Batesville grads turned NCAA national champion or high MLB draft choice, a new Bulldog athlete dominating from day one and joining others in qualifying for state finals.
Good stories, all, but one fired up the community even more.
Batesville High School's boys basketball team had lost its previous six contests against State Road 46 rival Greensburg. After defeating Franklin County and Rushville, the Bulldogs had a rematch with the Pirates in the sectional finals hosted by Greensburg. Led by a senior class that wasn't ready to see the season end, BHS rose up and won the championship for the first time in eight years. The season came to a close in the morning regional round at Southridge, the Dogs falling to Princeton in overtime.
The boys also won the Ripley County Tournament at South Ripley. Colt Meyer and Robert Raver were all-Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference selections. Coach Aaron Garrett was chosen as an assistant for the Indiana All-Stars.
Batesville sent four student-athletes to the state finals in 2019. One of those came from a brand new program at BHS: archery. Coached by Michael Weiler and Michael McKinney, the team saw Ashlan Widener qualify for the state's final round.
Adam Moster went not once, but twice, to IHSAA state events. In the spring, he reached the podium at the track and field finals hosted by Indiana University-Bloomington; then a junior, Moster placed 8th in the 800 meter run while tying a school record. Later, he joined sophomore Lily Pinckley at the state cross country meet in Terre Haute. There, both finished in the top half of their respective races and earned Class 3A state honorable mention.
Before she stepped foot in high school, Emma Weiler had already qualified for an international golf tournament at Trump Doral National, Miami (placing 35th). The freshman went on to an excellent first campaign, winning nearly all tournaments and dual meets she played in. Consistently around par, Weiler led the Bulldogs to a Ripley Co. crown with a school-record 32. Shooting 75 in consecutive weekends, she won conference, took runner-up at sectional and qualified for state at the Lapel Regional. In Carmel, she tied for 42nd and made the All-State team.
Sophomore Tori Harpring was also a regional qualifier for the Lady Bulldogs. She and senior Sarah Ronnebaum added all-EIAC nods.
In her four years at Thomas More University, former Batesville hoops standout Shelby Rupp collected two NCAA Division III national titles. She was a minimal participant in 2016, but a major factor this past spring as the Saints completed a 33-0 season with a finals win over Bowdoin. The senior averaged a double-double (16.2 points, 10.2 rebounds) in six tourney games.
Even after two serious injuries in high school, former Bulldog baseball and basketball star Bryan Hoeing persevered through his time as a Louisville Cardinal to get drafted in the seventh round by the Miami Marlins. At U of L, the righthanded pitcher was chosen as the Muhammad Ali Leadership Baseball Scholarship recipient. He and BHS alum Zach Britton helped the Cards to a College World Series appearance in June. At Omaha, Louisville lost to eventual champion Vanderbilt. In 22 1/3 innings for Batavia of the New York-Penn League, Hoeing had a 4.43 ERA and 17 strikeouts.
We're the champs
For the first time in BHS history, the girls cross country team captured a regional title, one week after both Bulldog squads claimed the South Dearborn sectional. Each team had earlier swept through the EIAC and Ripley County. Moster was conference MVP; Ben Moster, Josh Myers, Daren Smith, Ean Loichinger, Sophie Myers, Pinckley, Madison Rahschulte, Ava Hanson, Maria Lopez and Trysta Vierling were all-EIAC.
What's become a spring ritual, Oldenburg Academy's girls tennis team won its 5th straight regional at Richmond and 8th South Dearborn sectional in 10 years by shutting out East Central. The Lady Twisters finished 20-2.
In an OA fall tradition, the girls soccer team whipped everyone at the Rising Sun sectional. The Twisters then defeated Providence with penalty kicks in the Forest Park regional semifinal, before suffering a 3-2 loss to Evansville Day. The team boasted Allison Storms, a future Centre College player who (along with Denise Davalos) is now competing in the US Soccer National League. Storms also became the first female kicker in Oldenburg's brief football history.
Both Batesville soccer units advanced to regionals. The Bulldog boys defeated host Rushville in the sectional finals, then came up short against Speedway at Greensburg. The Lady Bulldogs pulled off a thrilling win – penalty-kick round – over defending state champ Indianapolis Cathedral and later rolled host Greensburg to win the sectional. At Brebeuf Jesuit, BHS fell to the host Braves.
Senior Carlie Werner was an All-State selection; classmates Liz Heidlage (2nd-team) and Abbey Prickel and Ellie Cassidy (3rd-team) were also honored. Junior goalie Olive Cerniglia joined the quartet as all-EIAC. JJ Kuisel, Cal Sherwood and Ian Powers were all-conference as well.
Bulldog boys tennis returned to the winners' circle at the South Dearborn sectional, topping a solid Oldenburg squad in the final. A win over Knightstown and loss to Connersville followed at Richmond's regional. The Dogs had tied with Greensburg for the EIAC title, seeing 1 singles Lleyton Ratcliffe (MVP) and 2 doubles Max Giesting and Sam Voegele win conference. OA won 16 matches this fall, including an Eastern Hancock Invitational trophy.
Close, no cigar
Oldenburg baseball took down top-ranked Hauser, 3-2, at the Jac-Cen-Del sectional in a Memorial Day classic. That night, the Twisters ran into Rising Sun, losing 6-0.
Batesville varsity volleyball made a run at the sectional, hosted by the Lady Bulldogs. In the title match, they took Lawrenceburg to the brink but lost in 5 sets. Kylie Laker and Macy Prickel were named all-EIAC. The varsity and JV each won county trophies; the reserves added EIAC and Hauser (summer & invite) titles.
BHS track and field swept the Ripley Co. meet but finished as runners-up to East Central at the respective sectionals.
Oldenburg junior Drew Wagner qualified for the golf regional at Henryville after carding 78 at the Greensburg sectional. His score at regional was 77.
Batesville's junior varsity boys won the Ripley County hoops tournament.
For a second year in a row, OA's boys qualified for the cross country regional as a full team. Tyler Kuntz and Dylan Fledderman ran at semistate; Kuntz earned 1st-team All-State for Class A schools.
Jac-Cen-Del's boys soccer made it all the way to the Class A semistate, falling to Indianapolis Lutheran.
East Central sent Kyra Hall, Jacob Weber and Jackson Ketcham to the state swimming finals; Milan's Fernando Gomez also qualified. EC's Kyle Krummen wrestled in the state finals.
Among the notable coaching changes at area high schools, Jake Meiners was hired to lead the EC football program, taking over for athletic director Don Stonefield.
At Batesville, McKinney pared his tennis duties down to one team as Emily Helvie took over the girls program. Conversely, Tom Meyer stepped up to lead both golf teams, succeeding former boys coach Ben Siefert.
BHS AD Bryan Helvie thought he had a replacement for Darrick Cox on the girls basketball sideline in Clark County's David Rarick. But after Rarick pulled a Josh McDaniels, Helvie stepped into the position himself.
Oldenburg volleyball's new leader is Debbie Gregg, who replaced Ned Rogers.
Signing, signings, everywhere signings
Plenty of area student-athletes inked their intention of playing sports at the next level.
Batesville ace Lane Oesterling, after no-hitting the Franklin County Wildcats and earning conference MVP and Indiana South All-Star status, signed to pitch for Indiana University Southeast. The Bulldogs were part of a 4-way tie atop the EIAC.
Other Bulldogs moving on included Michael Ripperger (soccer at the University of Indianapolis) and Tyler Myers (football at Depauw University). Already this year, Werner and Heidlage signed to play soccer at IUPUI and the University of Southern Indiana, respectively. Joshua Myers (University of Evansville) and Liz Loichinger (Marian University) will run long distance.
Oldenburg's all-time leading scorer in girls basketball, Katie Kinker, is now a Pilot at Bethel University. She's averaging 7.5 points per game and 4.3 rebounds. OA's Marigrace Anderson chose soccer at Hanover College.
A host of East Central Trojans signed: softball (Ysa Fox-IU Southeast); track and field/cross country (Lily Greiwe-Indiana Tech, Emma Fey-St. Mary of the Woods, Kyle Gutfreund-Thomas More, Lauren Greiwe-Southern Indiana, Halle Davis-Manchester); soccer (Kameron Seibert-Thomas More, Rachel Hill-Trine, Lauren deLong-Concord, Kaitlyn Miller-Anderson); wrestling (Adam Negangard-Wabash); golf (Katelyn Whitaker-Thomas More); volleyball (Alex Disbro-Ohio Wesleyan, Mack Ewing-IU Kokomo); baseball (Jack Hutchins-Ohio Northern, Zach Henson-Northwestern Ohio); basketball (Jack Driggers-Thomas More); football (Cole Rosfeld-Thomas More). Gutfreund also signed for archery.
Curt Eckstein, a two-time state champion at Oldenburg, now owns an All-American pin with the Purdue University cross country team.
BHS grad Blake Walsman (Class of 2015) signed a professional contract to play basketball in Iceland.
Hattie Westerfeld (BHS '19) was a South All-Star and state top 60 her senior year and now plays roundball for the Indiana State Sycamores.
Youth gone wild
A number of youth teams excelled in 2019.
On the diamond, the Cardinals won the Oldenburg girls softball league. In baseball, the Curve (12-under) won the Indy 500 and Tree City classics in Greensburg. Southeast Stix (3rd-grade) won a couple tourneys, including the USSSA April Attack in Columbus. Batesville Bats' teams won the Cincy West Fall League (13u), Southwest Ohio League Silver Division (11u) and the Wings & Rings Classic (9u).
On the gridiron, Bulldog 1st & 2nd-graders completed unbeaten seasons. Batesville Middle School's boys cross country won the county and EIAC.
The hardwood produced a Batesville Deanery championship for St. Louis' 8th-grade boys, who went 23-4. Batesville's 4th-grade girls won the holiday tournament, while the 5th-grade boys were Dirt Road Basketball League champs and won the Coca-Cola Cup in Mason, Ohio.
Batesville's Nash King, 10, qualified for the USA Swimming state finals. His team, the Hoosier Hills Otters of Madison, captured its 3rd straight Southeastern Indiana Swimming Association crown.
Longtime Batesville public address announcer Bill Hisrich was inducted into the Ripley Co. Basketball Hall of Fame, along with Staci Edwards Schroeder ('90).
BMS added a co-ed tennis team to its list of extracurriculars.
Oldenburg boys soccer gained a couple of impressive wins this fall, knocking off 2-time state champion Fort Wayne Canterbury, as well as a tough East Central squad.
The special-needs camp known as Garrett's Gang, run by the BHS boys basketball program, took place for the sixth year this fall.
Kirby Overman, Batesville head coach of the 1971 regional champs, is part of the latest class being inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Cincinnati Reds caravan at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA came on a snowy day Jan. 19, but All-Star Eugenio Suarez showed up, as did executive Dick Williams, announcers Jim Day and Jeff Brantley, and catching prospect Tyler Stephenson. At the conclusion of the season, Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman retired after 46 years.
The 100th season of Batesville boys basketball is underway, with several alumni set to be recognized throughout the winter.
Dr. Doug Obermeyer, a local chiropractor, raced his 1968 Ford Mustang at the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It didn't stay in Vegas. Beginning Sept. 1, Hoosiers 21 and over were legally permitted to place bets on professional and major college sports at casino sportsbooks. All 14 Indiana casinos have retail operations and a number of smartphone apps offer wagering.
Thomas Buck, Brett Fox, Robert Lamppert, Don "Scoop" Sintz, Charles Sprague and Paul "Ham" Wernke were among those lost to the area sports community in 2019.
Buck was a key member of the Batesville Bulldogs' 1971 regional championship team and belonged to the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame. He is 10th in all-time scoring for the Dogs.
Fox, a captain/linebacker for the East Central Trojans, had signed to play football for Thomas More. Shortly after, he was killed in an early-morning automobile accident involving black ice.
Lamppert was influential in starting the youth basketball program at St. Anthony Catholic Church.
Sintz was synonymous with Whitewater Publications in Brookville, working in several capacities for almost seven decades. Scoop came by his nickname honestly, faithfully covering Franklin County sports and other beats.
Sprague taught and coached a number of sports at the former Brookville High School and later FCHS over a 39-year period. He also served on the school board for 24 years.
Wernke was a Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame coach at Batesville in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A 1951 BHS grad, Wernke starred for the Florida State Seminoles from 1951-55. He scored 1,404 points for the 'Noles (21.3 average in 1952-53), including a 38-point effort as a sophomore. Wernke still holds FSU's record for field goal attempts in a game (37) and is in the top 10 in at least seven other offensive categories. A 3-time NAIA All-American, he entered FSU's Hall of Fame in 1982. He also played baseball for the Seminoles and even tried out for the Reds.