Throwback Thursday: VanDeventer helped Whiteland reach ‘06 baseball semistate

Nearly two decades after the fact, Curtis VanDeventer is able to chase down certain specifics.

Some of the big victories Whiteland’s baseball team recorded. The coaches and teammates that made it happen. The postseason run that nearly had the Warriors running onto the grass at Victory Field.

In 2006, VanDeventer, in his fourth consecutive season as a starting catcher, was the lone senior starter for a team that advanced to the championship game of the Class 3A semistate at Jasper.

VanDeventer was the heart and soul of that squad, a .500 hitter who completed the season with 13 doubles and six home runs.

“We had three seniors on that team, a ton of juniors and a handful of sophomores,” said VanDeventer, 36, who now resides in Batesville with his wife Jessica and their four children. “A lot of it was just cohesiveness. A lot of camaraderie. A lot of trust.”

Coached by Whiteland alum Ken Sears, the Warriors were a determined group after losing to a sub-.500 Beech Grove team, 5-3, in a sectional final on their own diamond the previous season.

VanDeventer’s final prep season produced a 24-7 record that included the Warriors’ ability to win close games — including a 10-9 regional triumph at Hamilton Heights.

The Warriors handily defeated Connersville, 11-1, in six innings in the afternoon semifinal at Jasper, a game in which VanDeventer’s baseball career essentially came to an end.

Sliding into second base, VanDeventer attempted to go around a tag. In the process, he tore his labrum, bicep tendon and rotator cuff.

Still in pain that evening, and with little to no zip on his throws, VanDeventer played third base in Whiteland’s 5-0 loss to the host Wildcats in the championship game.

Jasper claimed the title the following week, capping a 34-1 season with a 13-12 decision over Norwell.

Current Whiteland athletic director David Edens, an assistant coach for the 2006 Warriors, has nothing but fond memories of the individuals who made that season so special.

“That group … it’s easily the most enjoyable coaching season I’ve had,” said Edens, a WHS baseball assistant from 1999 to 2012 under three different head coaches. “I couldn’t wait to go to practice, and Curtis was the glue.

“The best high school leader I’ve ever seen. He was our best player, and he was not afraid to be a leader. He was just physical beyond his years. It was just unquestioned. Curtis was the leader of the group. The kid loved baseball as much as anyone loves baseball.”

As a high school sophomore, VanDeventer began dating Jessica Hollon, a classmate who became his wife in August 2010. The couple has three sons: Grant, 9; Hudson, 6; and Everett, 3. Daughter Nora is 1.

Family legend has it that Curtis’ mother, Natalie, and Jessica’s mom, Terri, once carpooled them to and from school as 4- and 5-year-olds.

Today, Curtis VanDeventer is employed as a sales manager for Superior Industrial Solutions, a chemical distribution company out of Fairfield, Ohio.

With no shortage of work and family responsibilities on life’s plate, VanDeventer is a long way from his last visit to a batter’s box, yet he continues to take his cuts.

“You know, it’s kind of funny. It kind of seems like a lifetime ago,” he said. “There’s great memories of great times. But that’s life. You have to learn to evolve after sports at some point.

“It’s just being a parent, being a husband and sneaking in as much golf as I can.”