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Andrean earns sixth state baseball title as Doolin pitches gem, offense clicks

AHS boys of summer title 1

Andrean High School baseball players including 2018 graduate Nick Fushi (top) celebrate with an "all pile on the rabbit" display as they savor their 6-1 Class 3A state championship win over Silver Creek High School at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 16.

(Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

 

by Anthony D. Alonzo

Northwest Indiana Catholic

     

     INDIANAPOLIS – The Andrean High School 59ers showed fans what history in the making looks like. It was accomplished in a workmanlike fashion, as players built a lead while their pitching ace shut down the competition en route to a state baseball title in the muggy Indianapolis air on June 16. 

     At Victory Field, junior pitcher Michael Doolin held Silver Creek High School of Sellersburg scoreless for sixth innings as he struck out a championship record 13 batters, and was backed by clutch hitting that propelled the No. 1-ranked 59ers (31-6) to a 6-1 win, and the school’s sixth state crown. 

     The win improved 39-year coach Dave Pishkur’s record to 978-283, and was his sixth state title celebrated at the downtown Indianapolis stadium. The 1971 Andrean graduate moved into second place among coaches for state championship wins. 

     “Our schedule is tough, our coaches are tough, and our expectations our tough, and it (pays off),” said Pishkur. “Our players battled. I harped on those guys all year… and then they started hitting.”

     The 59ers got on the board in the third inning when senior Nick Fushi doubled off Dragons pitcher Sammy Barnett, scoring runner Joel Holtcamp, a junior, who had tripled. Then sophomore Tyler Nelson drove in Fushi with his sacrifice fly. 

     Pishkur said players like Fushi don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve, but he could see each young man feed off their teammates and surroundings to gain poise and focus.

     “For sure I had some nerves, but I have a lot of confidence in our team, and that helps a lot,” said Fushi, a Ball State University recruit.

     Andrean cranked open the floodgates in the fourth, giving themselves a 6-0 lead. Senior Joe Rycerz continued to be a post-season spark for his team as he belted a homer onto the grass berm beyond left field, scoring junior Zach Kammer. 

     Junior Matt Lelito’s three-bagger scored senior Tom Schutz from first. Later with two outs, freshman Charlie Jones smacked an RBI double. 

     Meanwhile, Doolin dominated the Dragons (25-4), who came into the championship match batting .345, but managed only three hits and put one run across in the last inning. 

     “I just wanted to go out there and give these seniors a state championship,” said Doolin, a Vanderbilt University (Tenn.) commitment. “These kids deserve it.”

     Doolin said another inspiration is his dream of catching up to his brother Matt Doolin, who earned two state championship rings as a player on Andrean’s 2009-2010 title teams. 

     Doolin praised the play on offense by his teammates, who he called “family, not friends.” 

     After the 59ers celebratory pile-up in the infield, players received individual medallions and gathered around the carved wood championship trophy presented by Indiana High School Athletic Association officials. 

     The club then locked arms and serenaded the dozens of family members, friends and AHS faculty in the grandstand with their traditional Alma Mater.

     Pishkur said his squad arrived in Indianapolis ready to handle the heat wave; the team had conducted practices in the afternoon sun in the days preceding the championship. But he explained that the real ingredients for the team’s success, aside from them being terrific players, was their unique humor and their commitment to expressing themselves in prayer.

     “We always pray before the game,” Pishkur said. “We were down on the field and I told the players, at some point you may get some jitters, but there’s a guy up there who can help. So don’t be afraid during the game to pray to God.

     “We’re not ashamed to be a faith-based school. We say we represent God, our family and our team,” Pishkur added.

     The only 59er to have previously been a part of a state title team is senior Clay Thompson,who will play at Oakland College (Mich.). As a freshman, Thompson notched a tie-breaking RBI in the 2015 championship game. He sees the two triumphal seasons as bookends to an unlikely dream.  

     “It was pretty surreal my freshman year, and my goal ever since then was to get back and experience that again,” said Thompson. “I’m glad I could do it as a senior and be a leader.”

AHS boys of summer title 2

Andrean High School's Michael Doolin, class of 2019, pitches during the the fourth inning of the Class 3A state championship game versus Silver Creek High School at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 16. Doolin held the Dragons, who came in batting .345, to three hits as he struck out a record 13 batters and issued one walk in the 59ers 6-1 title win. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

AHS boys of summer title 3

Andrean High School head coach Dave Pishkur watches game action during the Class 3A baseball championship with Silver Creek High School at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 16. The 59ers went on to win their sixth state title and sixth championship for the coach, a Gary native, 1970 Andrean graduate and 39-year veteran with 978 wins and 283 losses. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

AHS boys of summer title 4

Andrean High School's Joe Rycerz, class of 2018, dons a cowboy hat as he chats with teammates from the dugout during the Class 3A state championship game versus Silver Creek High School at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 16. Rycerz continued to be a post-season spark as he launched a two-run homer in the fourth inning of the the 59ers' 6-1 title win. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

AHS boys of summer title 5

Andrean High School players sing Alma Mater to their fans as they celebrate their 6-1 Class 3A state baseball championship win over Silver Creek High School at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 16. The 59ers earned their sixth state title and first since back-to-back 2014-15 championship seasons. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

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