For sixth title, fifth time was charm

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Coach Terry Gobert and Jasper were paraded around town Wednesday, as he finally got his sixth state championship after the Wildcats fell in each of their previous four state title games. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

INDIANAPOLIS - Terry Gobert stood tall once again as a state champion for the sixth time in his career after Jasper bested Fishers, 3-1, Tuesday night for the Class 4A crown. This win gave the Wildcats their first state championship since 2006, and it also fell on the 25th anniversary of the 1996 single class state championship that started it all.

"I love it," Gobert said. "Phil Kendall (Jasper's 1996 Mental Attitude Award Winner) and I were talking the other day, and he said, 'It's going to be on the 25th anniversary,' and I just thought how blessed I've been and how many good things have happened to our program."

He told of the 1996 team talking to the 2021 team when Jasper honored the first state championship team earlier this year. Gobert thought members of the 1996 squad gave good advice to this year's team - basically, don't worry about Gobert, and just to do what the coaches were trying to tell them. He thought it made a big difference on the 2021 Wildcats.

This year's Jasper team drove past the site of the old Bush Stadium, where the Wildcats first won it all 25 years ago. Apartments stand where the venue once did - leaving nothing but memories for some generations, so these Wildcats went out and made some of their own on Tuesday.

Yet, for the storied program that is Jasper baseball, this was the longest it's had to wait in between championships.

On a night when the old adage of the third time's the charm rang true for Southridge, in this instance, the fifth time was the charm for the sixth championship in Jasper's history. The Wildcats were previously turned away four times as the Class 3A State Runners-Up in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2017. They came close when they dropped a 2-1 loss to Norwell in 2013, and 2-1 again to Andrean in 2015.

"You get up here, there's some really good teams and good players," he said. "In baseball, you don't see in the professional level these one game playoff series - one-and-done. So, it's hard, it's just hard. But man, it wasn't from a lack of effort, don't love them any differently - but it sure is fun to win."

That 2013 team included his son, Nick, who won the Mental Attitude Award that season and was on hand to watch his father win another state championship Tuesday night. However, Terry said they were all tough.

"Nick was one years old and he went to his first state finals at Bush Stadium in '95 - and then '96, '97, '98, 2000 and he's always been in that dugout," Terry said. "When he was a senior, every game until state, 'You know this could be our last game together,' and that one was. And it hit me before the game, as soon as we got in the dugout - I said, '(That's) the last practice in all the years.'"

Terry didn't know if he'd ever get another state championship after the team lost the 2017 championship game to South Bend St. Joseph, 4-0, but it has no bearing on his worth, and he knows he has a lot to do as a person.

Meanwhile, another state championship doesn't raise the bar any higher than it already is at Jasper.

"We want kids to just play their best, get the most out of the season and no, it doesn't put any pressure on the next people, maybe it makes it easier for them," he said.




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