ATHENIAN BASEBALL

Crawfordsville honors Froedge by retiring No. 14, Athenians celebrate 2011 state title team

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John Froedge put Crawfordsville baseball on the map.

796 wins, 13 IHSAA Sectional Championships, five Regionals, and the 2008 and 2011 Class 3A State Titles to go along with 24 Sagamore Conference championships all from 1982-2020.

The Athenians honored Froedge’s Hall of Fame career this past Saturday, and retired No. 14.

“I want to personally thank coach Froedge for all that he’s done not only for Crawfordsville baseball, Crawfordsville athletics, but our community,” Crawfordsville athletic director Bryce Barton said. “Coaches, umpires, athletic directors, high school sports fans from Fort Wayne to Evansville and Gary to Lawrenceburg know about Crawfordsville, and that’s because of our baseball program. They know he did it the right way, they know we played hard. Coach Froedge made everyone around him better.

“No other Athenian baseball player or coach will wear the No. 14 jersery again. It is my distinct honor along with Mr. Whiteheads, that the No. 14 baseball jersery is officially retired from Crawfordsville baseball, and congratulations on a tremendous teaching and coaching career.”

Former Athenian athletic director Bruce Whitehead and the rest of the Crawfordsville adminstration took a chance on Froedge, a Southmont graduate and a business teacher just one year out of Anderson University. 

It paid off.

“First, John is a great srong man of strong faith,” Whitehead said on Saturday. “and second and most importantly — John only demanded his players to be as excellent as they could be between the lines, but he also demanded that they be as good as they could be in the classroom and in the community.”

Froedge worked for just two athletic directors in Whitehead in Barton at Crawfordsville, and it was the relationships with more than 200 players over four decades that meant the most to him.

“Guys that’s what it was all about — relationships,” Froedge said. “First thing I walked in today just getting goosebumps seeing the guys. It truly was about relationships with the players and the families. It takes a lot of things for a person to stay with it as long as I was able to and that was a big part of it. Such a joy to work here and be a part of the Crawfordsville High School Community.”

Brett Motz was one of those players, and has assumed the role as Froedge’s successor as Crawfordsville’s skipper. The former All-State shortstop knows first-hand the impact Froedge made on his players.

“I want to speak on behalf of our alumni here, because I know most of these guys and I know they feel the same as I do,” Motz said to a large crowd on Saturday afternoon at the Athenian Athletic Complex. “Coach as we prepared for this day, many of us are reminded by the countless hours you have spent investing in young men, all standing right here. The result is 100s of men who are leaders in their chosen businesses, good fathers, good husbands, and thank you for making us a priority in your life. The world is a better place because of the influence you’ve had on us.”

And above all else, for 39 seasons, Froedge did it the right way.

“The components of Athenian baseball success were hard work — exemplary by the coaches, the vision that Athenian baseball could be the best, and playing the game the Froedge way,” Froedge’s father-in-law Dan Welliever wrote out for Dave Ranard to read over the PA. “Credit coach Froedge for being able to reach the highest goals because of his ability to raise expectations of his players to a higher level. We all agree that winning has been great, however I’m sure John would say that teaching his players to be great young men on and off the diamond is even more important.”

2011 team had all the makings of a state title team

Just three years removed from its first state championship, Crawfordsville baseball was in a prime spot to win it all again in 2011.

In fact it’s all that team talked about.

“We always talked about winning the state championship,” former Crawfordsville coach John Froedge said. “It was always their dream and for a team to be far enough along and good enough to even discuss that was huge.”

Crawfordsville honored the 2011 state title team on Saturday that beat Mishawaka Marian 8-3 in the championship game, in which Chris Minks became the first and only to date player to hit two home runs in a state title game. The Athenians dominated their competition top to bottom throughout the season en route to a 29-6 record. They swept the Sagamore Conference 14-0 — outscoring opponents 167-7. 

On the mound, Cory Rice struck-out 127 batters and totaled 14 wins.

The real weapon though was Crawfordsville’s sticks.

Their 382 hits ranks No. 9 all-time for a single season in the state, while their 358 runs ranks No. 8. They had 91 doubles, ranking No. 6 and 318 runs driven in ranks No. 4. 

Individually, Joel Hobson had 21 doubles, ranking No. 8 all-time. Minks and Jordan Jackson both surpassed 50 RBI, while Jackson recorded a Crawfordsville record 57 runs scored. Hobson, Minks, Jackson, and Caleb Rasmussen all had 50 hits or more.

Hobson, Rice, Jackson, Rasmussen, Adam Boehm, Cam Monroe, Jake Zurawski, Logan Meadows, Chandler Pursell, Alex Ehrlich, Jordan Kiger, Craig Brainard, Nick Page, and Chase Justus all returned for the celebration on Saturday. 

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