Southridge sophomores bring hype, successApril 28, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
This isn’t the first time — and it surely won’t be the last time — you hear about Southridge’s successful sophomores on the baseball diamond.
While this group of five — Ethan Bell, Camden Gasser, Colson Montgomery, Sam Sermersheim and Chase Taylor — have had their fair share of success in other sports, they’ve seemed to click even a little more when playing at League Stadium.
“It’s helped a lot, us sophomores have all just kind of found an identity with each other,” said shortstop Colson Montgomery. “If I see a ground ball hit to (third baseman) Camden (Gasser), I just know he’s going to go get it. It’s really fun being able to play with so many people from your own grade.”
Catcher Chase Taylor added: “We’ve just always kind of had that connection since middle and even elementary school. We know how we play, we know how we act and we just kind of understand each other.”
This group of guys was a key part of Southridge’s run to the Class 2A IHSAA State Finals last year and they’re a big reason why the Raiders are off to a 9-3 start once again this season.
At this weekend’s Raider Hardball Classic in Huntingburg, all five players were a big reason Southridge defeated North Harrison 10-1 and then went on to top Lanesville 11-1 in the championship game.
Montgomery was 3-for-6 in the two games with two RBIs and two doubles, Taylor was 4-of-6 with three RBIs and a double while Sermersheim made his varsity debut against the Cougars and pitched four scoreless innings while giving up just two hits.
The tournament MVP was Ethan Bell. Bell was 3-of-4 with two doubles and an RBI in the morning game and then pitched a complete game victory over Lanesville while striking out seven to earn the MVP honors.
“When I’m pitching with Chase (Taylor) catching, it just feels normal and feels right,” Bell said. “I don’t want anybody else behind the plate and that’s always how it’s gone since we’ve been playing together.”
Southridge head coach Gene Mattingly has seen a lot of growth in the sophomore class just since they entered the program at the beginning of last season.
One of the most important things he noticed was the willingness for several of the players adapt to playing at different positions on the field.
“For instance, Colson and Camden always grew up playing in the middle. But when you get to high school, you play with four different classes — last year our best team saw those guys playing at third base,” Mattingly said. “It took some getting used to but now they’re getting that same type of anticipation they had when they were both in the middle.”
It’s also no surprise that the Southridge sophomores have already received their fair share of attention from scouts from colleges and universities all across the country.
In fact, Gasser has already committed to playing baseball in the Big Ten at the University of Michigan for the Wolverines immediately following his high school career.
“It helps get the monkey off your back,” said Gasser on his decision to commit early. “You know what you’re going to do and now, you just have to keep working to make sure you get bigger and stronger and get your body to that next level.”
Montgomery, who has received Division I interest in both basketball and baseball, added: “It’s extremely exciting but it’s hard to believe that we’re just sophomores and this is all already happening. We just have to stay humble because we still have two more years of high school sports, anything can happen.”
With plenty of games left to go in their high school careers, they’ll surely have plenty more scouts and colleges come visit League Stadium to watch and see the potential these players have.
But no matter what happens, Mattingly has one saying that he uses that this group has followed along with greatly — “Keep focused on where your feet are.”
“It sounds kind of cliche and maybe even a little odd, but what’s in their future is an opportunity - it’s not now,” Mattingly said. “We just want them to focus on being the best they can be right now — it can be tough to deal with the distractions (of visits) but that’s part of being really, really good.”
Taylor added: “If coaches want to come and watch us or offer us, then it is what it is. Right now, we just want to focus on having fun playing the game we love.”
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