MERRILLVILLE | There were cupcakes with the No. 900 scrawled across the top in frosting. There were two screen-printed signs commemorating the accomplishment. There was an engraved bat and plaque presentation following the final out.
And there was one coach who didn’t seem to understand what all the fuss was about.
Andrean baseball coach Dave Pishkur earned his 900th career victory on Friday afternoon as the 59ers beat Morton 15-0 in five innings. The final out set off a celebration that included family members, former coaches and players as well as the current team. Pishkur seemed to take everything in stride, even stopping to kick over a water jug that was intended to punctuate the victory.
“(It doesn’t) mean as much as it seems to mean to a lot of other people,” Pishkur said. “It’s not as nice as win No. 895. That was the state title win.”
It wasn’t that Pishkur was ungrateful for the celebration on Friday; it’s that the longtime coach believes the celebration should’ve been about everyone but him.
“First you have to thank God,” Pishkur said. “I’ve been blessed with longevity. You have to have great players each and every year, and we’ve had great players each and every year. Then you have to have great assistant coaches.”
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“All the accolades need to go to God, my players and my assistant coaches,” Pishkur later added. “And I get to reap all the benefits from their hard work. It’s very nice.”
Pishkur has won five state championships over his 38 years at Andrean including back-to-back titles twice. As much as the wins have been a crowning achievement for Pishkur, his longevity at one school is something he holds dear.
“In today’s society you see people following the money,” Pishkur said. “I’m blessed to be at a school, and if I could do it all over again, I’d choose here. You have to have a great support system. A lot of credit goes to my wife. I’ve been fortunate to coach two kids and three nephews. Getting 900 goes with longevity.”
The historic victory will be remembered for a offensive explosion in the fourth inning which saw the 59ers see their first 16 batters of the inning reach base. Andrean scored 13 runs in the inning off just six hits. The 5-9 batters in the lineup each scored twice in the inning and it wasn’t until Nick Fushi, a player not even listed on the varsity roster, struck out, that the first Andrean batter didn’t reach base.
Billy Johnson pitched five scoreless innings for the 59ers (5-0) to get the victory. With his team sending batter after batter to the plate in the fourth inning, Johnson settled in to watch and hope his teammates would get to 10 runs so he could finish off Morton in the next half inning and start the celebration.
“You want to treat it like every other game out there,” Johnson said. “This feels awesome to be the one that got to pitch today. It’s truly an honor.”