FORT WAYNE – The trick is to keep the momentum rolling into May.
IPFW’s baseball team is just four games into the season, with two wins and two losses, and three more games scheduled today and Sunday at Tennessee-Martin.
But if a baseball team ever sprinted out of the figurative box, it came in the season opener in Huntsville, Ala., where the Mastodons beat Indiana State 2-0.
The highlight was beating Indiana State’s 6-foot-4 highly touted left-hander Sean Manaea.
He’s expected to be a high draft pick, IPFW coach Bobby Pierce said of Manaea. Some people have even said that he could be a top-five pick.
It started the season off right. It stated the weekend off right. And it’s something our guys will look back on because, most likely, that guy who was pitching will be pitching on TV someday, and we can say that we beat him.
Pierce said beating Indiana State and following it up with a 7-6 win over Alabama A&M was a morale boost after last year’s 16-40 season in which the Mastodons started 1-10.
Transfer Markus Kalber, who last week was named Summit League offensive player of the week, whacked four doubles against A&M and takes a .500 average into the weekend series.
And already, the pitching staff has a shutout to its credit when Jason Kalber (Markus’ brother), Danny Tursell and 6-foot-6 Kyle Sorensen blanked the Sycamores.
Pierce is also reaping the benefits from the local talent. Nine players on this year’s roster are from Fort Wayne and the area, including freshman Evan VanSumeren, the South Side product who has four RBI in four games.
Our three freshman, Kendall Whitman of Huntington North, Brandon Soat from Homestead and Evan VanSumeren of South Side – all three of those guys came in games and they were not scared. That good talent is starting to look in our direction.
Athletes of note
Indiana Tech women’s basketball players Rachael Kruse (Homestead) and Ulyssia Richmond were named first-team All-WHAC. Kruse led the team in scoring (16.8 average) and steals (48) and was second in rebounds (151), assists (99) and blocks (16). Richmond averaged 16.1 and hit a career-high 58 three-pointers. Grace junior Juaneice Jackson was named first team All-Crossroads League with an 18.7 scoring average, and sophomore Allison Kauffman (Blackhawk Christian) was named honorable mention with a 12.4 average. Indiana Tech senior Adella King was named WHAC women’s indoor track athlete of the week for the third time this season. At the WHAC indoor meet at Trine, King won the 60-meter dash in a school-record 7.33, and the 200-meter dash in 24.31. She also ran anchor leg on the first-place 1,600-meter relay. Valparaiso junior Tabitha Gerardot (Canterbury) was named Horizon League Female Scholar-Athlete for January. She averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds over the month, including 33 points and 10 rebounds against Milwaukee. She carries a 3.91 grade-point average, with a double major in French and Spanish. Tech senior Melvin Brooks was named to the All-WHAC men’s basketball first team. Brooks averaged 14 points and led the league with 8.4 rebounds per game. Among the 10 Tech athletes named to the All-WHAC men’s and women’s track and field first team were Dontaey Paige (Heritage), Stacia Murray (Elmhurst) and Cora Tatum (Elmhurst). Andrea Ford (Harding) was named honorable mention. IPFW junior forward Amanda Hyde was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Women’s Basketball Division I second team, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Hyde, who leads the Summit League with a 19.0 scoring average, has a 4.0 grade-point average in mathematics teaching.