about it with my dad and (Pocket City Basketball AAU club head) N.D. Kendrick, and after visiting Toledo and Ohio this past weekend and choosing between those two schools we’re tough.

“But I just had a great feeling about Toledo and felt like it is the best fit for me so I went ahead and committed. I’m super excited about it,” he added.

Sanford had received scholarship offers from American, Ball State, Boston, Bowling Green State, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois State, IPFW, Kent State, Northeastern, Northern Kentucky, Oakland, Ohio, Robert Morris and Southern Indiana.

“He’s the hungriest kid in this program.” Kendrick said. “He was my number one priority get this summer. I knew once I got him, everything would change. He’s a highly competitive kid. A lot of people I spoke to thought he was a Division-II player.”

Toledo, a Division-I program who plays in the Mid-American Conference, went 27-7 last year and earned a bid to the National Invitational Tournament, where it was a No. 6-seed and lost in the first round.