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There's a Trojan presence at this year's baseball state finals

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

I hadn’t intended to type another RR&R column so soon after my last one, but I wanted to relay a few comments that I couldn’t squeeze into the last one.

No, we don’t have any of our local teams in this weekend’s IHSAA baseball state finals at Victory field in Indianapolis, but there is a New Castle Trojan presence in Friday night’s Class 4A finale.

Matt Cherry, a former New Castle High School baseball player, is the head coach of the Fishers Tigers who will be taking on Indianapolis Cathedral in the Class 4A state title contest.

I probably would have been rooting for Fishers anyway, as Cathedral has won a lot of state championships in various sports, but with a former Trojan as head coach, this makes me want the Tigers to win more.

Unfortunately, I will not get to see that contest in person or on TV because I will be in Anderson covering our 12 local players in the Indiana Football Hall of Fame East/West Classic at Anderson High School.

Perhaps if the Class 4A game lasts a long time or goes into extra innings, I may get home to see the tail end of it. In any case, it’s always nice to see a former New Castle Trojan do well.

There’s another New Castle tie to the baseball state finals, as Daleville is playing University for the Class A state championship Saturday morning. New Castle opened the regular season with a 6-4 loss to the host Broncos, and I was up in Daleville covering that game.

I kind of like going to Daleville, as the people up there treat me well in the press box. New Castle was still getting adjusted to its new pitching staff that game, ands Daleville took a lead and held on for the two-run victory. The Trojans had the tying runs on base when the game ended.

Of course, Blue River Valley and Shenandoah also played Daleville in their Mid-Eastern Conference games. If our six local high schools aren’t in it, it’s always nice to see teams from the MEC, Tri-Eastern Conference, and Hoosier Heritage Conference do well because it makes our local teams from those conferences look better, too.

Over on the softball side, New Palestine repeated as the Class 3A state champions with a 3-1 win over South Bend St. Joseph. That really was no surprise to me, as the Dragons probably had the tools to win the title in 4A, which is where they’ll be next season under the IHSAA’s tournament success factor rule.

New Castle fell to New Palestine 18-0 in the opening game of the season, but that’s really no disgrace, as New Pal rolled over most teams in the tournament before the title game. Ashley Prange and her big bat graduate and move on to Ohio State, but the Dragons will find someone to fill her spot and move on.

For lovers of the diamond sports, we still have Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball to whet out appetites this summer. I have seen several good games on those levels already this year, including three straight one-run nail-biters.

In one of my columns last year, I typed that it was entertaining baseball at these lower levels and a reader called me and blasted me about that statement. I didn’t say it was the best baseball, but that it was entertaining baseball. It’s enjoyable watching kids who love the sport and play it for free, which a lot of times is better than watching professionals go through the motions for a multi-million dollar paycheck. I still stand by that statement.

And another thing. Admission to Little League and Babe Ruth League Baseball is free. You can’t beat that value for your buck.

David Risley is sports editor of The Courier-Times