Penn Baseball not phased by big stage of state championship
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - Normally, this week is reserved for Penn's youth baseball camp.
However, for the second time in three seasons, Head Coach Greg Dikos and his team are headed back to the state title game.
"I don't have to worry about what team is going to show up, I know these guys are ready," Dikos said.
And that is because a majority of the players on this year's Penn baseball team were on the same team that won the state title game back in 2015, a game that provided many lessons for the team.
"Big times players make big time plays in big time stiuations and pressure makes diamonds and pressure is at its highest when it's in a game like that so it's really all abou the atmosphere and it really separates the good ones from the great ones," Senior Niko Kavadas said.
A goal to now pass it down to the underclassmen who will be making their first ever appearance in a state title game, and will play in the biggest game of their lives.
"You can't let the moment consume you, you've got to attack the moment so if you get your shot, when you get your shot, go get it," Kavadas said.
For seniors like Kavadas, Saturday will mark his final game, and no better way for him and all the others to go out than with a win and a state title.
"I saw how fun it was for those two seniors when we won the state championship in 2015 and especially this group being together for 8 years and knowing how much work we've put in, it'd be great," Senior Matt Kominkiewicz said.
With Dikos going for his fifth state title in his fifth try.
"You do it for the kids and you're just happy knowing you can tell them all your hard work paid off, you're in a position where you can do something historic, enjoy it, don't let it slip through your fingers," Dikos said.
Penn will send sophomore lefty Kameron Koch to the mound Saturday against undefeated Indianapolis Cathedral. Koch represents one arm of a young staff Dikos said had to mature quickly. However, the legendary Kingsmen skipper has the full confidence of his lefty.
"He's proven he's had ever since his first varsity start this year, I've thrown him to the wolves and he's always come through and then ok we'll give him another start, ok he did pretty good, we'll give him another start and then another start against reputable people and he's always come through," Dikos said.
First pitch for Penn and Cathedral is slated for 5 p.m. Saturday.