Aders does his part in Mental Attitude heritage

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Jasper senior Evan Aders fielded questions from television reporters after collecting the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award following the Wildcats’ state runner-up finish in Saturday’s Class 3A baseball state finals. For more photos from the game, click here.

By BRENDAN PERKINS
bperkins@dcherald.com

INDIANAPOLIS — You can point to any number of things in the stuffed portfolio of Evan Aders to explain how he became the latest addition to Jasper baseball’s lengthy line of Mental Attitude Award winners at the state finals.

The 4.5 GPA. The class rank of No. 13. His status as the Jasper Class of 2017’s Outstanding Senior Boy. His service work in the Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts and his volunteerism at the critical care unit at Memorial Hospital. All of that distinguished Aders as the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award winner following Jasper’s 4-0 loss to South Bend St. Joseph in Saturday’s Class 3A state finals.

Yet beyond the rundown of the accolades that can be quantified on a list are the testimonials from those who know Aders best. Those don’t count when the IHSAA chooses between the Mental Attitude Award nominees between the two participating state finals teams. But they certainly add some substance behind the selection. And Exhibit A comes from Jared Sermersheim.

Asked about the impact Aders had on Jasper’s program, Sermersheim started talking. He kept going for a minute and 34 seconds.

“He’s a heck of a guy. He’s the kind of guy that everybody’s parents want their kid to be when they’re grown up,” Sermersheim said.

“Being with Evan, watching him grow up, he was an Eagle Scout, community service and everything, all-A student, always has been. He’s one of those guys that he’s going to do his best no matter what, even if it’s above and beyond what’s required. He’s come a long way in terms of the leadership role. When we were younger, he wasn’t one that was a vocal leader, he was more just led by example by always playing the game right, hustling 100 percent of the time, doing everything right. This year, he was really our leader,” Semersheim said, as the team’s fellow seniors sometimes deferred to Aders when it came to some group decisions. “He was the one we always consulted, because he’s been around. And he’s a really good guy, he’s a good guy to be friends with. He’s somebody that’s always going to have your back in a sticky situation. He’s a heck of a ballplayer but he’s an even better guy off the field than he is on, in terms of just being a good person.”

Ask around, and the glowing feedback is a theme. Next up, Jacob Lents.

“He’s just an amazing person. I love the kid,” Lents said. “Just in conditioning this year, he would be dying, but he would be pushing me and pushing the team even harder, because he knew what our potential was. He’d be out there pushing us, working his ass off. Even though he was dying he didn’t ever show it, even on the field. If he messed up, he thought it was on his shoulders, which that’s what leaders do. That’s why I love him.”

Any failure was fleeting for Aders, who committed just one error in center field within a smashing senior season in which he broke Jasper’s career RBI record with 148, passing the old mark by eight. With a single in his first at-bat Saturday, Aders finished with 137 career hits, tied for Scott Rolen for second place all-time at Jasper and one off Neil Giesler’s all-time mark. Aders also exited fourth on Jasper’s career list in doubles (33), home runs (18) and runs scored (120), and his .457 average this season is the 10th-best in a season in Jasper history.

Aders hugged coach Terry Gobert while parents Pam and Doug Aders joined Evan in receiving the honor as he became the ninth Jasper baseball player to earn the Mental Attitude Award. For more photos from the game, click here.

Just don’t expect the future University of Evansville baseball player and biology/pre-med major to be the one trumpeting all those accolades himself.

“He’s very humble,” said his mother, Pam, before his father, Doug, finished the thought. “Very humble, he never likes to have a lot of accolades. He works hard, he’s determined, and he’s the hardest worker I know.”

Evan doesn’t mind going about that business with as little fanfare or attention possible. When he did a live interview with an Evansville radio station last week, “he didn’t want anybody to know about it, not even us,” Doug said. There was no hiding from the microphones or a few thousand fans in Victory Field when Aders accepted the award Saturday, but among the first things he mentioned as he hopped from interview to interview were the people around him: parents, teammates, friends, teachers.

“As far as not liking attention, I just don’t like talking about myself,” Aders said with a smile. “But any time you get honored like that, you’ve got to enjoy it. It doesn’t happen all the time.”

It does occur with semi regularity with Jasper, though. Aders is the 27th Jasper athlete to receive the Mental Attitude Award, and nine of those have come from the baseball program. The last five times Jasper has reached the state finals since 2006, the Cats have snagged the Mental Attitude Award.

To Aders, Jasper’s proclivity for taking the award has a trickle-down effect.

“When I was a freshman and sophomore, I watched Ben Moore, he got (the award), I watched Austin Alles and Tyler Haskins. Those three guys, they had it together up there,” Aders said, pointing to his head, about three seniors from the 2015 team that reached the state finals. “Growing up and watching it be a tradition like that, and whenever you get up here it seems like somebody wins it, I just feel like I was trying to do my part.”

By doing so, Aders added the latest notch of Jasper’s Mental Attitude tradition that just keeps rolling.

“It says a lot about our program, I think. I’ll take our kids over anybody’s kids. We play the game the right way, and Evan’s led the charge. ... His résumé’s loaded, he’s the most polite young man we’ve had, and was a good leader for us, so I’m real happy for him and his family.

“He had an amazing year,” Gobert added. “His numbers were amazing, but his leadership was better.”

All about attitude

Jasper’s other Mental Attitude Award winners in baseball:

2015 — Ben Moore

2013 — Nick Gobert

2010 — Austin Ahrens

2006 — Sam Linette

1998 — Heath Uppencamp

1997 — Matt Mauck

1996 — Phil Kendall

1967 — Phil Rohleder




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