STEVE HANLON: 'The Bench Mob' is Andrean's MVP

2014-06-20T18:30:00Z 2014-09-09T23:05:20Z STEVE HANLON: 'The Bench Mob' is Andrean's MVPSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
June 20, 2014 6:30 pm  • 

A 6-1 spanking by Munster late in the baseball season might've been what propelled Andrean into today's Class 3A state championship game in Indianapolis.

And it wasn't the talented starters who got a wake-up call. It was the guys in the dugout who heard the bell ring and, this time, they didn't hit the snooze button.

The 59ers had a players-only meeting in left field. The backside bruises were dealt with. The between-the-ears issues were also confronted. And for the first time in coach Dave Pishkur's 35-year career, the guys not on the starting lineup card got a nickname.

"The Bench Mob" was sprung to live. Since this occurred, the 59ers have won nine straight games heading into today's game at Victory Field against Gibson Southern.

"Even though we're not playing, we're still there,"  said junior Johnny Albomonte, the president and czar of the Bench Mob. "We're in the dugout, we get crazy. We have to get the guys on the field pumped up."

In one of the sectional games, they were yelled at by an umpire because they came out on the field to celebrate a run scoring. Not wanting to offend, a new tradition now happens. When a 59er scores a run, they sit quietly and won't look at him.

Like when a major league pitcher hits a home run, as soon as the spike steps into the dugout, the player is mobbed to the 10th degree. There are other things these guys do.

Albomonte will yell, "Yah," and the rest of the guys will respond with a "Yeet."

There are signs they flash whenever a teammate hits a double or a triple. They will also shoot an air bow and arrow. And there will be more to their show in Indy.

"We've got a few more things in the bag," Albomonte said. "And we've got to bring them out at state. But I can't tell you about them. You have to be there to see it."

Pishkur said he and his coaching staff begged the bench to be more engaged at the start of the season. It wasn't happening. Pishkur said usually this time of year, the bench gets quieter because the guys realize their fate.

This group, sorry mob, didn't have a "woe is me" temperament. They rose up.

"I can't wait to read the story," Pishkur said. "I don't know much about what they do. But after what I've seen, these guys should get a vote for our MVP. It changed the complexion of our team."

After the meeting, they called themselves, "Bench Crazy." Thankfully, though, they had another sit-down and "The Bench Mob" was thrown against the wall and it stuck.

With a resounding thud.

The winning streak started at the Do It Stevie's Way Tournament in Illinois, honoring Mount Carmel's Steve Bajenski, who died in 2012. Albomonte is Bajenski's cousin.

"We have another saying, 'Do it Stevie's Way,' " Albomonte said. "I want to honor him. We want to honor him. And that's what we're planning on doing at state."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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