Today: vs. South Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: vs. Southeast, 4 p.m.
Friday: vs. West, 4 p.m.
Monday: vs. East, 7:30 p.m.
A month and a half after being assembled, Fort Wayne’s District 10 baseball team will try to capture the Big League Baseball World Series title.
The winners of the Central regional begin play at 7:30 p.m. today against the tournament’s host team in Easley, S.C.
The team, which won the Indiana state title, is made up of players from 15 Big League Fort Wayne teams and started playing together during tryouts on June 15. At the World Series, the squad knows the competition will be strong.
“Out of approximately 3,000 Big League teams that start the tournament trail, there are 11 teams left,” said Tom Leonard, who coaches the team along with manager Wayne Horn and Bill Davenport. “You have to assume all of these teams are good, and they are going to give you a struggle every ballgame.”
The Indiana team knows plenty about having to fight for victories.
After opening last week’s Central regional in Wyoming, Mich., with a 19-0 win over Ohio, Indiana defeated Michigan’s District 16 squad 3-1.
Indiana then defeated the regional’s host team 4-0 and 4-1 to win the title and earn a trip to the World Series.
“It gave us some tight ballgames that we had to persevere through and manufacture runs when we needed and play sound defense,” Leonard said of the regional.
Leonard said pitching and defense helped lead the team to the World Series.
Jake Weber of Homestead picked up two wins in the regional, pitching the opening game and in the title game. Matt Kaplanis of Blackhawk Christian and Steve Remesnik of Carroll combined to win the second game, and Mr. Baseball Will Coursen-Carr of South Side won the third game. Jared Harvey of Snider also pitched in the regional opener.
Leonard points to Weber as the team’s leader.
“He’s an 18-year-old senior, who has basically been through the high school wars and baseball wars since he was young,” Leonard said. “He has stepped up and been a leader, not so much verbally but by example with his demeanor and the way he plays the game.”
Evan Vansumeren of South Side and Remesnik have led the offense, which outscored its opponents 70-6 in the state tournament.
“Everyone has contributed, but those are the two that stand out for having the most hits and RBI in the regional,” Leonard said.
Indiana will play four pool games at the World Series. The top two teams from the six-team American pool and five-team International pool advance to the semifinals on Tuesday.
The championship game is Aug. 1.
“It’s a unique experience, once in a lifetime for a lot of people,” Leonard said. “It doesn’t come around very often.”
Other players on the Indiana team are Austin Plasterer (Homestead), Charlie Sipe (Northrop), Andre Jernigan (Homestead), Elliott Ford (Carroll), Tyler Herbst (Northrop), Brandon Soat (Homestead), Grant Wilson (Carroll), Keaston Jackson (Wayne), Brice Urschel (Blackhawk Christian), Zach Millard (Bishop Luers) and Mitch Trieglaff (Huntington North).