Times Sports Editor
The Northview baseball program has had a long and successful history under former coach Gary Witham and now, current head skipper, Scott McDonald. The Knights are coming off a 23-6 season which saw the squad reach receive recognition as a top-15 ranked team in Class 4A.
A pair of Knights received recognition by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association recently as Olney Central recruit, Caleb Mason was recognized as a Class 4A First Team All-State player and junior, Zac Niehaus, received Honorable Mention recognition.
"Both of these guys are great athletes and could succeed at any sport that they choose," McDonald said. "Caleb decided early that baseball was his sport. Zac also plays football and is outstanding in that sport as well."
McDonald also pointed out that a number of athletes on his team excel at other sports and that limiting their talents to just one sport isn't conducive to the future success of the kids on his team.
"That is why we do not discourage kids from playing other sports and to enjoy high school," McDonald said. "It is not fair to the kids to do that to them and we are not going to try to sell them on something that we cannot control (promising scholarships)."
Mason is one of a number of Northview baseball players that have gotten collegiate interest and he accepted a scholarship to play at Olney Central junior college next year. Former Knight and current Chicago White Sox prospect, Brady Shoemaker, started his college career there before joining Indiana State for his final two years.
McDonald noted that Mason's work ethic was second-to-none and that his success can be attributed that desire to continue to improve.
"This is a true testament to the importance of hard work at something that you are passionate about," McDonald said of Mason's First Team All-State honor. "He truly loves the game of baseball and this tremendous honor is a result of that."
Mason also might have been the top pitcher on the team this season, but he was held out much of the season due to an early season arm injury. Mason underwent Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow his freshmen year and recently had surgery to again in order to be ready for the collegiate season next year.
"His health was a concern all year, and his injury that he suffered his freshmen year is exactly why we have very strict pitch counts," McDonald said. "We do not want kids getting hurt from things that we control."
Mason joins a pair of former Knights as players to receive First Team honors.
"He joins former NHS players Andy Lumsdon (drafted by the NY Mets out of high school) and Mike Okulovich as first team all-staters. It was truly an honor to watch him perform all season," McDonald said.
Like Mason, Niehaus was a terror to opposing pitchers and his skill set will be an asset to Northview next season and to any college in the future.
"Zac is already one of the top-10 players in the history of Northview," McDonald acknowledged. "He has tremendous skills that are going to be an easy sell for colleges. Speed, power, arm, average and defense are all above average, which is what is going to get him a scholarship."
Niehaus was second only to Mason with a batting average of .505 with 46 hits in 91 at-bats and like his teammate, Niehaus stole 18 bases this season. Adding to his resume was a school record tying 15 doubles this season to go with four triples and five home runs. He also drove in a team-high 44 runs and scored a team-high 47 times while slugging .923 and reaching base 59 percent of the time.
"We compare a lot of his abilities to that of Brady Shoemaker in terms of his ability to hit," McDonald said. "Zac has done a tremendous job of putting the time in to get himself into the position of being able to choose where he gets his education. It is also our hope to get him on the North/South All-Star team next year, or one of our outstanding returning players next season."
Mason received that honor this year, being selected to the North/South All-Star game and is on the South roster that includes 14 Division I recruits and another that will be signing a professional contract.
The all-star series will be played in Richmond July 8-10 and will include a 5 p.m. doubleheader on July 9 and a single game on July 10 at noon.
CLASS 4A FIRST TEAM
|Catcher||Josh Andrade (Sr.)||Crown Point|
|1st Base||AJ Reed (Jr.)||Terre Haute South|
|2nd Base||Kevin Swango (Jr.)||Bloomington South|
|3rd Base||Caleb Mason (Sr.)||Northview|
|SS||Alex Chittenden (Sr.)||Lawrence Central|
|OF||Alex McGowan (Sr.)||Brownsburg|
|OF||Justin Glass (Sr.)||FW Carroll|
|P||Josh Negele (Sr.)||Crown Point|
|P||Dillon Peters (Jr.)*||Cathedral|
Honorable Mention (4A): Jesse Brown (Jr.) -- Franklin Central; James Miglan (Sr.) -- Warsaw; Chandler Sidwell (Sr.) -- Anderson Highland; Jake Straub (Sr.) -- Hamilton Southeatern; Justin Hartenagel (Sr.) -- Brownsburg; Jeff Limbaugh (Sr.) -- Crown Point; Caylor Escalante (Sr.) -- New Castle; Cole Heberling (Jr.) -- Anderson Highland; Andy Gehr (Jr.) -- Westfield; Damion Buck (Jr.) -- Northridge; Andrew Rodgers (Jr.) -- Noblesville; Joe Forney (Jr.) -- Bloomington South; Scott Donley (Sr.) -- Crown Point; Max Kuhn (Jr.) -- Westfield; Jacob Hayes (Sr.) -- Terre Haute South; TJ Weir (Sr.) -- Kokomo; Zach Starr (Sr.) -- Hamilton Southeastern; Drew Small (So.) -- Zionsville; Gatlin Rassi (Sr.) -- Northridge; Sean Godfrey (Sr.) -- New Albany; Colin Brooke (Sr.) -- Fishers; Zac Niehaus (Jr.) -- Northview; Brad Kindred (Sr.) -- Andrson Highland; Ashton Perritt (Jr.) -- Whiteland; Rob Stein (Sr.) -- Hamilton Southeastern; Wade Burtron (So.) -- Westfield; Trey Fankhauser (Sr.) -- McCutcheon; Brandon Adams (Sr.) -- Lafayette Jeff; Ryan Byrne (Jr.) -- Noblesville; Ryan Wilkinson (Sr.) -- Munster; Cameron Nord (Jr.) -- Northridge; Jeremy Juliot (Sr.) -- New Albany; Jeffrey Thompson (Sr.) -- Floyd Central;