Archive for January 29, 2013

TAYLOR BASEBALL STANDOUT LOGAN BARNES SIGNS WITH DANVILLE CC

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind – Insider knowledge can be essential to success, and that is why Taylor High School baseball standout Logan Barnes feels his choice of Danville Area Community College will be the right one to continue his hardball career. Barnes used the insider knowledge of several of his friends who already play or have played for the Jaguars program based in Danville, Ill.

“Seth Vautaw and Cameron Clark played with me in high school and go there,” said Barnes, who noted Vautaw now plays for Ball State as a junior walk-on. “I talked to them a lot about it and they both said they liked it. So they had a big impact on my choice to go to Danville.”

In addition to Vautaw and Clark, Western graduate A.J. Vazquez is a sophomore in the Jags program, and Barnes’ former summer baseball teammate David Anderson is a freshman in a program known for developing players who move on to a four-year program. Barnes will hope for the same as he takes his game and lofty statistics to the junior college level.

“I really hope to go to a bigger four year school when I graduate; that has been my goal all along,” he said. “It is definitely a dream.”

Barnes, who still has his senior season at Taylor left to play this spring, is a three-sport athlete who should make an immediate impact on the two-year Danville campus. He led all Howard County hitters last season with a .443 batting average. He was also tops in the county with four triples and was near the top of the list for doubles (seven), steals (10) and runs scored (25). He is a solid shortstop, and on the hill he was 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA over 30 innings of work. He is also a guard on the basketball team and played four years of varsity tennis. But with all of the individual accolades, it is a team accomplishment that he is most excited about.

“My sophomore year we went to the (Class 2A) Final Four,” he said. “We went to semi-state and I was the lead-off hitter and played shortstop. We had a big crowd and it was a big thrill. That is where we want to get back to this season.”

Taylor baseball head coach Brent Owens, who coached the Final Four squad, is excited about Barnes’ choice, and thinks he will do very well at the college level.

“We have had a nice connection there for the last couple of years with Seth playing. It is a real good choice for Logan,” said Owens. “I know he wants to play for four years, and this will give him the opportunity to show what he can do with the success he will have there. Hopefully he will get a shot after he graduates, much like Seth is having at Ball State. They have a good program at Danville.”

Owens said Barnes will be missed when he graduates after this upcoming season as he has been a staple in the Titans lineup since his freshman year in 2010.

“He has had three solid years for us already. He has been our shortstop since I took over the program in 2011,” said Owens. “He is a leader for us. Even as a junior when we were 16-12, he was one of our positive results. He led the county in hitting and led the team in a lot of different offensive categories. But more importantly, he led the team by example and with his leadership skills.”

The National Honor Society student-athlete is ranked in the Top 10 of the Taylor class of 2013, and Owens said that is the kind of leadership he wants in his program. While Barnes is not the biggest and most athletic athlete in the school, he works hard and his devotion pays off.

“The funny thing about Logan is he is not the biggest and fastest, but he can generate a lot of power at the plate,” said Owens. “He has pop on the bat – he hits for power by hitting doubles in the gap. He has great eye-hand coordination. He had about 10 base bits for a bunt, but if the third baseman plays in, he will rip it by him for a double. He is a heady player.”

The shortstop said he would not be where he is today without the support of his parents, Ron and LeAnn Barnes, Coach Owens and his family and friends. But he won’t be alone in his trek to Danville as he will not be the only Hoosier new to DACC. Other Indiana natives joining him in the 2013 Danville recruiting class are Anderson’s Curtis Wilson, Greenwood’s Tylor Martin, Huntington North’s Evan Brown and West Vigo’s Brandon Calleja.

Barnes will have the opportunity to play in a historic baseball stadium during his two years at DACC. The home stadium for the Jaguars is Danville Stadium, home of the Prospect League’s Danville Dans. This old-style stadium was built in 1946 and can seat 4,000 spectators. It has been used by many minor league teams over the years, and has been a focal point in two major motion pictures – A League of Their Own starring Madonna and Tom Hanks and The Babe starring John Goodman.

But for the next two years, Danville Stadium will be the home of a local star who is ready for the next level – Taylor Titan standout Logan Barnes.

DEVIL OF A WIN! CRAWFORD AND TIPTON SHOCKS KOKOMO WILDKATS

Tipton fans storm the court after the Blue Devils upset Class 4A No. 8 Kokomo.

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

TIPTON, Ind.—This win was a long time coming. For the first time since the 1982-1983 season, the Tipton Blue Devils toppled the mighty Kokomo Wildkats in Blue Devil country in what might be Central Indiana’s upset of the season – although many will contend Tipton is simply the better team and it is not an upset at all. Final score: Class 2A No. 3 Tipton 57, Class 4A No. 8 Kokomo 56 in overtime.

“It was a battle and we are really disappointed,” said Kokomo head coach Brian McCauley, who suffered his first back-to-back losses since December 2011. “But Tipton is a really good team and they made the plays to beat us. Both of these teams are very, very good.”

Both teams are so good that it took an extra four minutes of game action to determine a winner – and it was a Blake Hoover 3-pointer with :04.1 seconds left to give the Blue Devils its 19th victory in 108 meetings between the two schools.

McCauley pointed to free throw shooting by his squad that ultimately led to the Kats dropping to 12-2 on the season. The stat sheet shows Kokomo had a better shooting percentage in the field (26 of 44 for 59.1-percent) than it did from the free throw line (3 of 7 for 42.9-percent). On the other side of the court, Tipton shot a sizzling 10 of 12 from the charity stripe and out-rebounded the Kats 25-21 – including 14 Blue Devil offense boards.

But in the end, it was simply too much Mike Crawford – Tipton’s all-time career scorer, University of St. Louis recruit and Indiana Mr. Basketball candidate. He scored at least six points in each of the four regulation quarters and finished with game highs of 35 points and nine rebounds. For his efforts, Crawford was named the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/Subway Player of the Week in District II.

“Crawford is an Indiana All-Star, there is no doubt about it. When your best player is diving on the floor, you know you have a good team. He is a handful – he is so big and strong,” said McCauley. “Tipton did a lot of good things and made a few more plays than we did. I want to congratulate Tipton on a fantastic game for them. They played well and made some plays – they showed a lot of toughness.”

McCauley also noted that the Blue Devils – who have advanced to the Class 2A Final Four the last two seasons – showed slightly more of the toughness that he talked about. And that is something that he will work on this week in practice.

“We showed a lot of toughness, but they maybe showed a little more,” he said. “There were a couple of loose balls that they came up with that are indicative of that.”

Crawford’s all-star worthy performance left few points for the rest of the Blue Devils. Hoover scored nine points on 3 for 3 shooting from beyond the arc and Nate Friend netted six points. For the Kats, Hakim Burnett scored a career-high tying 16 points, LaBradford Sebree scored 15 and Erik Bowen added 13 and a team-high seven rebounds. Tayler Persons, Kokomo’s leading scorer, was limited to just six shots and four points although he did dish out a game-high six assists.

Kokomo’s tough four-game road trip comes to an end Friday night when they play Class 4A No. 18 Anderson (12-2). Harrison (7-6) visits Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday night. Tipton (14-1) hosts Hamilton Heights (8-4) Friday night and Eastern (3-10) on Saturday.

COUGARS TOP TECHSTERS; COACHES VS. CANCER GAME THIS SATURDAY

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Indiana University Kokomo men’s basketball team traveled to the Windy City for the second time in a week to play the Illinois Institute of Technology Scarlet Hawks. The Cougars picked up its sixth win of the season as they locked down on defense in the second half to defeat the Scarlet Hawks 82-36.

IU Kokomo and IIT traded baskets for the first 13 minutes of the opening half, with lead changes or ties. With less than seven minutes left in the first half, Spencer Krhin completed a 3-point play that started a Cougar run. Jared Lawrence found Lewis Cass graduate Jacob Faust under the basket for a layup to make it an 18-5 run to end the first half with a 13-point lead (36-23).

The Cougars used the momentum from the first half and revved up the defense in the second half to add to the halftime lead. Faust had the opening basket off a pass from freshman Kokomo graduate Jalen Tinder to start the second half. With less than 12 minutes remaining, Krhin slammed down a layup to give the Cougars a 32-point lead. The Cougars were in command the rest of the second half, holding IIT to shooting 26-percent from the field and 11-percent from the 3-point line and IU Kokomo cruised to the 82-36 victory.

The Cougars shot 45.6-percent (31-of-68) from the field, 24-percent (6-of-25) from behind the arc, and shot 81.3 –percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line. Krhin scored a team high 19 points while playing 26 minutes off the bench, going 7-14 from the floor while also grabbing five rebounds. Krhin had plenty of help offensively, as Faust added 16 points, Tinder had 12 points and Lawrence chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. The Cougars only committed a season low nine turnovers while the Scarlet Hawks had 17 turnovers.

The Cougars (6-14) finish its five game road stretch and travel to Dayton, Ohio tonight to face the Wilberforce University. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. For in-game updates, follow Cougar Basketball on Twitter (@IUKBasketball) and Facebook (/IUKBasketball).

COACHES VS. CANCER THIS SATURDAY

During next weekend’s game against Illinois Institute of Technology, coach Thompson of Indiana University Kokomo will be one of over 4,000 college and high school basketball coaches across the United States making an unusual fashion statement when he wears sneakers with his game attire to support the Coaches vs. Cancer program during the 10th annual Suits & Sneakers weekend.

“This weekend we’re all on one team helping the American Cancer Society”, said IUK head coach Jace Thompson. “Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend unites coaches and fans in the fight for more birthdays, bringing us all closer to finding cures and saving lives from cancer.

“Cancer has tragically affected many people’s lives including my own. Having lost my father to cancer I feel like this is a great opportunity to support the cause and with any luck we can help be a part of the cure.”

A collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Coaches vs. Cancer program brings coaches, teams and fans together to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society by empowering basketball and other athletic coaches to save lives from cancer by leveraging their community leadership to support the Society. The funds raised by coach Thompson and others help the American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against this disease.

“The Coaches vs. Cancer program turns 20 this year, and in just two decades, high school and college basketball coaches have helped raise more than $85 million to help fund the American Cancer Society’s fight. What an amazing accomplishment… and proof that coaches can really make a difference in the fight against cancer,” said local ACS division director Sandra Chapin . “In May 2013, the American Cancer Society will celebrate its 100th birthday. In our 100 years, we’ve done more than any other cancer-fighting organization to help combat this disease. We’re so grateful that these coaches continue to join us to help finish the fight.”

Fans will also be able to join Coach Thompson in his efforts to support the American Cancer Society. By texting the word “Coach” to 20222 any time between January 21 and April 9, fans can donate $5 to Coaches vs. Cancer – and when they do, they will be entered for a chance to win exclusive prizes, like a free trip to the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic or autographed items from a prestigious coach.

(Courtesy of Indiana University Kokomo)