They’ve been teammates in travel ball for years and they were Indiana North All-Star teammates this year.

And now they’re sharing the Pharos-Tribune’s top baseball honor, as Lewis Cass senior Reece Rodabaugh and Logansport senior Tucker Platt are the 2019 Co-Loganland Players of the Year.

“We first started out 12U summer ball and we played 12U through 17U,” said Platt, a repeat selection. “It was pretty fun each summer, we would always be together and we just remember those trips like it was yesterday. I’m happy that he’s going to Purdue and I’m going to Olney. So I wish him success and I know he’ll do big things there.”

“We went from the Battle Ground Tomahawks at 12U, played there for two years,” added Rodabaugh. “Then 14U we played for the Tribe, then 15 through 17 we played with the Indiana Prospects. We’ve actually had the same head coach, Dan Walbaum, he’s been the coach for most of those years besides the one year we played for the Tribe.

“I’m glad we got to play with each other, we built a friendship of a lifetime, we’ve been friends since we were little. But to play with each other all those years is something special, he’s been one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, and I wish him nothing but the best at Olney and maybe one day we can play with each other again, whether that’s at college or the next level.”

Platt helped lead the Logansport Berries to their first Class 4A sectional title since 2002 this season.

“I’m extremely proud,” he said. “Going in, no one expected us to go out on top and we did it, first time in 17 years and it felt pretty awesome.”

Platt is a five-tool prospect. But he was best known for his hitting for the Berries. He hit .464 for his career and led the team in hitting all four years.

He hit .486 with two triples, four doubles, 12 RBIs and 21 runs scored this season despite playing through an oblique injury that cost him six full games this season. He tried to play through three games early that cost him a plus-.500 average. He still finished with a .568 on-base percentage and an OPS of 1.163.

His injury probably hurt the Berries’ final record, as they finished 17-16 overall. Had he not been injured, he would have been on pace to lead the state in hits. As it was, he finished third in Class 4A in batting average this season. He hit .571 (8-for-14) with an RBI and five runs scored in three tournament games.

He was a middle infielder for the Berries, including the starting shortstop the last three years where he was a strong defender. But he might move positions at the next level.

“For as big as I am, 6-2, about 230, corner guy. But I think I can play anywhere,” Platt said. “Going in I don’t know what I’m going to be playing, but corner guy, third, first, left field, something like that.”

He can really run for his size. He said he runs to first base in 4 seconds.

“First base under 4 flat. Sixty yard best is 6.9,” he said. “Third to first got up there to 84-85 [mph] but I haven’t done that in over a year.”

He hit four home runs in his career but none this season. The oblique injury did not help. But with his size and strength it would not be a surprise if he hits for more power as his career goes on.

“A lot of guys like the home runs, but I’m more of the guy who likes good batting average and making good contact every time,” he said. “Obviously home runs will come now and then, but I just like putting the ball in play and moving guys along and getting on base is my thing what I like.”

A three-sport standout in baseball, basketball and football at Logansport, Platt will play college baseball at Olney Central Junior College in Illinois.

“They’ll keep me in good hands and they’re a good program, a lot of wins and a lot of talent, and they get guys to the next level and that’s my goal,” he said. “As long as I hit, I think they’ll find me a place on the field, so that’s my goal.”

Logansport coach Jim Turner recently announced his retirement from coaching, citing the program is currently in a good position with six players returning who started in a tournament game. Platt agrees.

“[Mike] Meadows, he can play, Gavin Smith, they’ve got a couple guys that got varsity experience under their belt. So if they can stick with it and jell as a group, they can make runs in the tournament and have a good season at Logansport,” he said.

Errors cost the Berries in their regional loss to Fort Wayne Carroll, and the Lewis Cass Kings also know all about errors costing them in a big game.

Rodabaugh and No. 5-ranked Cass led No. 10 Wabash 2-1 in the sixth inning of a Class 2A sectional game. But the Apaches utilized an effective small ball attack, took advantage of some key errors and struck for four runs in the inning despite not getting a single hit out of the infield to pull off an upset of the Kings.

But the Kings did win their first Hoosier Conference title in any sports in their three years in the league. It was no small feat considering the powerful baseball programs in the conference, which includes Western, Lafayette Central Catholic and Benton Central. That’s not to mention other bigger schools such as West Lafayette, Northwestern, Tipton, Rensselaer, Twin Lakes and Hamilton Heights, which has a pitcher going to the University of Tennessee whom the Kings have beat the last two seasons.

“That was Coach’s first outright Hoosier Conference title, so I was glad we got that for him,” Rodabaugh said. “Personally, I’m sure the team does too, we wish we could have got him a little more, the sectional — the regional was at home. But we got him a Hoosier Conference and that was important to us.”

Rodabaugh went 4-3 with a 0.60 ERA. He struck out 55 and walked 28 in 46 2/3 innings. His ERA ranks second in Class 2A.

“Reece has tremendous talent,” Cass coach Greg Marschand said. “I went down to watch the Indiana All-Star game and in two innings he didn’t even allow a base runner. In the second game he allowed a base runner on an error. There were little kids, Little League and Pee Wee players there, and he mingled around with them and signed baseballs for them. The class he showed was impeccable. That’s more impressive than pitching.

“But for whatever reason, when he pitched, we made errors. He could have been 7-0 or 8-0. His ERA spoke volumes. That’s proven in the fact that we was an All-Star. He proved he belonged there, as did Tucker Platt. They’re both very deserving young men who have a very bright future ahead of them.”

The Kings were loaded this year and finished with a 19-6 record. Rodabaugh did pitch them to a sectional title last year but they fell short this season.

They’ll return a talented senior class for next season but were left wondering what could have been this year.

“We probably had the toughest pitching in 2A baseball,” said Rodabaugh, adding he, Dixon Collins and Austin Holt all finished with ERAs under 1.00.

“Our junior class is pretty good. I think they’ll be just fine next year,” he added.

Rodabaugh will be pitching next year at Purdue, where he hopes to get into games as soon as possible.

“My freshman year my goal is to be a middle reliever, long reliever or just a one-inning guy. I’d like to get a lot of innings and play, that’s what I really want to do is go over there and play and contribute to the team,” he said. “We just the recent coaching change but I’m glad coach [Greg] Goff got it. He’s a really nice guy, he’s a man of God, super easy to get along with. It’s a bummer Waz [Mark Wasikowski] left, but I’m glad Goff got the job. I’m looking forward to it.”

Rodabaugh, of Walton, at 6-3, 195, gives the Boilermakers a talented arm.

“I hit 92 a couple times this year. I probably sit 88-90, that’s where I sit comfortably at,” he said. “My changeup is my plus pitch, curveball and slider I work in there too. I think my location, where I put it at, has stood out for me in school ball and summer last year. I think my location is what helped me out best.”

The following are capsules of the rest of the 2019 All-Loganland baseball team:

Wil Bennett, Logansport

The Berries’ starting first baseman hit .393 with a triple, nine doubles, 20 RBIs and 29 runs scored. He had an OPS of .912.

“Wil Bennett was our most improved player due to a great work ethic and attitude,” Turner said. “He hit .393 with many key RBIs and solidified our infield at first base as well as early in the season having to fill in the outfield due to some injuries that we had.”

Dixon Collins, Cass

The Kings’ senior left-hander went 6-0 with an 0.89 ERA. He led the Kings in innings pitched (47 1/3) and struck out 56 and walked just 12.

“Dixon Collins did a fantastic job on the mound," Marschand said. "He never gets excited, he’s always cool and calm and he was just a flat out strikeout machine. We talked about as coaches that he was well over 60 percent strikes every time he pitched. At times he probably threw too many. He’s a great kid on and off the field. He’s very deserving and was a very key part of our success as conference champions as a pitcher.”

Jacob Cox, Logansport

Cox enjoyed a strong senior season in three sports, which ended with a sectional title in baseball.

He hit .276 with a .450 on-base percentage, as he drew a team-high 27 walks. He had 26 runs scored and 19 RBIs.

He finished second on the Berries in innings pitched with 50 1/3 innings. He went 3-5 with a 3.76 ERA, striking out 47 and walking 30. His strong seven innings of relief in a sectional game against Lafayette Jeff were a key to winning the title.

“Jacob Cox was an outstanding outfielder and pitcher for us,” Turner said. “He was a true leader and hard worker.”

Easton Good, Cass

The Kings’ junior shortstop hit .316 with a .446 on-base percentage. He hit two home runs, two triples, seven doubles and had 16 RBIs and a team-high 24 runs scored. He had 16 stolen bases and had an OPS of .978.

“Easton Good has a tremendous amount of potential,” Marschand said. “There’s a reason why he’s already signed with Miami of Ohio. He had a few more errors than he would have liked but he gets to far more baseballs than most people get to, so obviously he is going to have some errors. But he has a tremendous amount of talent and he loves baseball. You can tell when you’re coaching him that he’s all in. He’s a pleasure to have on the field. A lot of good things will happen with Easton Good.”

Sam Griffeth, Winamac

Griffeth, a senior shortstop, hit .446 with a home run, triple, four doubles, 16 RBIs and a team-high 30 runs scored for the Warriors. He had an OPS of 1.068.

“He’s a senior that has been there for me for two years. You pencil him in at shortstop every day and he competes every day,” Winamac coach Marcus Kay said. “He was our stolen base leader this year (19). He didn’t throw the ball as well as he could have and as he had in the past, but his attitude was great. He hit the ball well, he hit over .400 for us and was an all-around solid baseball player. We’re definitely going to miss him for sure.”

The Warriors went 15-6 this season and placed second to LaVille in the HNAC with an 11-3 league mark.

Kobe Hicks, Cass

The Kings’ senior first baseman hit .319 and had an on-base percentage of .438. He had three doubles and led the Kings in RBIs with 34.

“Kobe Hicks did a tremendous job at first base. Time and time again he happened to be at the right place at the right time with key hits,” Marschand said. “He beat Western at home with a game-winning hit and we had to have that win to have a chance at winning the conference. The bases were loaded and he gets the job done. He’s very dedicated and did the best he could with the bat and at first base. You couldn’t ask for a better kid.”

Austin Holt, Cass

Holt, a junior right-hander, went 8-0 with 0.67 ERA this season. In 41 2/3 innings pitched, he struck out 46 and walked 16.

“Austin Holt has tremendous potential. We’re really looking for big things from Austin,” Marschand said. “He played some outfield, first and third, and pitching-wise again with what we had to offer with Reece and Dixon, we had three of the better pitchers Cass has ever had. He led us in wins and did a fantastic job. We’re really looking forward to Austin leading the way next year.”

Joey Humphrey, Cass

The Kings’ junior catcher hit .378 with four home runs, two triples, nine doubles and 27 RBIs. He had an on-base percentage of .531 and an OPS of 1.247.

“Joey Humphrey might end up being one of the better players we’ve ever had,” Marschand said. “If he gets a break here and there, he could be a draftable player. He has tremendous power and a fantastic arm. He puts his heart into everything he does. He loves baseball. I can’t say enough good things about Joey Humphrey. He eats, breathes and sleeps baseball. As a coach you’re privileged to have guys like him.”

Jacob Kaley, Logansport

Kaley got the ball in big games for the Berries. Facing a lot of Class 5A and 6A schools in the football classifications, he posted a 3.52 ERA. He struck out 53 and walked 22 in a team-high 65 2/3 innings. He posted a 5-7 record and deserved a better fate in several of his starts.

He also had a good year at the plate, hitting .284 with a .355 on-base percentage. He had 14 RBIs and 15 runs scored.

“Jacob Kaley was the workhorse of the staff, leading the team in innings pitched and had tough decisions in some key games but pitched well all year long,” Turner said.

Damon McGuire, Pioneer

McGuire hit .453 with a .512 on-base percentage his senior season for the Panthers. He scored a team-high 27 runs.

“He constantly puts pressure on you with steals, bunting, he has great outfield coverage in center field,” Pioneer coach Dick Farrer said. “He takes a lot of extra bases. He gets a lot of doubles because he runs them into doubles.

“He was a good leadoff man and a great No. 2 hitter. Last year he was almost constantly in an 0-1 hole. [Trey] Waddups would steal on the first pitch and Damon would start out in an 0-1 hole. He did great in that situation. They’re going to miss him in basketball and baseball, he’s a fireplug.”

Mike Meadows, Logansport

The sophomore had a breakout season on the mound and at the plate for the Berries.

He went 7-2 with a 3.20 ERA. He struck out 53 and walked 23 in 46 innings pitched. He had both sectional wins in relief in tournament play.

He hit .361 with four home runs, two triples, four doubles, 22 runs scored and a team-high 37 RBIs in 33 games played. He had an OPS of .971.

“Mike Meadows had seven wins on our staff, really came on strong as a sophomore both on the mound and at the plate where he was team leader in home runs and RBIs,” Turner said.

Mike Rans, Caston

The Comets’ junior third baseman hit .339 and had a .494 on-base percentage. He had seven doubles, scored 21 runs and had a team-high 22 RBIs. He had an OPS of .946.

“Mike really put together another good offensive year for us,” Caston coach Blake Mollenkopf said. “He started off slowly but came on strong in the middle and back half of the year. He had a nice sectional too. He’s a great kid who works hard and who will continue to work hard and get better at third base. I really like what he brings offensively in the middle of our lineup.”

The Comets went 8-17 and 4-10 in the HNAC with a youthful team. But they had a sectional win over South Newton and lost to eventual sectional champion North Miami by an 11-7 score.

Jeb Smith, Winamac

The Warriors’ senior center fielder hit .482 with four home runs, five triples, eight doubles, 39 RBIs and 27 runs scored. He had an OPS of 1.577.

“We’ve got to go back to the Knox game. That was a wild one, 19-11. He hit a grand slam, triple, two doubles and had 11 RBIs,” Kay said. “He hit over .500 most of the season and ended up at .482. He was just a terror on the base paths and played a great center field for us. He tracks down every ball from power alley to power alley. He hit for power and hit for average and did it all for us in the four-hole. He was a terror on the base paths and at the plate for us.”

Mark Smith, Caston

The Comets’ senior catcher hit .303 with a .418 on-base percentage. He had five doubles, 20 RBIs and 20 runs scored.

“Mark was a catcher for us his senior season and was our only senior. He did a terrific job with leadership,” Mollenkopf said. “He’s a quality kid and defensively behind the plate didn’t have a great arm but he made up with it by blocking pitches and handling our young pitching staff. He came along offensively. He’s a kid who works extremely hard and has really reaped the benefits of that work he put on his swing this year.”

Miles VonTobel, Pioneer

VonTobel hit .328 with 13 RBIs at the plate. The Panthers’ junior ace went 4-3 with a 3.05 ERA on the mound.

“He just got better as the season went along,” Farrer said. “He didn’t start out pitching like he wanted to but got better as the season went on. The best thing about him is his leadership. He took time with any player who wanted any information.”

The Panthers had an up and down season and went 11-13 and 8-6 in the HNAC with a youthful team. Farrer said he’s expecting to field an improved team next season with VonTobel and Mason Schnurpel as the top 1-2 punch on the mound.

“We have a chance to be decent next year and really good after that,” Farrer said.

2019 All-Loganland Baseball

First team

Wil Bennett, Logansport

Dixon Collins, Cass

Jacob Cox, Logansport

Easton Good, Cass

Sam Griffeth, Winamac

Kobe Hicks, Cass

Austin Holt, Cass

Joey Humphrey, Cass

Jacob Kaley, Logansport

Damon McGuire, Pioneer

Mike Meadows, Logansport

Tucker Platt, Logansport

Mike Rans, Caston

Reece Rodabaugh, Cass

Jeb Smith, Winamac

Mark Smith, Caston

Miles VonTobel, Pioneer

Honorable mention: Cass — Caden Zeck, David Woolever; Caston — Kade Zeider, Joey Spin; Logan — Drake McLochlin, Ethan Denny; Pioneer — Hunter Klepinger, Gavin James, Mason Schnurpel, Tyler Gaumer; Winamac — Tyler Perry, Keith Dell.

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