New Prairie headed to first semi-state matchup since 2005

NOW: New Prairie headed to first semi-state matchup since 2005

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. -- Eight seniors leading the pack for the 24-5 Cougars, as they look to make history in Kokomo this Saturday.

The 2024 New Prairie Cougars baseball team could etch their names in the history book in their quest for a state title.

"This is something that doesn't happen a lot. And it's only the second time that it's happened here at Newbury meal. So, we want to we want to enjoy it and make sure that we're prepared to play our best on Saturday," Head Coach Mark Schellinger said.

As the number 1 3A team in the state, New Prairie has all the right pieces, and it starts with the friendships. Eight seniors and they've been friends for as long as they can remember. 

2024 New Prairie Baseball LeVon Whittaker/ABC57

"Most of the seniors and some of the younger guys, we've all played together for the last eight years or so. I joined the team late, but I still played with all these guys for the last six years, seven years," senior center fielder Colin Laskowski.

It's a level of friendship that not many grade school teams can relate to.

"We, we've been playing together for almost 10 years, most of us so, I mean, we've got a pretty strong bond, especially for our high school team, and pretty hard to be our friendship, you know, the culture we built here with the definitely a brotherhood," senior pitcher Tyson Greenwood said.

A bond that can't be broken. A bond that starts with a small community, that has instilled big dreams into this team.

"I don't think a lot of schools have what we have with the sense of community since we are. I mean, we are three a school, but we're a little bit smaller," Senior pitcher Joe Kinney said.

"I think they, they understand that they have the support of the community behind them and that just makes it easier,"

Nobody has felt the impact of the New Carlisle community more than Kinney.

Having the support of the town behind him after the passing of his father Michael, who lost his life after battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma in January.

"He was my biggest believer," Kinney mentioned.

Kinney honored his father with a tattoo saying "I may not see you but I carry your love in my heart knowing you're watching over me from heaven".

Caption- Joe Kinney's tattoo on his forearm, in honor of his father passing away on 1.12.2024 LeVon Whittaker/ABC57

"The team's biggest believer, he supported me in this team so much and he really believed that we were going to down to state and get it going," Kinney added.

"Mike touched a lot of lives, and everybody kind of came together and supported their family in the hard time, and it was very cool to see," Greenwood said.

The production from the dynamic duo of Kinney and Greenwood has been special. But nothing can top their friendship on and off the field.

"One of my favorite moments, not just not just this year, but really as a Coach, was Monday when we when we won the regional, Joe Kinney was on the mound and he strike's the last kid out and he sprinted right to Tyson Greenwood at first base and jumped in his arms and there was the dogpile," Schellinger mentioned.

"He's been the greatest friend throughout the years and a great even better teammate. And yeah, our friendship is definitely a brotherhood that probably never been broken," Kinney said.

New Prairie will face Bishop Dwenger in the semi-state semifinals Saturday 2 p.m. at Kokomo Municipal Stadium. The winner will play in the semi-state championship at 8 p.m. against the winner of Twin Lakes vs Delta.

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