Category Archives: Local Ties

Help Me Help MJ’s Bookmark Celebrate

MJ’s Bookmark at 414 S. Main St. in Auburn is celebrating 25 years of nurturing the literary minds of our area. I’m honored to help them celebrate this week . . . kicking it off on Sunday at 1PM. But it’s not about me, other locals will be on hand throughout the week of July 25 to speak about their work and sign books.

Those planning to attend include Bushnell, Peg Barnes, Chad Gramling, Louise Hamm, Jane Kempf, Stan Kowalski, Bill Lock, Vicki Meier, Rachel Roberts, Sally Garrett, Barb Morrow, John Martin Smith, Sharon Zonker, Hubert Stackhouse and Judy Pollack. Annelise Cole will read her own poetry on July 28 from 6-7 p.m. John and Judy Waanders also will be at the store July 28 from noon to 7 p.m.

Congrats to State Champion Carroll Chargers

A pitchers’ duel for the ages at Victory Field in Indianapolis. In the end, the unranked Carroll High School Chargers defeated number 1 Indianapolis Cathedral in a 1-0 shutout to become the Class 4A State Champions. The win marks the school’s first team state title in any sport.

Carroll senior Curtis Wise won with a complete-game shutout, yielding just four hits. The Chargers scored in the top of ninth for the game’s only run.

Justin Glass hit a two-out single, then advanced to second on a passed ball. After Cathedral intentionally walked Grant Wilson, Carroll junior Zach Vanlandingham hit a single just out of reach of the leaping third baseman’s glove into left field, bringing Glass home to score. Wise then held the Fighting Irish in check in the bottom of the ninth.

INDIANAPOLIS – In a pitchers’ duel for the ages, Carroll High School’s baseball team found a way to scratch out the one necessary run to win the school’s first team state title in any sport Saturday night.

The unranked Chargers beat No.1 Indianapolis Cathedral 1-0 in nine innings to claim the Class 4A state title at Victory Field.

Carroll senior Curtis Wise pitched the complete-game shutout, allowing only four hits, in claiming the win over Cathedral’s Dillon Peters. Peters set a state record by striking out 16 batters in the loss.

The Chargers scored the game’s only run in the top of ninth.

Justin Glass hit a two-out single, then advanced to second on a passed ball. After Cathedral intentionally walked Grant Wilson, Carroll junior Zach Vanlandingham hit a single just out of reach of the leaping third baseman’s glove into left field, bringing Glass home to score. Wise then held the Fighting Irish in check in the bottom of the ninth.

Carroll finished 26-6, Cathedral 31-2.

Carroll’s Ross O’Neill was named the winner of the state’s mental attitude award.

Northeast Indiana Players Selected in 2010 MLB Draft

Five players with Northeast Indiana local ties were drafted this week. Here’s a quick look:

Scott Woodward (Norwell) – 15th round by the Oakland A’s (455th Overall)

Matt Bischoff (New Haven) – 20th round by the Seattle Mariners (612th overall)

Zack Dygert (Angola) – 22nd round by the Houston Astros (663rd overall)

Kevin Kiermaier (Bishop Luers)- 31st round by the Tampa Bay Rays (941st Overall)

Chris Squires (Canterbury) – 37th round by the Florida Marlins (1,127th overall)

Hat Tip to Glenn Marini at Wane-TV for his great local cover or area players this year.

Jarrett Grube Signs Minor League Deal with M’s

I haven’t seen anything official from the Mariners yet, so take it however you will.

I came across this interesting post indicating that former DeKalb standout, Jarrett Grube has signed a Minor League deal with Seattle and will report to their Triple-A club in Tacoma tomorrow.

Grube had been playing with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. He joined the Blue Crabs mid-season last year after being released by the Colorado Rockies, who drafted him in the 10th round of the 2004 Draft from the University of Memphis. Although primarily used as a reliever in Colorado’s system, Grube was used mostly as a starter while with Southern Maryland.

In eight games with the Blue Crabs this season, Grube is 3-3 with a 2.06 ERA. He has 36 strikeouts while walking 15 over 48 innings pitched.

Related BBIFW Posts/Pages:

Matt Bischoff Receives National Honor

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has recognized Purdue Senior Matt Bischoff as one of its “Louisville Slugger” National Players of the Week. The senior Boilermaker ace pitched a complete game against Illinois last Friday in an 8-2 win over the Illini.

After allowing a run on back-to-back base hits in the bottom of the first, Bischoff retired the next three Illini hitters to end the inning and then retired the side in order through the seventh inning. He tallied the first two outs in the eighth inning before seeing the an infield single ended a streak of retiring 23 straight.

Bischoff’s complete game was the first one thrown by a Purdue pitcher this year and earned him his ninth win, ranking him second on the team.

In 2008, Bischoff was drafted in the 47th round (1,416 overall) by the New York Mets. That year, the former New Haven High School standout from Decatur was named to the 2008 Big Ten first team after completing the year as the team’s number one starter with a 6-3 record that helped led Purdue to second place finishes in both the Big Ten regular season and tournament.

Related BBIFW Posts:

Taylor’s Gould is MCC Coach of the Year; Other Locals Honored

The Mid-Central College Conference announced its 2010 baseball honors on Friday and the MCC’s regular season champion Taylor University had seven players named first team all-conference plus Kyle Gould was named MCC Coach of the Year.

Gould led the Trojans to their first ever outright MCC title with a 36-13 record and the number one seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Taylor alum has compiled a career record of 182-123 during his six-year tenure with the Trojans.

Travis Carsten (Homestead) was voted the MCC’s best pitcher after posting a 9-1 record and a league-leading earned run average of 3.18. The sophomore surrendered just six walks during 29 innings of conference play to rank second in the league. His 38 total strikeouts was second among Trojan pitchers.

Joining Carsten on the first team was fellow sophomore Ryan Baker (Bellmont) who led the MCC with a 1.80 ERA and a 4-0 (6-1 overall) record during conference games.

Two of Taylor’s remaining first team slots went to a pair of sophomores (and Norwell alums), first baseman Ryne Otis and catcher Rhett Goodmiller. Otis, who led the Trojans with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs, received his second straight selection to the league’s first team. Goodmiller batted .417 and led the team with a .547 on-base percentage.

The Trojans’ seven first team all-conference selections was four more than second place Spring Arbor’s three selections.

Faded Glory Fort Wayne Screen Grabs Extra Bases

At a glance
Wednesday, May 12, 7:00 p.m.Cinema Center, Downtown
437 E. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

TICKETS: $18 online (includes admission and virtual gift bag with digital download of Faded Glory), $25 at the door (does not include gift bag or digital download) at

JUST ADDED:  Exclusive to the 5/12 Fort Wayne screening – The film event for Faded Glory will include special footage of Fort Wayne players and people – all from the DVD extras!  Come out and see your friends and local folks on the big screen!

Relationship woes, bankruptcy, and drug addiction are overcome as players battle through friendship, courage, and humor on the baseball field when ‘NEHST OUT’  premiers Faded Glory, a film about a group of over-the-hill athletes hell-bent on playing in the big leagues, at a special one-night screening event at the Cinema Center Downtown theatre on Wednesday, May 12, 2010.

Faded Glory follows a group of 20-year-plus friends as they refuse to give up on their dream of playing professional baseball. Told through the eyes of a die-hard player/manager who quits his job to reunite his old amateur-league teammates, a band of eccentrics including former major leaguers (plus a poker player, financial broker, landscaper, recycling specialist and Gulf War veteran who all end up on the same team) who all make huge sacrifices in their run up to the amateur world series.  This film will make you laugh, cry, cringe and cheer.

The special screening is part of the much-hullabaloo’d “Nehst-Out Experience from Nehst Studios.

“Our screenings are not just a movie,” said NEHST founder and Oscar-winner Larry Meistrich. “They’re a culture… an atmosphere. We want to bring that elite film festival feel to every city and every theater we visit.”

Faded Glory‘s writer, producer and star, Rick Cohen, will be in the house answering viewers’ questions and signing autographs after the show.

“Faded Glory offers a unique opportunity for players to relive their glory days on the field and for women to experience the locker room environment and psyche of men in an alternative habitat. It should not be missed!” said Leigh Steinberg, the legendary sports agent who inspired the character of Jerry McGuire.

Viewers can guarantee themselves a seat, avoid at-the-door lines, and score a “virtual swag bag” with a free download of the film by purchasing tickets online at


NEHST (pronounced “next”) Studios is a film and television production company founded by Academy Award-winning independent film producer Larry Meistrich (Sling Blade, You Can Count On MeBelly) and entrepreneur Ari Friedman. NEHST Studios is a diversified production, financing and distribution company that integrates the most powerful trends in entertainment and technology marketing. NEHST seeks to break barriers and open up the pitching and development process to anyone with a great idea, maybe even you. Through its inclusive, open pitch sessions and Aspiring Filmmakers Workshop, NEHST Studios is revolutionizing the filmmaking process by giving filmmakers with fresh ideas a chance to pitch directly to producers. Launched at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, NEHST is currently developing dozens of film and television projects. For more information on NEHST Studios, visit


Think of ‘Nehst Out’ like a rock band touring the country. More than a ticket and a movie, these screenings deliver a social atmosphere, featured Q&A with talent from the film, a virtual swag bag, DVD downlad and other valuable goodies.


Faded Glory is a true story of a group of aging athletes, good friends for over 18 years, who never gave up the dream of playing baseball at a competitive level. Through the eyes of their manager Rick Cohen, Faded Glory follows the National Network team, 18 men over the age of thirty-five who have overcome life’s adversities, including injury, divorce, bankruptcy, infidelity, drug addiction, incarceration, and one life-threatening disease. It all takes place as National tries to win a National Amateur Baseball World Series title. Faded Glory is a captivating document of friendship, courage, humor, and the indomitability of the human spirit.


Richard “Rick” Cohen grew up in the Five Towns area of Long Island.   Shortly after his tour of duty on the University of Pennsylvania’s Ivy League championship football teams circa ‘83-‘86, Richard graduated with a B.A. in Communications from the Annenberg School in 1987. While studying at NYU’s Tisch School of Performing Arts, he wrote and produced at Playwright’s Horizon’s in their young writers’ program. Acting by day and writing by night, Richard appeared in numerous national TV commercials and produced two plays Off-Broadway. Under his stage name, Rick Clements, Richard has appeared in several films. Rick has spent time on Los Angeles as well, where he was cast as the heavy in renowned comedy director Tom Shadyac’s first film, My Friend Frank. Today, through his company, Endorphin Entertainment, Richard makes a living as a filmmaker, producer and screenwriter.

Taylor’s Ryan Baker is MCC Player of the Week

Taylor’s Ryan Baker (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont) has been selected as the Mid-Central College Conference Pitcher of the Week. The MCC award is the second of the season for the sophomore, who is playing his first season for the Trojans after transferring from Purdue.

Last Thursday, against Bethel, Baker threw his second straight complete game shutout as Taylor wrapped up a week in which it secured the program’s first ever outright MCC regular season championship. His seven strikeouts against the Pilots improved his season total to 45 in just 49 innings pitched. The outing shrank Baker’s season ERA to 3.31, which ranks second in the league behind only Taylor’s Travis Carsten.

Baker is 3-0 in his last three starts, giving up just one run and 12 hits in his last 19 innings pitched. During that span, the southpaw struck out 19 batters and holds a 0.47 ERA against three of the top offensive teams in the MCC.

Taylor (35-12), the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MCC Tournament, will face its first round opponent on Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University.

Off Season Catchup: Huffman, Ramos, Chang, Carlin, Castro, Grube

Okay, I know I took the offseason off. Probably will not get back to posting as frequently as in the past, but the locla landscape has changed a lot and there is plenty of news sites out there to keep you in the know. I’ll do what I can to supplement with intriguing and interesting content as time allows.

Here’s a recap of some offseason news and info you might have missed:

Matt Stairs is the first position player in the modern era to play for 12 teams. It comes at the expense of former Wizard, Chad Huffman, who was DFA’d by the Padres. I personally don’t understand that move.

They also added lefty Cesar Ramos when they put Joe Thatcher on the DL. He’s excited to be back with the big club after having made his debut last year.

Former Wizards infielder, Ray Chang is playing for the Double-A Portland Salt Dogs in the Red Sox’s organization.

Former Wizards catcher, Luke Carlin could not crack the Pittsburgh lineup and was sent down. Good chance he’ll be playing in Indiana again – with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

Former DeKalb High School standout and Colorado Rockies farmhand, Jarrett Grube returns to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. He joined them midway through the 2009 season. Although he was used as a reliever during his Coloradotenure “Grube excelled as a starter for Southern Maryland last season. In 16 total appearances he started 12 times, and put together a 3-1 record with a 3.36 ERA. He struck out 56 opposed to just 21 walks in 75 innings.”

In other Indy League news, former Wizards infielder, Brett Bonvechio signed a one-year contract with the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League.

Former TinCaps’ pitcher, Simon Castro captured a lot of attention this spring. Particularly, from former Wizards catcher, Nick Hundley:

“Castro has been amazing,” Hundley said. “He’s got great energy. He has really got a feel for every one of his pitches. I didn’t realize he was as advanced as he is.”

The Padres’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year went 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 28 games and was a big part of the TinCaps taking the Midwest League crown.

Valpo’s Miller Earned Preseason Lauds

Catching up on a lot of stories as time allows.

In local ties news, Valparaiso University junior Jarad Miller (Carroll) was selected as one of 40 players to be named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award initial watch list.

The list will be updated in mid-April and the conclusion of the regular season. The Division I national saves leader and four other standout relievers will be chosen as finalists.

Miller was also named to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I Preseason All-American Third Team and earned several All-American honors last season.

Miller set the school’s single season saves record last year as a sophomore when he sealed the deal in 17 games, bringing his career total to 26. That also ranked second in the nation. He posted a 2.16 earned run average in 25 innings of work while opponents hit just .178 against him in 2008.

Valpo is coached by former Fort Wayne Wizards skipper, Tracy Woodson. The team also includes local standouts, senior Matt Stucky (Concordia Lutheran) and junior Justin Frane (Carroll).