INDIANAPOLIS — Justin Brady had a hunch his name was going to be called.
The Phil Gardner Mental Attitude Award is presented to a senior after each state baseball game who demonstrates excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership, and baseball ability.
Tecumseh, who lost to Central Catholic 4-1 in the Class A state championship game, had no seniors. That means it would be Brady or one of his two senior teammates: Billy Owens or Carter Johnson.
“Justin doesn’t get a lot of praise, but he’s a calming influence on everyone,” Central Catholic coach Tim Bordenet said. “He’s a tough boy, tough at the plate. He’s really become a good first baseman. I’m so happy. A good boy, a good student and really deserves this representation for our school.”
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Brady, also a starter on the Central Catholic football team that helped that program win a state title in 2019, has a 3.89 grade point average and is vice president of the senior class in addition to president. CC’s Champions Together program for Special Olympians.
“Finishing a year with a win in any sport is the best, but this is my last high school game,” said Brady, who plans to study accounting at Purdue in the fall. “It’s great to end like this.
“It’s an honor. Only four people get it for baseball every year.”
Brady is Central Catholic’s fourth winner in baseball, joining Henry Arth (2004), Dru Anthrop (2009) and Devin Morgan (2011).
Brady is also the third member of CC’s 2022 senior class honored as their Sports Mental Attitude Award, joining Caitlin Dineen (volleyball) and Clark Obermiller (boys basketball).
Jimmy DeBoy honored
One of the newer traditions that comes with winning a state championship is to hang the winning school’s uniform in a ceremonial display case in the lobby of Victory Field.
The winning school gets to choose which jersey will be hung and Bordenet knew exactly which number should be alongside the other three state champions for 2022: Illiana Christian, Andrean and Penn.
No. 51 will be suspended in the case for the next year, in honor of Jimmy DeBoy.
DeBoy was a former young baseball player who wore the number 51. He was killed in a tragic accident in July 2006 when the bike he was riding was hit by a car. No one has worn number 51 for Central Catholic since Jimmy’s brother Ryan did it in the Class A state championship game in 2013.
Until Saturday, it was Central Catholic’s most recent state baseball championship.
“Last weekend was the Jimmy DeBoy tournament that we organize every year, a youth tournament, said Bordenet. “I’m convinced Jimmy played a role in our win at LaPorte (9-4 over South Central in eight innings). Bases loaded, no one came out (in the seventh where CC kept the score out). Someone above took care of us and that was Jimmy DeBoy, no doubt.I’m glad we can honor him and his memory and have that uniform year round.
Johnson, a senior outfielder who would have started Saturday’s state championship had he not suffered a hamstring injury, placed the jersey in the trophy case before the Knights posed for photos in front.
Prior to Saturday, a member of the Anthrop family had played in four of Central Catholic’s seven baseball state titles.
Make it five out of eight.
John and Jana Anthrop’s four sons—Jade (2007), Dru (2007, 2009), Danny (2011), and Jackson (2013)—all helped the Knights win state championships under Bordenet.
John Anthrop joined CC’s baseball program as an assistant coach last season and joined the family baseball tradition on Saturday with a blue ribbon hanging around his neck at Victory Field.
It’s the assistants
Bordenet joined coach Andrean Dave Pishkur as the only eight-time head coaches of Indiana’s high school baseball state championship.
Pishkur won his eighth on Friday night and Bordenet followed on Saturday, both passing legendary LaPorte trainer Ken Schreiber, who won seven single-class state championships.
Bordenet will admit he had strong assistant coaches in all eight state title wins, as well as two second-place finishes and two more trips when four teams advanced to a state semifinal format.
Only one, Dave Sterrett, has been alongside all eight state titles.
“We had to bring Sterrett back. He was out for a few years and we couldn’t win,” Bordenet joked, referring to Sterrett taking a break to follow his daughter’s college softball career. “We had to bring him back and the first year we win a state championship.”
Anthrop, Ryan Johnson, Fred Rogers, James Smith, and Josh White also made the CC baseball team this season.
“We have great staff,” Bordenet said. “A lot of experience, a lot of knowledge. They make me look smart sometimes.”
Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.