ANDERSON — At some point in the very near future — likely Monday — Anderson baseball coach Terry Turner will sit down with his players and explain the significance of the week ahead.
He’ll tell them who Nick Muller was and why he worked so very hard 14 years ago to help create a tournament that carries the former Indian’s name.
The youngest members of the current team were in diapers when Anderson won the inaugural Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament with an 11-6 decision against Pendleton Heights in 2001. Some might not even have been born the previous summer when he lost his life in a crash at the tender age of 16.
Four years ago, as part of the tournament’s 10th anniversary celebration, Turner officially retired Muller’s No. 11 jersey. On Tuesday, the Indians will open play against Madison-Grant at Memorial Field to usher in the newest edition of the event.
“When that tournament started, I thought if we could get three or four years out of it, it would be a good tournament,” Turner said. “It’s turned into a really good tournament.”
Anderson, fittingly, has played a big part in that.
The Tribe’s nine championship game appearances match Pendleton Heights for the most in tournament history, but the Indians haven’t brought home a title since 2007. They have lost in the final in five of the past six years, including an 8-1 defeat against the Arabians last spring.
But the current players share little of that history.
Seniors Drew Laughlin and Jordan Hill and junior Tony Bova are the only players who started last year’s championship game that will play against Madison-Grant on Tuesday.
Junior Julius Neal and sophomore Joe Moran will move into starting roles this season, but top pitchers Jarred Quartier and Grant Bramwell won’t be eligible for a couple of weeks.