INDIANAPOLIS | When the baseball season started, the Indians were handed a mandate: if you want to play baseball at Lake Central, you'll have to deactivate your Twitter account.
The 19 players have gone quiet since March, and to a man, every one of them is eager to restart his account after Saturday’s game.
"We just said, if you want to play baseball this year, you’re not going to have a Twitter account. Was it the right move for this group of kids? Yeah," coach Jeff Sandor said. "There's no doubt that we've been taunted by several different teams, players and word gets around, and our guys sometimes don't keep their mouths shut all that well. We weren't deactivating for any reason other than we didn't want them to get caught up in outside the lines. We focus on what we can do inside the lines. That's the point of emphasis."
The deactivation of accounts was limited to Twitter, and not other forms of social media, like Facebook. Sandor said that the conversations outside of the team were not extending far enough beyond Twitter to cause concern.
"There's trash talking between players in November, I couldn't believe it," Sandor said.
After the state championship win, shortstop Austen Wagoner said that as the Indians rose in the national rankings, he posted a photo of the newest rankings on Instagram.
"I don’t think Coach knows what Instagram is," he said. "When I get home, I’ll be reactivating Twitter."
Thanks for the rank: Sandor has downplayed Lake Central's state and national rankingS all season, even as the Indians were among the tops in the Midwest and the country.
Last week, the ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 moved Lake Central from ninth to 12th.
"Now I'm going to say I'm excited to see where we fall,” Sandor said. "USA Today's comes out on the 20th and ESPN's on Tuesday and I'm pumped up to find out. We're the only team left in those top spots that's playing, so I've got to imagine there will be some climb.”
Two is the magic number: All season long, Jimmy McNamara and Taylor Lehnert have been interchangeable as aces for Lake Central, a luxury Sandor was glad to have.
Looking toward the future, Sandor knows he'll never have two pitchers like that ever again.
"I learned a lot watching those two," Sandor said. "I learned how to be a better person. We ran those guys out there and we knew they were going to be good for seven (innings). I don't care what anybody says, they're the two best arms in the north."
Looking to the future: McNamara and Lehnert will both attend Central Michigan and pitch for the baseball team. As friends, that will make the transition to being away at college easier for the duo.
"We're obviously going to be with each other every day next year," Lehnert said. "It's going to be a fun time going to the same college. That's one part, at least knowing someone and being roommates. It'll be a great time, and hopefully we'll continue some success up there."
Local umpires: Crown Point resident Ed Strbjak worked the Class 3A state title game on Friday while LaPorte football coach Bob Schellinger served as the first base umpire for Lake Central's win.
New attendance record: Throughout the four state championship games, 9,926 fans came to Victory Field, a new IHSAA attendance record for baseball.
Other state finals results: In the first game of Saturday’s tripleheader, Lafayette Central Catholic routed Shakamak 12-2 to win the Class A state championship.
The Knights pounded out 17 hits, which included a nine-run fifth inning to break the game open.
In the Class 2A title game, Northfield edged Evansville Mater Dei 3-2 behind a very strong effort off the mound by Ryan Keaffaber (16-0), who struck out nine batters and gave up just one earned run.
In Friday’s Class 3A state championship, Western routed Indianapolis Brebeuf 8-1. Western recorded only five hits, but the Panthers were able to take advantage of three Braves' errors.