Indian Creek’s baseball team is determined to reverse recent trends.
Off to a 4-0 start, the Braves have a primary objective of winning their first sectional title since 1973.
Although the season is still young, first-year coach Eddie Willis said the Braves have made ending the 43-year drought a priority.
“We’ve talked about it, for sure. This could be the first year in a long time,” Willis said. “It is a goal of ours.”
Willis, who prior to this season had served the Braves as either a varsity assistant or as a freshman or junior varsity coach, regards pitching as their primary strength.
Hard-throwing right-handers Eric Braughton and Trevor Ankney anchor a staff that has struck out 49 batters in 26 innings.
Braughton is a junior capable of 88 mph fastballs. He’s worked nine innings, allowed two base hits and fanned a total of 18 batters.
A freshman, Ankney, who throws in the 86 to 87 mph range, has given up only two hits and struck out 11 in six innings of work.
Meanwhile, No. 3 pitcher Max Walls is effective with location and ball movement. In 5 1/3 innings, the junior hasn’t allowed a hit and has struck out 12.
Counted on to provide relief out of the bullpen is sophomore Dylan Sprong.
First baseman Tyler Parks, who has started at third base and catcher in his four-year varsity career, said it helps to have grown up with the majority of his teammates.
“We mix well together. We have good chemistry, so it’s always fun to step on the field,” Parks said. “With so many good attitudes I feel we can do something great.”
Indian Creek is hitting .303 as a team and has collectively stolen 23 bases.
Ankney and Walls lead with four apiece. Sprong, junior left fielder Nolan Remsburg and senior center fielder Sam Willis have each swiped three.
In all, 11 different Braves players are credited with at least one stolen base.
“Most of the kids on this team are really fast,” Parks said.
Willis is the Braves’ leadoff hitter with a .333 average. He’s followed by Walls (.385), Sprong (.357) and cleanup hitter Parks (.200). Senior catcher Jarrett Rozzi (.500) bats fifth with sophomore shortstop Dawson Read (.333) sixth in the order.
The bottom third is made up of Ankney, Braughton and Remsburg. Sophomore infielder Jared DeHart and junior backup catcher Jeremy Lee are also counted on.
“This (start) is what I anticipated,” coach Willis said. “We’ve just got a good group of kids who know where we would like to be at the end of the year and are working hard in practices and games to get as far as we can.”
Indian Creek advanced to the final game of the Class 2A Park Tudor Sectional in 2011 and Class 3A Danville Sectional the following season. The latter saw the Braves lose a 5-4 heartbreaker to Beech Grove in extra innings.
Maybe now is the time.
Upcoming games for Indian Creek baseball:
Monday – Greenwood, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday – South Decatur, 5 p.m.*
Thursday – at Beech Grove, 5 p.m.
May 2 – at Morristown, 5 p.m.*
May 3 – Shelbyville, 5:30 p.m.
May 5 – at Hauser, 5 p.m.*
*Mid-Hoosier Conference games