FORT WAYNE – Coaches weren’t worried about giving signs during the IHSBCA All-Star doubleheader Saturday at Parkview Field.
That was fine with Concordia graduate Jake Hayden.
It meant he had the green light on the bases – and he took advantage.
Hayden reached base four times, stole three bases and scored twice for the North team in a pair of nine-inning games. The South won both, 10-3 and 14-3.
It was just a great experience, said Hayden, who will finish the All-Star weekend with a wooden bat game at noon today. It was an honor to play with all these guys. All these guys are really good baseball players, going all across the country to play baseball. It’s not the outcome we wanted, but oh well.
At least Hayden was able to make some things happen for the North.
He found himself in a familiar spot in Game 2, hitting leadoff just like he did for the Cadets. That meant he was able to keep the same approach: Try to see as many pitches as I could and try to find my right pitch, he said.
He didn’t always get the pitch he was looking for – he walked twice in the second game – but he had a single up the middle and tagged a ball that was caught in deep right.
Once he got on base, Hayden was impressive.
In the first game, he entered as a pinch runner, stole a base and scored in the fourth inning. In Game 2, he walked to lead off the game, stole second and moved to third but didn’t score. In the fifth, he singled, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice fly to right by Carroll’s Jeremy Shelmadine and scored on a wild pitch.
Just came out here and tried to be aggressive, Hayden said. That’s how I play. I was out here trying to steal some bases. I wasn’t trying to be hesitant. I was trying to make stuff happen for my team. That’s just basically how I play, and I wanted to play the same way here. I didn’t want to get overwhelmed.
For the Cadets, Hayden was a difference-maker from the leadoff spot as a senior. Not only did he get on – he hit .500 – but he also did damage on the bases, setting a school record with 32 stolen bases and scoring at least 35 runs in 26 games.
Hayden’s production helped Concordia win the SAC title and earned him a spot on the Class 3A all-state first team.
It was amazing. All four years I spent there were four of the best years I’ve ever had, Hayden said. Baseball made it that much better. The coaches, all the players, we were a real team. We had a pretty good year this year, and I think I had a pretty good senior year.
Norwell’s Landon Curry was the only other area player to have a hit in the doubleheader, and he also scored a run. Shelmadine and Leo’s Andrew Suciu were hitless. Suciu had an RBI groundout.
New Haven’s Brandon Pease struck out struck out eight, allowed six hits, three earned runs and walked two in 3 2/3 innings in Game 2.