MADISON – It was a final chance in their high school status’ for an area pair of baseball players. It was the chance of a lifetime for an outgoing manager.
NorthWood’s Matt Dutkowski and Warsaw’s Liam Patton both played their final high school games this past weekend at the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North-South All-Star games, hosted by Madison High School. The two played in a pair of games Saturday, then a wood bat exhibition on Sunday representing the North All-Stars. One of the North managers, Dillion Weldy, also made a surprise appearance on Sunday.
Dutkowski had an RBI single and scored a run in the 7-3 loss to the South in game one. Dutkowski, who is signed to continue his baseball career at Taylor University in the fall, batted twice and played first base. In game two, Dutkowski went 0-3 with a strikeout in the North’s 16-3 win. Dutkowski also manned the first base bag in game two.
Patton, who is signed to play baseball with Wabash College next season, had a tough Saturday at the plate, going 0-6 combined in the two games with four strikeouts. Patton was the designated hitter in game one and catcher for game two.
The North beat the South, 8-4, in Sunday’s wood bat contest. A special moment in the game came late when Weldy, who was a manager for NorthWood this spring, was asked to pinch run, making it his first-ever appearance in a high school baseball game. Weldy, who had cancer curtail much of his athletic career, has since seen his cancer fall into remission and took the chance of a lifetime to run the bases in the all-star contest.
“I was watching the game during lunch yesterday and turned it off when I was driving around running errands,” started NorthWood baseball head coach AJ Risedorph. “It wasn’t long into my errand running that my phone started to blow with text messages and pictures from his mom and Dut’s mom. I was ecstatic! Couldn’t believe it! His words to me when I called him after the game… “If I made it safely to third, you know I was going to steal home!”
“Beyond thrilled for a kid who hasn’t really been able to play real baseball since second grade. It was a very special moment for a weekend filled with them for Dillion.”
The MVP of the All-Star weekend was South Central Union Mills superstar Kyle Schmack, who went 8-10 for the weekend with a double, homer and eight RBI. Schmack is only the second player from a Class 1-A school to win the MVP award at the All-Star showcase.