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April 7, 2013

2013 Muller preview: Arabians starting over with familiar face

PENDLETON, Ind. — There’s bound to be an odd feeling at Pendleton Heights this season.

For the first time in 32 years, fans will look into the home baseball dugout and not see the face of head coach Bill Stoudt staring back at them.

It could be a startling adjustment for some, and no one is more aware of that than the man who is replacing the legend.

“I’m one of those people,” said Travis Keesling, himself a 1995 Pendleton Heights graduate and a former player and assistant coach under Stoudt. “But the philosophy and ideals are not going to change. I love this program, and Coach Stoudt built this program. I learned everything I know from him.”

Keesling spent four seasons on the Arabians staff from 2000 to 2003 then left to become a head coach himself at Wes-Del and Greenfield-Central. Along the way, he even managed to lead Anderson Hockett during the American Legion team’s final two summer campaigns.

So he’s a familiar face to many local fans.

That’s more than can be said for the majority of Pendleton Heights’ 2013 roster.

The Arabians’ four Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament championships are the most by any school, and their eight title game appearances are matched only by rival Anderson. But Keesling isn’t the only reason the defending tournament runner-up has a whole new look this spring.

Just two players — third baseman Brogan Gary (.395 batting average, one homer, 15 RBIs) and outfielder Kurt Talbert (.208, 0, 7) — return at the same position they played a year ago. Hunter Cook (.411, 6, 37) moves from designated hitter to first base, and Chandler (.200, 0, 7) and Augdan (.296, 0, 7) Wilson will have expanded roles. Cody Altherr (6-2, 2.85 ERA) is the only pitcher on the staff with varsity experience.

So it’s a relatively fresh start in Keesling’s debut season, and Pendleton Heights appeared to be a bit shell-shocked in last week’s season-opener against Hamilton Southeastern. But the new head coach was greatly impressed with the Arabians’ improvement during a doubleheader split against Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Greenfield-Central three days later.

And his expectations as the team prepares to open the Muller tourney Tuesday against defending Class 2A sectional champion Madison-Grant should sound familiar.

“We always want to come out and win it,” he said of the defacto Madison County championship. “There are a lot of good teams this year, and it’s going to be harder than ever to get back to that championship game. But we’re making big strides with a young team, and I like our chances.”

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Local Sports
  • Marauders edge Tribe, Arabians at PH Invite Less than a week after a close win in the Madison County track meet, the Pendleton Heights boys played host to the 59th annual Pendleton Heights Invitational on Thursday night. Anderson returned to defend its 2013 title, and the host Arabians had not won the event since 2007. In the end, Mt. Vernon spoiled the night, scoring valuable points late to overtake the Indians and win the event 133-127 over Anderson.

    April 24, 2014

  • Arabians rally to topple Tribe in the eighth Thursday night's regular season game at Bill Stoudt Field lacked the artistry of Saturday's Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament final at Memorial Field. But the rivalry rematch between Pendleton Heights and Anderson retained all of its drama. The Arabians (8-4) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Indians 10-9 and run their winning streak to seven games.

    April 24, 2014

  • SPT - HB0423 - PHHS golf 1 PH displays depth, dismantles Delta Three of Pendleton Heights top five golfers sat out Tuesday’s match against Delta, and the Arabians barely missed a beat. Tyler Meyer and Chase Simpson fired low nine-hole scores of 36 to pace the Arabians to a 159-190 victory over the Eagles.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0423 - AU baseball - 117 Heberling lifts Ravens to crucial win Cole Heberling's 11th-inning hit landed in right field for an RBI-single Tuesday, and the Anderson University baseball team moved into sole possession of second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-5 victory against Rose-Hulman.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0422 - AHS PH 4 Lady Tribe takes down county champs In sports, timing can be everything. For the Anderson Lady Tribe, the timing was perfect for an upset Monday night as they squared off with 2014 Madison County softball champion Pendleton Heights. Anderson took advantage of five Pendleton errors and pounded out seven hits to take a 12-5 win over the sixth-ranked Arabians.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millers knock down M-G Class 2A Madison-Grant took a big step up to play Class 4A Noblesville in softball on Monday night, and the result was a 10-0 loss in five innings to the Millers.

    April 21, 2014

  • Area Roundup: Tigers rally to win ranked battle Alexandria rallied for three runs in the sixth inning to knock off Daleville 7-6 in a battle of ranked teams Monday night.

    April 21, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - Muller final - 077 Arabians make history in Muller thriller Pendleton Heights beat Anderson 3-2 to become the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament's first repeat champion.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bulldogs rally past Eagles at Muller Kallen Brooks went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, including a walk-off double in the eighth inning, and Lapel rallied to defeat rival Frankton 3-2 on Saturday at Memorial Field.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

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