The Warsaw Indians, a wooden bat, amateur baseball team comprising of several local players, recently completed it most successful season to date.
The Indians have been around as a team for several years and used to play in a league in Goshen. Grace College graduates Andy Manes, John Edwards and Josh Bailey then joined the team after college and played in the aforementioned league until it folded in 2003.
While Manes and company competed in the league in Goshen the Indians won the championship four years in a row.
The players then decided to join the Michiana Amateur Baseball Association, which is a summer destination for many college baseball players.
While many notable and accomplished college baseball players compete in the league, perhaps the most notable is Notre Dame’s Evan Sharpley.
While Sharpley played for the Michiana Landsharks and is only a reserve on the Fighting Irish baseball team, he also moonlights as Brady Quinn’s backup on Charlie Weis’ football team.
“It’s mainly a league for college players,” Manes said of the summer wooden bat league. “Then you got us old guys against these kids.”
The “old guys” had a pretty succesful season as they compiled a 34-11 record and made it to the regional for the first time.
The Indians beat a team out of Chicago before making its exit from the tournament. Teams from Fort Wayne, Toledo, Ohio and Detroit also made the trip.
The Indians’ roster is a mixture of former local players and those from colleges around the area.
Warsaw graduate Adam Augustine, who is the Tigers’ freshman coach, pitched several times for the Indians.
Other Warsaw graduates include Hans Griepentrog, Gabe Koser, Chris Nycz, Jeff Phillips, Joe Stanley and Geoff Walmer.
The Indians were greatly aided by the addition of several players from Manchester College.
The Spartans are always tough in baseball and players such as Colin Denihan, Marcus and Matt Miller and Matt Talarico spent their summer playing for the Indians.
Matt Miller hit .366 for Warsaw.
Indiana Tech’s Adam Storms led the Indians with 22 RBI.
Marcus Miller and Denihan logged the most innings pitched for the Indians.
Glenn Oaks Community College’s Andy Miller won seven games for the Indians.
Phillips, who is now the head coach at Wawasee High School, said the influx of new players made a huge difference this season.
“This summer was great,” said Phillips. “We brought in some fresh faces and we were able to make it farther than we had before.”
“It looks like we have a good chance at bringing a lot of guys back next summer and also bring some more college guys in.”
So how long will those out of college like Phillips and Manes play?
“I don’t know,” said Manes. “Probably until our knees give out.”
For Indians team stats, visit leaguelineup.com/warsaw or for more information on amateur leagues visit nabf.com or aabc.com
Will Strong Offseason Lead To Tiger Success?
By Dale Hubler, Times-Union Sports Editor
Giving credit to his players’ work ethic and a new weight room, Warsaw Community High School football coach Troy Akers said this past offseason was the best he can remember.
Both in the eight years he was the defensive coordinator for Phil Jensen and now in his tenure, which enters its third season when the Tigers play at Columbia City Friday.
“I feel like we’ve had the best preseason we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Akers, whose team posted a 6-3 regular season record before falling to No. 1 Fort Wayne Snider in the first round of the sectional last season. “We’ve got some guys who have stepped up.”
Akers and his staff of assistants hope their team’s hard work in the offseason will turn into Friday night success when the season gets under way.
After their season opener at Columbia City Friday, the Tigers host Homestead Aug. 25 and then open the Northern Lakes Conference portion of the schedule Sept. 1 at Plymouth.
With Concord returning a number of experienced players from last year’s sectional championship team, NorthWood returning a number of starters from its Class 3A state championship team, Plymouth still loaded with talent from a squad that posted a 7-0 conference mark last year and a Wawasee team boasting talent from a team that finished second in the NLC and 8-3 overall, there are no guarantees or easy games.
“I really believe there are four teams in the NLC, excluding us, that have a chance to go to Indy,” said Akers. “NorthWood could repeat, and then Plymouth, Wawasee and Concord are all very talented but play in the same sectional. We know every week is going to be huge. Goshen has done a 180 (degree turn) and is really improved. Northridge probably has three of the top athletes in the conference everyone would like to have. It’s not the same old Northridge. They’re going to take it out on some people, I just hope it’s not us. It’s bizarre how loaded the conference is. If you get down, you could be down and out. The conference is very competitive.”
To be competitive in the NLC, Akers said his team has to be able to run the football.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the offensive line is just as important to a running attack as the ball carrier himself.
Akers said he was pleased with the progress of his offensive line, but as of late they have been hit with “a rash of injuries.”
According to Akers, senior Kris Leasure (6-foot-1, 212 pounds) will be out an “extended amount of time.”
Senior Nate Click (6-0, 228) is “day to day.”
Senior Nate Wilson (6-4, 278) is nursing an injury.
On top of Akers’ worries about his offensive line, senior receiver Blaine Allen (6-0, 180) is injured.
“We were looking through the summer as far as conditioning and the weight room,” said Akers. “Now we’re experiencing a rash of injuries. We have big kids who can help us on both sides of the ball, but it doesn’t look good right now.”
While there are some injury issues to work through, there are some talented and experienced players returning to wear the orange and black.
Leading the list is senior receiver Chas Simpson, who tallied nearly 900 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year.
Allen, when he returns, will also be a viable threat at receiver.
Prospects to play tight end include seniors Scott Harman and Tommy Reinholt and junior Corey Chambers.
Coming out of the backfield and running the ball could be Ben Davis III, Adam Grimm and Justin Hanson. Akers said freshman Andy Conrad could also see some time in the backfield
The quarterbacking duties fall on the shoulders of senior Tyler Akers and junior Ben Higgins.
Akers said he has seen good things from both his 5-10, 168-pound son and the 6-4, 190-pound Higgins.
“Ben Higgins has done a great job,” said Akers. “Tyler has done a great job, too. Right now Tyler’s got the nod, but Ben Higgins will play. They’re different styles of quarterbacks and Tyler can play a couple different positions. I’m pleased with both quarterbacks.”
Freshman Justin Clemens, who along with Conrad led Edgewood Middle School to a 15-1 record and two conference championships the past two years, may also see time on Friday nights.
Defensively, Spencer Plummer, Andrew Kittrell, Andrew Sparks, Sam Smith, Nate Click and Hans Sale could see time on the line.
Playing linebacker will be Andrew Spears, James Sibray, Dan Kamholz and Reinholt.
Aaron West, Hanson and Daniel Conrad will play in the secondary.
2006 Schedule (Home games in caps)
Aug. 18 at Columbia City
Aug. 25 HOMESTEAD
Setp. 1 at Plymouth
Sept. 8 ELK. MEMORIAL
Sept. 15 at Northridge
Sept. 22 GOSHEN
Sept. 29 at Wawasee
Oct. 6 at NorthWood
Oct. 13 CONCORD
No Name Grade Pos.
2 Matt Franco 9 K/P
3 Tyler Akers 12 QB/DB
4 Justin Hanson 12 RB/DB
5 Brad Waikel 11 WR/DB
6 Tommy Reinholt 12 RB/FS
7 Daniel Conrad 11 WR/DB
8 Erich Sale 10 DB/WR
9 Tony Franco 10 P/K
10 Aaron Sands 10 CB/WR
11 Luke Champion 10 QB/FS
12 Aaron Alfano 10 WR/DB
13 Andrew Rensberger 11 WR/DB
15 Micah Price 10 K/P
16 Nate Deafenbaugh 10 WR/DB
17 Ben Higgins 11 QB/FS
18 Justin Clemens 9 QB/LB
19 Ryan Head 10 WR/LB
20 Matt Barfell 11 DB/WR
21 Jessen Troung 10 WR/DB
22 Steven Gasaway 10 RB/DB
23 Thomas Justice 11 RB/DB
24 Brian Saunders 11 FS/TE
25 Aaron West 11 RB/DB
26 Ben Fox 10 LB/RB
28 Ben Davis III 11 RB/DB
29 Jordan Fournier 11 LB/RB
30 Andrew Grimm 11 RB/LB
31 Jacob Perrone 11 RB/DE
32 Matt Moyer 12 LB/RB
33 Michael Conners 11 RB/LB
34 Cody Kindle 10 RB/LB
35 Andy Conrad 9 RB/DB
36 Joe Ahlersmeyer 12 LB/TE
37 Spencer Plummer 12 DE/TE
38 Tyler Adams 11 DE/TE
40 Gabe Carvahal 10 LB/RB
41 James Poe 11 LB/TE
42 Corey Chambers 11 TE/DE
43 Ryan Rapsavage 12 DE/FB
44 Andrew Spears 11 LB/FB
45 James Sibray 12 LB/FB
46 R.J. Plummer 11 TE/DE
47 Allen Breydon 12 FB/LB
48 Dan Kamholz 12 LB/TE
49 Justin Ousley 11 TE/LB
50 Quinton Stamper 11 LB/OL
51 Kyle O’Brien 11 DL/OL
52 Robert Moore 10 OL/DL
53 Stephenson Jackson 10 OL/DL
54 Brad Shroyer 11 OL/DL
55 Zac Hollinger 12 OL/DL
56 Andy Sparks 12 OL/DL
57 Andrew Kittrell 12 LB/OL
58 Brandon Sowers 10 LB/OL
59 Chris Utley 10 OL/DB
60 Nate Click 11 DL/OL
61 Jimmy Dove 10 OL/DL
62 Alex Nulf 10 OL/DL
63 Sam Smyth 12 DL/OL
64 Jonathon McDowell 12 DL/OL
65 Mike Schlitt 11 OL/DL
66 Doug Caverly 10 OL/DL
67 Brian Gamble 10 OL/DL
70 Andrew Krallman 11 OL/DL
71 Yacharoah Stuart 12 DL/OL
72 Hans Sale 12 OL/DL
73 Kyle Allison 10 OL/DL
74 Brady Houck 12 OL/DL
75 Kris Leasure 12 OL/DL
76 David Walenga 12 OL/DL
78 Jesse Roberts 12 OL/DL
79 Nate Wilson 12 OL/DL
80 Michael Troung 10 WR/DB
81 Blaine Allen 12 WR/FS
82 Quinn Scheller 10 WR/FS
83 Scott Harman 12 TE/LB
84 Sterling Martin 11 WR/DB
85 Chas Simpson 12 WR/DB
86 Ryan Hepler 10 WR/DB
87 Andrew Quella 11 WR/DB
89 Dylan Goble 10 OL/DL
90 Leonard Wells 11 DL/TE
91 Coti Hoffer 10 OL/DL
92 J.J. Bickel 10 TE/DL