By Mike Deak
WARSAW – While they didn’t have a spring season to pad their résumés, a pair of Warsaw Tiger baseball players made their commitments official Friday afternoon to continue their diamond careers at the next level.
Warsaw senior Noah Burgh has signed on to continue his college baseball career at Purdue Northwest and teammate and classmate Jacob Hutcherson has penned his intentions to play at Trinity Christian College.
“One big thing when I think of Noah and Jacob on the baseball field, is we knew what we were going to get almost every day with these guys,” said Warsaw head coach Andy Manes Friday afternoon on a Zoom conference call. “They were going to hit the ball hard, even if they got out, they hit the ball hard. And especially on the mound with both of these guys, they are going to throw strikes, they are going to attack hitters. Games that they were pitching in, we knew we had a really good shot of winning those games.
“One word that I would describe their play most is ‘consistency’. We knew what we were going to get with these guys.”
Noah Burgh, Purdue Northwest
Burgh had a huge junior season for the Tigers, landing in the top three in nearly every statistical category while leading the team in most pitching stats.
Burgh’s 52.2 innings pitched and nine games started led the team, as did his five wins and 56 strikeouts. Burgh was 5-3 overall on the hill with a 2.53 earned run average and a 1.29 WHIP. At the plate, Burgh was just as impactful, collecting 33 hits, seven doubles, one homer, 21 RBIs and a team-leading 26 runs scored. He batted .347 with a .431 on-base and an .884 on-base plus slugging.
Among the season highlights for Burgh included four hits, three runs scored and a pair knocked in at Wawasee, five driven in against Columbia City and three runs scored in the sectional contest against Northridge. On the hill, Burgh struck out seven in a two-hit, complete game gem against Huntington North and eight strikeouts in back-to-back home wins against Concord and Wawasee.
“I was between Purdue Northwest and Marietta College,” Burgh said on the same Zoom conference call. “Five hours was just way too far, I couldn’t do that so I knew Purdue Northwest was the school.”
Burgh is undecided on his major.
Purdue Northwest is a Division II program that was 4-5 through the early portion of its schedule before the season was canceled. Coached by Dave Griffin, the Pride are part of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Among the Pride roster are Penn graduate Nathan Lovisa and Elkhart Memorial graduate Justin Walter, both local opponents of the Tigers.
Jacob Hutcherson, Trinity Christian College
Hutcherson quietly put together a very consistent junior season for the Tigers.
His 28 hits were among the tops in the program, as were his .341 batting average and .421 on-base percentage. Hutcherson had 19 RBIs, three doubles and a homer as well as 10 runs scored. Hutcherson also had some time on the hill, pitching 13 innings of relief over seven appearances. He didn’t allow a run in his first six appearances before a tough showing against Northridge in the state tournament. Hutcherson’s 1.62 earned run average and 0.92 WHIP were both team leaders.
Hutcherson had two hits in five different games, including against Concord and Northridge in the sectional. In those two games, Hutcherson combined for three RBIs.
“My dad (Scott) was actually the one who told me about them,” noted Hutcherson during the same Zoom conference call. “I actually emailed them first and they emailed me back. They asked to come up for a practice. After that we just stayed in touch. They sent me that they were interested in me.
Hutcherson looks to major in exercise science with a focus on occupational therapy.
Trinity Christian, coached by Justin Huisman, were 8-9 this spring before the NAIA season was canceled. The Trolls, which have local schools Grace College and Goshen College as part of its schedule, are based in Palos Heights, Ill., and are part of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.