Baseball Feature

CHS Baseball spring break trip: A yearly Athenian tradition


Spring break is often a time for athletes to get away before the grueling stretch of the spring sports season begins. Often times they go and relax with their families and friends to get away for a week. Crawfordsville baseball has a little different thought process than most as for nearly the last 20 years the Athenians have used the week off from school to travel down south and play in tournaments to prepare themselves for the upcoming season.

The first trip for CHS was back in 1999 and was organized by Hall of Fame coach John Froedge and Greg Carlson when the team went down to Vanderbilt University.

Froedge noted how the trips played a huge role in the Athenians sustained success over the years.

“The trips were great team builders no question,” the Hall of Fame coach said. They played a significant role in our sustained success for many years. We became a real team on these trips. I am very thankful that the CHS administration allowed us to do this each year and that Coach Motz is continuing this great tradition.”

The 2023 Athenians will leave Wednesday morning for Murfreesboro, TN for their yearly trip. They will play four games in three days before returning back home next Saturday.

Here’s a brief synopsis of each trip that was provided by Froedge himself:

1999 Vanderbilt University; Nashville, TN

Coach Carlson had a former assistant on the football staff at Vanderbilt and made the initial contact. We both had sons who were seniors on this team. It was also a senior class that we (along with Dan Welliever) had coached all the way up from little league.

Our spring break during the first three trips fell prior to the opening day of the baseball game season, so we were only able to practice while away. But what practices they were. During the next three days we had the run of the Vanderbilt baseball field and facilities. We practiced on the field the first two days and played an intra squad game on the third day.

We also attended a nearby church for Easter service.

On this trip and all the others we visited tourist attractions and had other various team and family outings during the trip

Final season record, 22-6

2002 Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN

Our second trip three years later was very similar to the first one

MLB pitcher, David Price was a freshman and pitched the Vanderbilt game we attended

Final season record, 24-7

2005 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Three years later we duplicated the first two trips.

Our thinking at the time was that we would take a trip every three years so that each class that came through would get to at least take one trip.

We started four freshmen on the varsity in 2005; these players made up the core of the 2008 State Championship three years later

On these first three trips, we traveled by caravan, with the parents providing the transportation…. Those trips were great.

2006 Louisville, Ky Tourney

This marked the first year that our spring break coincided with the opening week of the season, so we could play games.

We also realized how meaningful these trips were for team building and overall experience for the team and families that we decided to try and go each year.

We went 2-3 on this trip in a very tough tourney, but finished our season with 29 wins (lost in semi state to Jasper)

2007 Nashville/Franklin, TN

Played games against two really tough teams

This was also the first year we began to include our freshmen and jv team members

Gary Linn (former CHS Middle School Social Studies teacher and Civil War expert), led the team on a Civil War field trip through the Franklin, TN area. It was a great experience for all

Steven Rice was a freshman at the time and got his first varsity pitching on this trip. He later would be a pitcher on Vanderbilt’s 2014 College World Series team.

At the end of our trip, we left Franklin, TN by bus and drove 6 ½ hours straight to Fountain Central; changed into uniforms on the bus; got out and played them and won. It was one of those challenges that our teams embraced.

Season record, 25-7

2008 Frankfort/Shelbyville, KY

We left CHS at 6:00 a.m; played 3 games at two different sites vs, three really good teams; two were 2-extra innings; got to our hotel after the final games around 1:00 a.m.

Won 2008 state title

2011 Brentwood, TN

Played a DH varsity & JV vs private school power, Brentwood Academy.

Won the 2011 state title

2012 Silver Creek Tourney

This trip was three weeks after the F5 tornadoes swept through Sellersburg, IN and the silver creek hs area

We raised money in cville to take and donate to tornado victims

I am friends with Joe Deckard, the silver creek hs coach. It was his wife and family that were at home when the tornado demolished their home and led to his wife, Stephanie’s injuries and double leg amputations. It was a national story at the time. We visited her during her recovery, and she actually gave us a motivational talk. She to this day, travels the country doing motivational speaking for people who have faced tragedy in their lives

I don’t think any of us will ever forget that trip

Played against Josh VanMeter who has been a MLB player for several years.

Finished with 22 wins

2013 Louisville, KY tournament

Great tournament; top competition

(faced top pitcher) played a top national team from Chicago area

Great experience

Finish with 25 wins and made it to the Jasper Semi-state

2014 Nashville, TN Brentwood, TN Invite

Played against Nashville area private school powerhouses in the CPA Invite

Finished with 22 wins

2015 Crossville, TN Tournament (east TN)

Finished 5-0 and tourney Champs

Finished with 25 wins

2016 Great Tournament in Clarksville, TN

Very strong tourney vs. Big Schools across TN 

Finished with 25 wins

2017, 2018, 2019 Union City, TN

Smaller school tournament

Very good environment

Attended Vanderbilt game and lots of other events

Finished with 25, 19, and 21 wins


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