Baseball: All-County team

Just days removed from a storybook senior year, Noah Coy had already moved on to the next chapter.

The recent Center Grove graduate was looking out onto the diamond at Notre Dame’s Frank Eck Stadium when he found out he’d been named the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year for his final high school season — an eye toward the future while being honored for his not-too-distant-past.

Coy will be suiting up for the Fighting Irish soon enough, but he had a memorable run with the Trojans.

Just one year removed from a trip to the Class 4A state championship game, Coy came in this spring finding himself in an unfamiliar role — one of very few experienced players on a young Center Grove squad. In previous years, he’d been able to defer to more veteran middle infielders such as Tyler Cerny and Drew Culbertson, but coach Keith Hatfield made it clear early on that he was counting on Coy to be that guy in 2024.

“Hatfield kind of challenged me,” Coy said, “because he knew I played a little bit of that leadership role in football and I knew how to win, and he was really excited to see me do the same in baseball.”

Having played third base his sophomore and junior seasons while Cerny and then Culbertson manned short, Coy slid back into his more natural No. 6 position and served as a mentor to younger infield starters like Carson Bush and Gannon Grant.

Coy saw it as just a natural passing of the torch.

“Obviously with the infield guys, it’s kind of been that way with the culture,” he said. “I learned from Cerny and Drew, and it’s my job to pass it along to people like Gannon and his little brother and the other ones. I think that was probably my biggest role.”

Of course, he also played a massive role at the top of the Trojan lineup. Over 30 games, Coy reached base at a .570 clip and led the team with a .451 batting average, 42 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. He flashed some extra-base power, totaling seven doubles, two triples and three home runs while knocking in 27 runs.

His play was a big reason why Center Grove, despite all of its graduation losses from a year ago, went 26-2 in the regular season and spent much of the spring as the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A. The Trojans’ campaign ended earlier than they’d hoped with a sectional defeat against state runner-up Mooresville, a loss that Coy called “frustrating,” but he was pleased with how the year went overall.

“It was awesome,” Coy said. “Our expectation was a lot different than the outcome in the regular season. (Hatfield) told me that … it could be frustrating early, but when we came out a lot of the younger guys stepped up.”

Now, he becomes one of the younger guys again, but on what should be a pretty inexperienced Fighting Irish team, Coy believes he’ll at least have a chance to compete for a starting spot in the middle infield.

Though he originally had given a verbal commitment to Cincinnati once upon a time, he felt he couldn’t pass up the chance to go to Notre Dame when it opened up.

“It’s kind of a community aspect,” Coy said when asked what drew him toward South Bend. “Just everyone knows everyone and is friendly to everyone, and I kind of got that vibe when I came up on campus for the first time on my visit. That, and obviously you can’t get a much better degree than Notre Dame, and the opportunity to play ACC baseball is very special. If you have a couple of good years, you’re looking at a chance to move on to the next level as well.

“When the opportunity came to me, it kind of felt like a no-brainer.”


The 2024 All-County baseball team:

A.J. Beggs, Center Grove senior: Led the powerful Trojan lineup with five home runs, 36 runs batted in and 11 doubles, batting .382 with a .504 on-base percentage … Scored 35 runs … Collected four outfield assists.

Carsten Bland, Franklin freshman: Stepped right in as a starter at second base for the sectional champion Grizzly Cubs … Batted .341 with five doubles and 17 RBIs, leading the team with 23 runs, 31 hits and 11 stolen bases.

Braeden Burton, Franklin junior: Hit .328 with a .489 on-base percentage, hitting a pair of home runs … Pitched a team-high 51 innings, many in Franklin’s biggest games, striking out 57 with a 2.88 earned-run average.

Carson Bush, Center Grove junior: Ranked second on the Trojans with a .409 batting average, collecting 38 hits, 36 runs scored, 24 runs batted in and nine doubles … Reached base more than half the time (.513 OBP).

Noah Coy, Center Grove senior: Hit a team-best .451 with 42 runs scored, 27 RBIs, seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and 17 stolen bases … Playing collegiate baseball at Notre Dame.

Peyton Dickens, Whiteland junior: All-around star who hit .435 with 10 doubles, 23 steals, 32 runs scored and 25 driven in while going 4-1 on the mound with a 2.46 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings of work.

Colton Flint, Greenwood Christian senior: A rock behind the plate for the Cougars … Batted .350 with an on-base percentage of .518 while adding three home runs, 25 runs scored, 23 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

Gannon Grant, Center Grove sophomore: Second baseman contributed to a potent offense, batting .367 with 34 runs scored, 29 RBIs, 10 doubles and four home runs … Pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings, earning two saves.

Drew Helton, Whiteland senior: Purdue Fort Wayne recruit and four-year starter led Warriors with a .479 average, 11 doubles, three home runs and 30 runs batted in … Pitched 47 2/3 innings, going 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA.

Ethan King, Greenwood junior: Led the Woodmen with a .362 batting average, 29 hits, 26 runs scored and 14 driven in … Added 12 stolen bases and played error-free defense in the outfield.

Carter Modlin, Indian Creek senior: Batted .389 with six doubles, two home runs, a team-best 18 RBIs, 25 runs scored and 22 steals … Also excelled on the mound, posting a 0.26 ERA while striking out 24 and walking just nine.

Kellen Thomson, Center Grove sophomore: Emerged as the ace of a young Trojan pitching staff, going 7-1 with a 2.64 earned-run average … Struck out 44 and walked just 12 in 45 innings, hurling a pair of complete games.

Honorable mention

Landen Basey, Franklin; Gabe Bennett, Edinburgh; Brock Bragg, Indian Creek; Owen Bullington, Franklin; Kobe Cherry, Center Grove; Logan Connor, Greenwood; Cade Kelly, Greenwood; Levi Laymon, Indian Creek; Drake McClurg, Center Grove; Leo McEnulty, Center Grove; Cole Muhlhauser, GCA; Nash Netter, Franklin; Charlie Overton, GCA; Jordan Palmer, Whiteland; Maalik Perkins, Whiteland; Blake Riddle, Whiteland; Cal Schembra, Center Grove; Will Simons, GCA; Easton Smith, Center Grove; Blake Smythe, Franklin; Bryce Turner, Indian Creek; Avynn Whitaker, Edinburgh; Tristan Yerman, Center Grove