2011: A.J. Reed, Terre Haute South
2010: Justin O’Conner, Cowan
2009: Tucker Barnhart, Brownsburg
2008: Alex Meyer, Greensburg
2007: Jarrod Parker, Norwell
2006: Josh Phegley, Terre Haute North
2005: Lance Lynn, Brownsburg
2004: Tim LeMasters, Perry Meridian
2003: Clayton Richard, McCutcheon
2002: Adam Lind, Anderson Highland
2001: Wes Whisler, Noblesville
2000: Jim Brauer, Carmel
1999: Bryan Bullington, Madison
1998: J.D. Closser, Alexandria
1997: Matt Mauck, Jasper
1996: A.J. Zapp, Center Grove
1995: Brad Weber, DeKalb
1994: Allen Stunkel, Gibson Southern
1993: Scott Rolen, Jasper
1992: Chip Pettit, Crown Point
Twenty years have come and gone in the presentation of the Indiana Mr. Baseball award with no winner coming from Fort Wayne, which is interesting considering the success on the state level of Summit City teams, including Carroll, Snider and Blackhawk Christian, in recent years.
South Side graduate Will Coursen-Carr is trying to end that dubious distinction.
“That is definitely surprising, especially with schools like Snider and Carroll,” Coursen-Carr said of no Fort Wayne Mr. Baseballs. “That would be really special, especially representing South Side and Fort Wayne athletics in general.”
The pitcher/first baseman will try to add the honor of Mr. Baseball to his growing collection of awards that includes the school’s salutatorian and the 2012 Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year. The announcement will be made by the presenting Hoosier Diamond magazine at tonight’s banquet before this weekend’s North-South All-Star series in Jasper.
“It would be unbelievable, getting all these awards,” Coursen-Carr said. “But I am not expecting it. I am going in there and see what happens.”
Coursen-Carr’s candidacy for the award includes a 10-1 pitching record with 134 strikeouts and a 0.40 ERA and hitting numbers that include a .488 average, 36 RBI, 29 runs and four home runs. The left-hander led South Side to a 20-8 record and the school’s first sectional title and a regional runner-up finish.
“He does a lot of other things besides pitching, if you give him a chance,” South Side coach Sheldon Van Pelt said. “He is a pretty good first baseman and hitter. He is an all-around excellent baseball player.
“He’s the type of player who can change a game. When he is on the mound, the whole team is confident, and they know if we score one or two runs with Will on the mound, we have a pretty good chance to win.”
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Coursen-Carr was a known commodity in the traveling circuit with the Summit City Sluggers but really made a name for himself this season, including an upset win over Homestead in the sectional finals.
“Last summer, I struggled, and I wasn’t as good, so I kind of fell off people’s radar,” Coursen-Carr said. “Maybe just local people knew about me. But advancing to regionals, people noticed me and the team.”
The Indiana University recruit was popular among Major League Baseball scouts this season, being clocked sometimes in the lower 90s, but he was passed over in June’s MLB draft.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said of the draft. “I knew I had a good year, and I knew it was a possibility. I was a little surprised. I don’t know how it works, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s all about signability. Teams see what they want, and that’s why they picked up other guys because that’s what they needed.”
Coursen-Carr said he thinks his biggest competition for the Mr. Baseball award will come from Lake Central pitcher Jimmy McNamara, who pitched the Indians to a 1-0 win over Indianapolis Roncalli in the Class 4A state title game and was named the mental attitude award winner. McNamara has similar pitching numbers to Coursen-Carr with a 10-1 record, 125 strikeouts and a 0.70 ERA.