Jasper gearing up for state title gameJune 18, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — Playing the Class 4A State Championship game on a Tuesday evening is a bit peculiar, but the Jasper Wildcats (30-2) have handled the figurative curveballs throughout this unprecedented season. Head coach Terry Gobert is eager for the chance to face Fishers on Tuesday at Victory Field.
“We’re just grateful and excited to be up there,” Gobert said. We’d go any day of the week.”
Jasper seeks its sixth state title in program history. Every class under Gobert’s tutelage has reached the final round at some point.
“There’s nothing like still practicing,” Gobert said. “It helps you the next year as well. These young guys are getting extra reps. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re one of only eight teams that are still having playoff practices.”
Victory Field sets the stage for an intriguing matchup. Jasper won the regular-season Southern Indiana Athletic Conference title. Fishers (23-12) finished with a 7-7 record in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference.
The Tigers have just four seniors — Grant Moritz, Mason Sweeney, Jack Braun and Matt Bryant. In order to get to the state championship game, Fishers earned a 3-2 comeback victory over Munster in the 4A Semi-State 2 game last Saturday.
The Cats asserted themselves in the 4A Semi-State 4 contest. Jasper claimed a convincing 17-2 run-rule over Mount Vernon (Fortville) at Ruxer Field.
Although Fishers is closer to downtown Indianapolis, the Cats’ faithful supporters are also prepared to make the trip. During a practice earlier this week, Jasper parents decorated the players’ cars with colorful stickers and designs.
“It’s huge having a big fan base like we do,” Jasper senior Jobe Luebbehusen said. “Jasper baseball is known for their fans. Our fans like cheering. They get into the games. It makes it a lot easier. It breaks the tension a little bit when there’s a tight game.”
Both teams have climbed the ladder to Indianapolis in the recent past. Jasper made its last state title game appearance in 2017, while Fishers worked its way to Victory Field in 2018. The Tigers captured a 4-3 victory over Cathedral in the championship game.
The Cats are focused on keeping even keels. In Gobert’s eyes, the upcoming contest will resemble the games that Jasper played in the regular season.
“I just want to play our best,” he said. “For every coach, it’s just like a father. You want to prepare your kids for the real world. Our goal is to prepare these kids for a state championship game and atmosphere. After that, who knows what’s going to happen?”
The late Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The Cats want to build upon their successful habits.
“I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else,” Luebbehusen said. “These guys are like family to me. We’ve played since we were kids. We’ve been playing together for the last four or five months. We’ve got one more game left. Hopefully, we do what we’ve been doing.”
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