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Home » Baseball News

New crop of talent expected to lead Athenians to winning year

March 31, 2014
Crawfordsville High School



A program résumé of 20 or more wins in 20 of the past 23 seasons, eight straight sectional titles, and 10 straight conference championships guarantees the Crawfordsville baseball team exactly zero wins in 2014. Replacing six senior regulars from last spring will not be easy, so let's take a look at the names who will try to propel the Athenians to a championship season this spring.

Preseason Rankings

#4 3A Indiana High School Coaches Poll

#3 3A Indiana Prep Baseball Report

2013 Record

25-11 (12-2 Sagamore Conference)

Returning Offensive Players

1. Dane Baldwin

    .307 AVE, 3 2B, 28 RBI, .435 OBP

2. Nick Page

    .263 AVE, 15 RBI, 22 R, .404 OBP

3. Shad Conrad

    .264 AVE, 6 2B, 16 RBI, .350 OBP

Pitching Staff

1.  Connor Smith

    6-0 W-L / 45.1 IP / 55 K / 2.47 ERA in 2013

2.  Garrett Phelps

    6-3 W-L / 67 IP / (74 K) / 3.59 ERA in Career

3.  Dane Baldwin

    1-1 W-L / 13.1 IP / 13 K / 4.20 ERA in 2013

4.  Nick Corbin

5.  Dalton Scaggs

6.  Brian Boehm

7.  Shad Conrad

8. Nathan Busenbark

9. Chase Roberts

10. Caden Jones

Long gone

Chandler Pursell  The team's ace dropped his first two starts of the year to very strong teams, then went on to win 11 straight decisions in leading the Athenians to Sectional and Regional titles. Pursell also played a very clean first base and caught fire offensively at the tail-end of his career, batting over .400 down the stretch while recording at least one hit in eight of his last ten games.

Jordan Jackson  The two-time First Team All-State outfielder has taken his talents to Wright State. Jackson patrolled center field for the past three seasons and held down the third spot in the batting order for most of that time. Jackson left the program as one of the most decorated players to ever sport the "CA" logo, earning a place in the top five in school history in hits, runs batted in, runs scored, and doubles. His RBI presence, especially, and overall baseball credentials will be missed.

Jake Zurawski A four-year starter, "JZ" was a sure-handed fielder and consistent on-base presence (.434 OBP in 2013). While garnering First Team All-Conference recognition, Zurawski evolved into an on-field vocal leader and will leave a void in that regard as well.

Logan Meadows Handling 95% of the innings behind the dish last spring, Meadows batted over .300 and knocked in 28 runs while reaching base at a .423 percentage.  There likely is no current Athenian with the athletic versatility of Meadows, who batted first, second, and fourth in the lineup while swinging from both sides of the plate while mixing extra bases hits (5) with a bunting game.

Cam Monroe Making a giant leap forward in his senior season, Monroe was a First Team All-Sagamore performer and Honorable Mention All-State in Class 3A. He batted .402 (43 hits) and drove in 30 while turning in a number of slick glove plays at the hot corner. His ability to reach base in over half of his plate appearances while slotted near or at the top of the order will need to be replaced.

Who's back?

SENIORS:

Shad Conrad has been a constantly improving player since he set foot into the program four years ago. One of the big bats in the lineup going into this season, Conrad will look to provide some punch in the heart of the order. After a slow start last spring during a stretch when C'ville faced a slew of marquee pitchers, he finished strong with some key swings towards to the end of the year. Conrad also has a strong arm and is capable of gunning down any greedy runners on the basepaths. His 7 two-out RBI last season was best amongst returning hitters.

Nick Page is another senior outfielder who got prime time experience last season. He is a likely candidate for the leadoff spot after reaching base at a .404 clip as a Junior. Page is capable of stealing a lot of bases and adding a power element to his game as well (four extra base hits in 2013). He will shift from left to center field. Page's quiet grit could be a key factor in helping this team find their identity. His 7 sacrifice bunts was second on the team and the most for returners.

Garrett Phelps had a strong sophomore season in 2012, going 5-0. Last spring, coming off a back injury, he proved inconsistent. After a strong summer, Phelps has been tearing through the showcase circuit, clocking in from 85-89 mph. The senior has also been working on his secondary stuff; getting more top-spin on his breaking ball and meddling with a changeup this winter. Struck out 9 in six innings against Webo on April 22.

Connor Smith  was one of the pleasant surprises of 2012. As  pitcher, he went 6-0 and saved two games, becoming the team's #2 starter by season's end. He fanned 10 in earning the win in the Regional Championship game versus Brebeuf. Smith intends to continue his career with the Ravens and former teammate Jake Zurawski at Anderson University. Opponents batted just .199 in 2013.

JUNIORS:

Justin Raters is currently in a back brace, and is likely out for the spring. He will be out of the brace and able to begin rehabilitation in a few weeks. Raters got invaluable Varsity pitching experience as a sophomore on a veteran team last spring (4-4, 41.2 IP, 49 K, 2.35 ERA). With a lanky build and smooth delivery, the left-hander had added velocity up to 83 mph. Raters also is a natural in the outfield and is reliable at first base. Posted a 1.200 WHIP in 2013.

Sam Page helped to shore up the team defense by taking over at second base mid-way through last season, Page will look to make a greater impression in 2013. He can play second or shortstop, and will also look to continue his offensive improvement as an on-base and speed presence (24 stolen bases; caught zero times last spring with the JV). Recorded a .947 fielding percentage in 38 total chances.

SOPHOMORES:

Dane Baldwin sprung onto the scene right away as a Freshman last spring, playing in all 36 games. He had the game-winning RBI and the save on Opening Day. He contributed as consistently as any batter in the lineup, batting .307 and notching 28 RBI. He has a good eye at the plate which translated to 21 walks and a .435 OBP last season. Baldwin has improved as an athlete (went 19-5 as CHS' #1 singles tennis player in the fall) and could bring more of an extra base threat to the table this season. As a pitcher, Baldwin is throwing considerably harder without any apparent decrease in command of the strike zone.  Led the team in quality at-bat percentage at 64.66% in 2013.

The new guys

SENIORS:

Nathan Baer looked like a much-improved player ready to see some Varsity action last spring. But a leg injury curtailed those hopes as he was forced to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Baer was back in action in the summer months, however, and performed well. The senior is sound behind the plate and has expanded his defensive repertoire to include first base. As a hitter, Baer has a compact swing for his 6'3" frame and ought to be a key factor.

Dalton Scaggs posted a .390 batting average (23-59) last year in 23 games with the Junior Varsity. A left-handed thrower, he gets great reads on the ball in the outfield and can deliver deceptive offerings from the mound (28 IP, 35 K, 3.25 ERA in 2013). Scaggs has also been working from the left side of the plate as a slap-hitter and bunter. His all-around skills on a baseball diamond could make him the type of role player championship teams require. Struck out just 8 times in 80 JV at-bats in 2013.

JUNIORS:

Nick Corbin  After a strong spring with the JV, notching five wins, a 2.88 ERA to go along with 41 strikeouts in 34 innings, Corbin could be in contention for innings on the hill. He makes consistent contact, batting .339 last season while doing a solid job at third base amongst other infield positions at times, having seen the majority of his time at third base. Corbin's all-around game help his chances of finding a place somewhere in the starting lineup. Struck out only four times in 74 AB's in 2013.

Chase Roberts  A move-in from West Virginia, Roberts played with the CHS team this past summer. He has played predominately infield in the past and bats from the right side. Roberts has also been putting in work on the mound leading up to the season.

Dylan Mangold is versatile defender who has spent time as a catcher and around the infield. A much-improved player based on early season practices, he had a .455 on-base percentage last season for the Junior Varsity while stealing 22 bases in 27 games last season. Like numerous classmates, he played summer ball with the Indiana Thunder organization. Scored the second most runs for the JV with 22.

Michael Minks paced the JV in RBI with 16 while batting .377 in 19 games played. He is a plus-defender behind the plate with the arm strength to gun down potential base-stealers. Minks got a small taste of Varsity experience with 16 plate appearances in nine games last spring, the highlight of which was a key RBI base hit in Louisville. Led the JV with 5 doubles.

Brian Boehm benefits from a funky arm action that can allow him to run a fastball in on a righty's hands, and has a slider that moves away. He saved four games while striking out 37 batters in 31.2 innings for the JV last spring. His brother, Adam, pitches for Wabash College and was a state champ with Crawfordsville in 2011. Pitched seven 1-2-3 innings in 2013 with the Junior Varsity.

Nathan Busenbark is a lefty thrower who bats from the right side. He will vie for innings on the mound after tallying four wins in 38.1 innings last spring on the JV. He suited up for the Thunder this past summer. With a handful of plodders likely in the lineup, his set of wheels could be a valuable asset (12 SB/2 CS in 2013). Absorbed a JV team-leading 7 hit-by-pitches last spring.

FRESHMEN:

Trent Johnson  An instinctive and well-rounded ballplayer coming in, Johnson will certainly compete for an infield position. He will, meanwhile, develop his pitching craft on the side and in the summer months.  A three sport athlete, Johnson got a least a small dose of Varsity action during the football and basketball seasons.

Caden Jones  Not exactly an undersized Freshman, Jones has natural power from the left side of the plate. He will open the season somewhere in the middle of the batting order. At the Varsity level, he will battle with veterans for the lone open outfield position which is likely to be left field.

QUOTES FROM COACH FROEDGE:

  • "It seems we always have an unknown player or two step up and surprise a lot of people by being major contributors. I definitely could see that happening this spring."
  • "Many in the area and conference may feel like the Athenians will be a bit down this year compared to the last decade.  [We did in fact, graduate six starters and our number one pitcher. We also will be without one of our top returning pitchers due to injury].  However,  I think our players would strongly disagree with that.  We have a very strong 1-2 punch on the mound a group of talented players who have waited for their chance to lead the CHS to another championship season."

RECENT PROGRAM FACTS:

  • CHS is 76 – 27 in the class of 2014’s careers;
  • CHS has averaged over 27 wins per season overthe past 8 seasons
  • Record over last 23 seasons (1991-2013) 543 – 175 (.756)
  • Average record over past 23 seasons:  24–8

FORMER ATHENIANS STILL PLAYING BASEBALL:

  • Cameron Hobson (2008) LHP; Seattle Mariners AA  (11th round in ’11)
  • Steven Rice (2010) LHP; Vanderbilt
  • Adam Boehm (2011) RHP; Wabash
  • Jordan Jackson (2013) OF; Wright State
  • Cam Monroe (2013) IF; Indiana Wesleyan
  • Jake Zurawski (2013) IF; Anderson University
  • Chase Justus (2013) RHP; Hanover 

COACHING STAFF:

  • John Froedge (33rd  season)

          (662W - 310L) .680 over 32 seasons at CHS

          Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)

  • Rhett Welliever  (29th season) Pitching Coach;  Varsity 1st base coach
  • Tony Bean 7th  season at CHS) (CHS, ’87) JV Head Coach; Crawfordsville Youth Baseball President for 10 years; Middle School  Baseball Administrator
  • Brandon Froedge, 10th year (CHS ’99); Infield Coach

Tags Crawfordsville High School • Publisher
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