Carroll baseball coach Dave Ginder laughs off the question of whether or not he has begun to scout Cathedral yet, saying his team has plenty of work to do before worrying about the squad his Chargers knocked off in the last two Class 4A state championship games.
Only one team in Indiana high school baseball history has won three consecutive state championships, Lafayette Central Catholic from 2009 to 2011. To match that mark, Ginder says his team needs to continue the positive strides it has made in the second half of the season.
“We have been playing a lot better as of late,” Ginder said. “We have pitched pretty well for the most part this year, but our offense has really been better recently.
“I feel like we are settling in a bit.”
Carroll finished the regular season with a 21-7 record and shared the Northeast Hoosier Conference crown with Homestead, a fine season for any program despite not appearing in the final Class 4A poll of the season. But despite some believing that the Chargers are flying under the radar as sectionals start, Ginder thinks every team is gunning for them.
“I think the target is on our back, but we enjoy it,” Ginder said. “I prefer the target on us, because it shows we have done something to warrant it.”
Carroll has lost several key pieces from the back-to-back title teams but still has the talent to compete for another. Senior Peyton Lengacher is a veteran No. 1 pitcher while Elliott Ford continues to be automatic behind the plate. The senior catcher has caught all but eight innings for Carroll in the last three seasons.
Some new faces have come on the scene. Junior Blake Converset has settled into the No. 2 starting pitching role, and fellow junior Ross Koble has come up big in key situations offensively and defensively.
“When you have new kids in new roles, it is always an adjustment,” Ginder said. “We played a challenging schedule, and with players that have not seen much playing time, that can take some getting used to.”
Carroll will begin its quest for a third straight title against East Noble at 10 a.m Monday at DeKalb. The Knights edged North Side 5-4 in the first game of the sectional Wednesday.
The sectional championship game will be at 7 p.m. Monday.
“A lot of our guys know how to win, and we feel like that is an advantage,” Ginder said. “Some people say we have taken a step back this year, but I am happy with the 21 wins we earned against our schedule.
“We just have to prepare for the first one (against East Noble), survive and advance. We love the opportunity to compete.”