MUNSTER | Bob Shinkan coached Connor Manous' father, but it was so long ago, the elder Manous was a junior varsity baseball player and Shinkan hadn't yet taken over the reigns as the Munster head coach.
When Shinkan saw the younger Manous on his team last season, he not only recognized the face, but also the talent. It didn't take long for him to break one of his own rules.
Manous was named a freshman on the varsity team, a player with potential that needed a chance to see varsity competition early.
By now, Manous has Southeastern Conference teams that can't wait to see him pitch, and in-state colleges calling Shinkan for his updated pitching schedule after games are rained out.
"He just brings a lot of enthusiasm to the team, he loves the game and he’s excited to play every day," Shinkan said. ""
As a sophomore, Manous is 5-0 with a 0.27 ERA. He also plays shortstop, but no team is looking at him to play the infield.
Florida and Kentucky are emailing Shinkan on a regular basis, as well as in-state schools like Indiana State and Purdue.
"He’s doing all the right things by playing on a team that does have summer tournaments all over the country," Shinkan said. "In this day and age you have to show yourself to the coaches, plus he’s gone to a couple of camps, which is what I tell my players, if you like a school, go to their camp because they can see you and put you through the drills they want to see you work with. He’s done all the right things."
While at a camp at Florida, Manous was pulled into the office for a talk with the coaching staff. The Gators liked what they saw and asked for more.
"I was shaking, I didn’t know what to do. I messed up writing my name, I didn’t know anything," Manous said. "They wanted me to come visit and they said they were going to come watch me and get me back down for another visit."
The sophomore said he loves to play in front of a crowd. The louder the noise, the better he pitches. He's counted as many as 10 college coaches sitting in the stands in a two week period.
He doesn't point them out to his teammates, though. He'll stay quiet and wait to see if he's made an impression.
"I just stay humble about it," Manous said. "The local schools that came to watch me pitch, like Indiana State and Purdue wants to see me. Most of the SEC schools want a schedule and they’ll see me this summer."
Manous' velocity has perked up from 84 as a freshman to 88 as a sophomore. The 90s are his next goal.
"I feel like I’m developing more of a knowledge, everyday learning new things about how to handle different situations," Manous said. "My arm, I’m just getting stronger."
"I want to see him get a little bigger," Shinkan said. "We’re not done with this season, but to have him for another two after this, I want to see how he matures into the ballplayer I know he can be."