Local Sports News: March 21, 2024

Mackenize Holmes named Third Team All-American by the Associated Press
Graduate Forward Mackenize Holmes has been named to the 2023-24 Associated Press All-America third team, announced by the organization on Wednesday. Holmes earns her third-straight All-America honors from the organization, as she was a first team selection in 2022-23 and honorable mention in 2021-22. A unanimous All-Big Ten First Team and All-Big Ten Defensive team selection this season, the Gorham, Maine native leads Indiana (and second in the Big Ten) in scoring with 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and shooting a nation’s-best 66.7 percent from the floor in 29 games. She has scored in double figures in 27 of those 29 outings including 16 20-point games and two 30point efforts along with a team-high six double-doubles. Nationally, Holmes also ranks 18th in field goals made (238) and 23rd in points per game.

The honor is her eighth All-American accolade in her Indiana career, earning three AP All-American selections (2021, 2023, 2024), two USWBA All-American nods (2023, 2024), two WBCA All-American honors (2022, 2023), and The Athletic All-American honors (2023). Holmes and the Hoosiers will be a No. 4 seed in the upcoming 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, which begins on Saturday inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. They will face off against 13-seed Fairfield (31-1) at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

78 Indiana University Student Athletes named Winter Academic All-Big Ten
The Big Ten Conference recognized a total of 1,032 students competing in winter sports who have been named to the Academic All-Big Ten team Wednesday. The list of honorees includes 81 men’s and 94 women’s basketball students, 147 men’s and 232 women’s swimming and diving students, 58 men’s and 133 women’s gymnastics students, 90 men’s ice hockey students, and 197 men’s wrestling students. Indiana athletics is represented by 78 Hoosier student-athletes selected to the conference honor roll, representing a department record for winter sports.  

“Congratulations to our latest group of Academic All-Big Ten honorees who have performed at the highest levels in the classroom while also managing the demands that go along with being a high-level college athlete,” said IU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Dolson. “I know how hard each of our award winners work daily to make this type of achievement possible, and I am proud of all they continue to do to make themselves, their programs and our department proud.”

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be on a varsity team (as verified by being on the official squad list as of March 1 for winter sports), have been enrolled full time at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

Men’s Basketball (4) -Kaleb Banks, Shaan Burke, CJ Gunn and Anthony Leal
Women’s Basketball (9)- Lexus Bargesser, Yarden Garzon, Mackenzie Holmes, Lilly Meister, Chloe Moore-McNeil, Sydney Parrish, Henna Sandvik, Sara Scalia and
Arielle Wisne Men’s Swimming and Diving (25)- Luke Barr, Warren Briggs, Finn Brooks, Jackson Carlile, Mason Carlton, Jasper Davis, Tristan DeWitt, Tomer Frankel, Dash Glasberg, Logan Graham, Quinn Henninger, William Jansen, Alejandro Kincaid, Josh Matheny, Lucas Piunti, Joseph Radde, Maxwell Reich, Drew Reiter, Alex Stone, Carson Tyler, Maxwell Weinrich, Kai van Westering, Gavin Wight and Jassen Yep. Women’s Swimming and Diving (25)- Elizabeth Broshears, Katie Carson, Morgan Casey, Kabria Chapman, Brearna Crawford, Mariah Denigan, Mya DeWitt, Katie Forrester, Anne Fowler, Anna Freed, Ching Hwee Gan, Tarrin Gilliland, Catherine Graham, Lily Hann, Elyse Heiser, MacKenna Lieske, Skyler Liu, Kacey McKenna
Cat Minic, Kristina Paegle, Anna Peplowski, Ella Ristic, Ashley Turak, Sydney Turner and Chiok Sze Yeo. Wrestling (15) -Mason Alley, Graham Rooks, Nico Bolivar, Cole Rhemrev, Roman Rogotzke, Robert Major, Zack Rotkvich, Clayton Fielden, Nick South, Cayden Rooks, Derek Gilcher, Magnus Kuokkanen, Jacob Moran, Jacob Bullock and Nick Willham.

Indianapolis Colts resign Ball State Graduate Danny Pinter to a one-year deal
Make it 10. The Colts headed into the offseason with 15 in-house free agents, and a little more than a week after free agency opened, Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard has gotten two-thirds of that number back. The latest is a bet on recovery. The Colts have agreed to terms with interior offensive lineman Danny Pinter on a one-year deal that keeps the Indiana native in his home state.

Pinter, fifth-round pick out of Ball State in 2020, missed the entire 2023 season after breaking his ankle in Philadelphia in the preseason. The South Bend native underwent surgery and spent the fall rehabilitating his ankle in Indianapolis, and according to a source, Pinter is doing well as he prepares for next season. He returns to an offensive line that brings back all seven players who started at least one game for the Colts in 2023, and he’ll have to compete for a spot on the roster. Pinter made seven starts in his first three seasons, making the first four in place of injured center Ryan Kelly in 2020 and 2021, then opening the season as the starter at right guard in 2022 before losing the job to Will Fries.

He has been at his best at center. But Pinter’s versatility might be key to earning a spot on the line again in 2024. With Pinter unavailable due to injury, second-year player Wesley French started three games in place of an injured Kelly in 2023, ultimately playing 270 snaps for Indianapolis. Pinter has played that role in the past, handling 623 snaps as an interior depth piece over the course of his first three seasons. Ballard’s focus on retaining his own players through the first week of free agency has stood in stark contrast to his pursuit of players from the outside. Indianapolis has signed just two outside free agents so far, backup quarterback Joe Flacco and defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, as the Colts focus on getting their own guys back in the fold. The strategy is a familiar one. Ballard prefers to bring back his own players in free agency and make calculated investments somewhere south of the top of the market when he makes a signing from the outside.  

“I think our history has shown, we want to keep our guy,” Ballard said. “The preference is to take care of your own people first.” Only one in-house free agent remains. Indianapolis starting strong safety Julian Blackmon reportedly visited the Bills on Tuesday, and he is the only Colts free agent who hasn’t signed somewhere yet. Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., nose tackle Grover Stewart, cornerback Kenny Moore II, defensive end Tyquan Lewis, punter Rigoberto Sanchez, linebacker Ronnie Harrison, running back Trey Sermon, defensive end Genard Avery, defensive tackle Taven Bryan and Pinter have all come back to the fold. Quarterback Gardner Minshew (Raiders), running back Zack Moss (Bengals), wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (Giants) and defensive end Jake Martin (Bears) are the four players who have found new homes in the NFL.

Kokomo’s John Peckinpaugh to coach 2024 Indiana All-Star Boys Basketball Team in June
John Peckinpaugh will coach the boys Indiana All-Stars team in June, All-Stars director Mike Broughton said. Peckinpaugh led Kokomo to a 25-4 record and Class 4A regional appearance this season, his third year leading the Wildkats. The former Muncie Central standout and Purdue Fort Wayne starter is 68-17 during his time at Kokomo with a 4A state finals appearance last season. Prior to his tenure at Kokomo, Peckinpaugh led Noblesville to a 22-24 record over two seasons. His arrival at Kokomo coincided with that of Flory Bidunga, who is expected to be a member of the Indiana All-Stars and one of the frontrunners for IndyStar Mr. Basketball. Peckinpaugh coached at the college level at Indiana Tech and Wheeling Jesuit prior to taking the Noblesville job in 2019.

Peckinpaugh’s assistant coaching staff for the Indiana All-Stars will be Barr-Reeve coach Josh Thompson and Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman. Thompson led Barr-Reeve to a Class A state championship in 2020-21 and is 134-29 in six seasons leading the Vikings. Thompson coached at Springs Valley, Wood Memorial and Vincennes Lincoln prior to his arrival at Barr-Reeve. The Vikings were 25-3 this season, falling to Bethesda Christian in the semi state final on Saturday in Washington. Hoffman led Silver Creek to Class 3A state championships in 2019 and 2021. He is 239-108 overall at Silver Creek in 14 seasons, leading the Dragons to seven sectional championships. Silver Creek was 75-9 during a three-year run from 2018-21 with a pair of state titles.

Indianapolis Indians announce promotions for the 2024 Home Opener on April 2nd
The Indianapolis Indians today revealed promotions for Opening Night presented by AES Indiana and Sun King Brewery at Victory Field. The Indians begin the 2024 season on Friday, March 29, on the road against the Louisville Bats, and return to the Vic on Tuesday, April 2, to start a six-game series against the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. First pitch for the home opener is set for 6:35 PM.

With players and coaches migrating north from spring training in Bradenton, Fla., the Indians’ front office believes good weather will travel with them. In partnership with FOX59, the Indians are making a 60 Degree Weather Guarantee for all fans on Opening Night. If the temperature is 59 degrees or lower at
first pitch, all fans with an Opening Night ticket will receive a ticket to another April home game of their choice. For fans who have waited all offseason to enjoy ballpark food, Tuesday Dollar Menu presented by Eisenberg will be in effect. Hot dogs, peanuts, potato chips, popcorn, Cracker Jack® and new to the
dollar menu – churros – will all be available for $1.

The Indians’ home opener is also the first of 75 games that 2024 Knot Hole Kids Club members may attend, and the organization is ready to make it one to remember with Knot Hole Kids Club Opening Night presented by Riley Children’s Health and Williams Comfort Air. Knot Hole members will have the chance
to walk the red carpet and be part of the game in numerous ways, including potential opportunities to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, take the field with the Indians as Baseball Buddies, deliver the bases with the field operations crew prior to the game, announce Indy’s leadoff batter or be a Rowdie Rookie.

“The anticipation for Opening Night is building inside the Victory Field walls and in Florida, where our players and coaches are eager to make the trek to Indianapolis to begin the 122nd season of Indians baseball,” said Randy Lewandowski, Indianapolis Indians president and general manager. “We are
excited to welcome fans to the Vic for Opening Night on Tuesday, April 2.” Full season, half season, mini plans and single-game tickets are available for purchase, and group and premium reservations may also be made. For more on the Indians, visit IndyIndians.com or contact the Victory Field Box Office at (317) 269-3545 or Tickets@IndyIndians.com.

Taylor University Softball drops pair to #16 Indiana Wesleyan 
A late comeback was foiled in the opening game of a doubleheader against No. 16 Indiana Wesleyan (17-3, 8-0 CL) as Taylor dropped both games to the Wildcats. Aleyah Rastetter rose the career rankings in the pair of games at Gudakunst field on Tuesday. The senior hit her 42nd double, which tied her for sixth in program history, and drew her 72nd walk, which took her into a tie for second, only four away from matching the 76 drawn by Alex Lovelace. Madisyn Standridge had four hits in five at-bats and a stolen base in a solid day at the plate, while Jersey Tannehill knocked two doubles and three RBI in the twin-billing. A five-run sixth-inning comeback was thwarted in the opener when Indiana Wesleyan scored 10 in the top of the seventh in a 13-6 loss to begin the day. 

Taylor opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, with a ground-out RBI plating Rastetter, who drew a walk to begin the frame. The Wildcats tied the game in the third and looked to have taken the lead in the fourth when a fly ball to right was caught by Delaynee McCreary, who fired home and nailed a runner at the plate to keep the game level at one apiece. IWU scored twice in the fifth to then take the lead. Taylor came up in the bottom of the sixth trailing by two, when Tannehill started the frame with one of her four hits on the day. Hannah Pack had a key at-bat in the inning, drawing a 14-pitch walk to load the bases with one out. Standridge drew a walk on eight pitches to drive in a run. Rastetter had a sacrifice fly to knot the game at three before Livie Lehmann stepped to the plate. Lehmann launched a three-run home run to take a three-run lead into the final frame. IWU subsequently scored six runs without recording an out or seeing a ball leave the infield, giving the Wildcats the lead, which ballooned by four more on a grand slam with one out to 13-6. 

The offense of IWU was on full display in the seventh and continued in the nightcap when they scored 12 runs to beat the Trojans 12-5.  Taylor (11-11, 3-5 CL) trailed by two in the bottom of the third and scored a run on an error before tying it up on a double to left-center field by Tannehill.  The Wildcats scored eight runs in the next two innings to take control of the game.  Taylor hits the road for the rest of the month in Crossroads League action, beginning with a matchup against Huntington (11-9, 3-3 CL) on Friday, March 22, with the opener set to start at 3pm. 

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