top of page
Search
  • Writer's picturepeters1119

Pride in the program: Portage baseball alum Prance embraces the past in efforts to build the future

La PORTE -- The walk to the pitcher's mound Tuesday at Schreiber Field was a trip down Memory Lane for Shane Prance.

"I think the first time I was out there, we were at home, it hit me a little," Portage's baseball coach said. "It's come full circle. I was talking to (assistant coach Bob) Dixon on the way over here. We have some happy memories here. We have some sad memories here. Portage won the sectional here, I played my last sectional game here. It feels like yesterday, but it's 15 years now.

A 2008 Portage graduate, Prance has returned to his high school, where he hopes to get the program back on track.

"It's definitely not going to happen overnight, but we're building a good foundation," he said. "We have a lot of seniors, and they're doing a good job of building the culture we want. We have some good talent in the younger classes. We're letting them earn their way, get comfortable down there. We knew we were going to take our lumps this year. We set some goals and maybe they were lofty. We want to win every game we're in. It's a tough conference. We don't have any easy ones. But you still want to win."

The Indians fell to 0-3 with a 9-2 loss to the Slicers in their Duneland opener. Portage led 2-0 in the third inning when a pair of two-out rallies resulted in all of La Porte's runs. Four crossed in the third after the Montgomery Cunningham retired the first two batters, then lost the strike zone, walking the next two. The Slicers' first hit came on their 11th batter, and the next, RJ Anglin launched a three-run home run, promptly erasing the Indians' lead.

"We've been shooting ourselves in the foot with that," Prance said. "We get through the first couple innings, guys lose command, we couldn't make plays behind him, it comes unraveled. The big inning's killing us. Give credit to (La Porte). They kept their approach. They're fundamental, like they always are, hits up the middle. They kept extending innings and making our guys throw more pitches."

Portage nicked Anglin, La Porte's ace, for six hits and two runs in the first three innings, but managed just one the rest of the way.

"He could've maybe changed that by throwing a few more breaking balls and letting the fast ball sit in his pocket a little bit, maybe play wiffle ball with them, to keep them guessing," Slicers coach Scott Upp said. "A couple balls that were hit hard were changeups that he didn't put in a good spot. He was anywhere from 87 to 90 (miles per hour). Give (Portage) some credit. They swung the bat."

While Prance looks to the future, he is also integrating in the past in those efforts. Dixon is a long-time assistant who had two sons play for Portage and was on staff when Prance played. Tom Mosley and Hunter Thorn, both former Indians baseball players, are also in the dugout. Freshman coach Blake Schulte is another program alum. Prance, La PORTE -- The walk to the pitcher's mound Tuesday at Schreiber Field was a trip down Memory Lane for Shane Prance.

"I think the first time I was out there, we were at home, it hit me a little," Portage's baseball coach said. "It's come full circle. I was talking to (assistant coach Bob) Dixon on the way over here. We have some happy memories here. We have some sad memories here. Portage won the sectional here, I played my last sectional game here. It feels like yesterday, but it's 15 years now."

A 2008 Portage graduate, Prance has returned to his high school, where he hopes to get the program back on track.

"It's definitely not going to happen overnight, but we're building a good foundation," he said. "We have a lot of seniors, and they're doing a good job of building the culture we want. We have some good talent in the younger classes. We're letting them earn their way, get comfortable down there. We knew we were going to take our lumps this year. We set some goals and maybe they were lofty. We want to win every game we're in. It's a tough conference. We don't have any easy ones. But you still want to win."

The Indians fell to 0-3 with a 9-2 loss to the Slicers in their Duneland opener. Portage led 2-0 in the third inning when a pair of two-out rallies resulted in all of La Porte's runs. Four crossed in the third after the Montgomery Cunningham retired the first two batters, then lost the strike zone, walking the next two. The Slicers' first hit came on their 11th batter, and the next, RJ Anglin launched a three-run home run, promptly erasing the Indians' lead.

"We've been shooting ourselves in the foot with that," Prance said. "We get through the first couple innings, guys lose command, we couldn't make plays behind him, it comes unraveled. The big inning's killing us. Give credit to (La Porte). They kept their approach. They're fundamental, like they always are, hits up the middle. They kept extending innings and making our guys throw more pitches."

Portage nicked Anglin, La Porte's ace, for six hits and two runs in the first three innings, but managed just one the rest of the way.

"He could've maybe changed that by throwing a few more breaking balls and letting the fast ball sit in his pocket a little bit, maybe play wiffle ball with them, to keep them guessing," Slicers coach Scott Upp said. "A couple balls that were hit hard were changeups that he didn't put in a good spot. He was anywhere from 87 to 90 (miles per hour). Give (Portage) some credit. They swung the bat."

While Prance looks to the future, he is also integrating in the past in those efforts. Dixon is a long-time assistant who had two sons play for Portage and was on staff when Prance played. Tom Mosley and Hunter Thorn, both former Indians baseball players, are also in the dugout. Freshman coach Blake Schulte is another program alum. Prance, who pitched and coached at Purdue North Central (now Northwest), is also working as the pitching coach.

"That was my first order of business when I got here, trying to put together a good staff of guys who are good people first and foremost, who know the game and know what I want to do," Prance said. "Dixon's been here 20, 25 years. Thorn played for me at PNW, Moseley and I talk baseball all the time. Their hearts are in it because of that. They're great coaches. They're not just showing up, collecting a check. I would like to get another guy so I can manage the whole thing overall. That's the fun part, bringing Portage guys back, showing these guys it's not just what's going on today. There are people coming back from the years before."

Tim Pirowski, Prance's coach when he was at Portage, now has a freshman son, Tyler, in the program.

"We're trying to make them realize they're playing for more than just themselves," Prance said. "There are other people in the community watching, pulling for them. I want them to see the big picture of it."


Portage graduate Shane Prance (2008) has returned to his high school as the head baseball coach. (Photo by Susan Anglin)

245 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page