JIM PETERS: Washington Township baseball coach Roberts will miss Hanover Central in the PCC

2013-05-22T18:30:00Z 2013-05-22T19:51:04Z JIM PETERS: Washington Township baseball coach Roberts will miss Hanover Central in the PCCJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
May 22, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Ask a Porter County Conference athlete or coach about Hanover Central's departure and many of them will give you the same answer.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Unfortunately, Hanover's exit for the Greater South Shore Conference led to some ill will on both sides of the matter, but Randy Roberts is one person you won't hear speaking negatively of the Wildcats.

A lightning rod with his blunt opinions, the Washington Township baseball coach spoke with a tone of disappointment Monday on the subject after his team won the PCC tournament.

"People probably didn't like them because they couldn't beat them," Roberts said. "I'd rather play them than beat somebody 10-0."

Roberts' tenure spans a line of change in the PCC's membership. It has been and continues to be a strong small-school baseball conference, though he believes — rightfully so — it's going to lose a little luster with Hanover's departure.

"I remember when Wheeler left, we took a hit," Roberts said. "We'd play them and there'd be a line of green and orange all the way down the fence, yelling at you. It was great."

Hanover's presence started to be felt a few years later under Jim Nohos, who coached the Wildcats to the PCC tourney title in 2007, its first in 31 years. The program continued its ascent under Nelson, and the coaching advantage that Roberts thought he had over Hanover was gone.

Roberts built his program on toughness, both physical and mental, and Nelson took that philosophy with him to Cedar Lake, buoyed by the three years he spent as an assistant at Washington.

"He's kind of a Mini-Me," Roberts said with a smile.

Nelson would certainly take it as a compliment.

"Kids don't like to be told no, that they're not very good," Nelson said. "A lot of times, they need to hear it."

It's a style that doesn't fly in a lot of places anymore, but it works at Washington and Hanover, and will continue to work as long as Roberts and Nelson are bringing the lineup cards to home plate.

Hanover won the PCC round-robin in its last three years. It was denied a shot at another tourney trophy by the Senators, leaving a lot of smiling faces along Route 2 and Indiana 49.

Washington's title was sweetened by the win over Hanover, but not due to the circumstances. For Roberts, it's not just about victories, it's about the challenges that come with them, and that's what Nelson's Wildcats provided.

"I'm proud that we won after beating Hanover because they were the beat team," Roberts said. "I kept telling our kids they didn't win 22 games for nothing. Traditionally, they play their best against us."

Hanover didn't on that day, which was the most disappointing part for Nelson, coming against his old mentor. With the schools going their separate ways and destined to be in different classes, there will be no more match-ups with anything significant at stake.

Given the mutual respect of the coaches, don't be surprised if they find a way to fit in a game into their non-conference schedule.

"I hope we can keep playing them," Roberts said.

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

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best boys cross country team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses