Baseball team opens season today against out-of-state opponent


Sam Findley

Junior infielder Noah Coy stands in the batter’s box.

Ethan McComb, Staff Writer

The Center Grove Baseball team is coming off a 25-3-1 record last season. The Trojans are looking to carry that momentum into this spring. Monday’s season opener will give the team a chance to start strong as they travel to Bloomington where they’ll meet a well-known program in Centerville High School (Ohio). The game will take place at the historic Bart Kaufman Field on Indiana University’s campus.

Headlining the returning players from last season is senior outfielder Garrison Barile. Barile piled up 37 hits, seven home runs and a .487 batting average in the 2022 season. 

“The Centerville game goal is definitely to get a strong win to start off the season. I want to run-rule them and set the tone for the year,” Barile said. “My season goal is .500 with 10 bombs, but the main goal is to win state.”

A key component of having another successful season is getting reliable pitching production. Senior pitcher Ben Murphy posted a 3.10 ERA over 40 innings pitched. The right hander is eager to get back on the field and accomplish his goals.

“The past two seasons didn’t turn out how we wanted, and this year’s group of seniors wants to make this a season to remember for a long time,” Murphy said. “We’ve worked so hard this off-season and can’t wait to get this season started.”

Experience is one of, if not the most important thing, working in the Trojans’ favor. Nearly all starters in the field have at least one season of varsity experience. Junior third baseman Noah Coy said he is coming into this season with confidence.

“With a year of third base under my belt, I definitely feel more comfortable starting there this year, but my ability to play all the infield spots gives freedom to move around the lineup and provide stability throughout the year,” Coy said.

Despite a veteran-heavy lineup, the team is looking for guys to step up into leadership roles after graduating several big hitters. Senior catcher Grant Sawa said he believes this team is full of potential senior leaders. 

“With graduating some key players last year we have had some roles open up and the biggest improvement this offseason has been filling those roles,” Sawa said. “We have new players who are learning the different defenses and how we play together as a team.”

The roster also has Division 1 talent. Senior shortstop Drew Culbertson is a Missouri signee, and he found a groove in the leadoff spot of the lineup last season. One of his primary roles is to set the tone for the game and get the Trojans off to a good start.

“Going into the game as a lead-off batter, your goal is to see a few pitches and have a competitive at bat,” Culbertson said. “The goal is to let the pitcher know that it’s going to be a long day on the mound for him, and that’s exactly what I hope to do Monday.”