Jasper baseball is synonymous with title contending teams. However, somehow this year's edition of the Wildcats has flown under the radar, right into semi-states.
"It's a big push," said Jasper senior catcher Ross Peters.
"It's been a dream of mine coming into this season, and I think for everyone," said Jasper junior third baseman Connor Foley.
"I don't think there's any question that we're hungry to get there," said Jasper head coach Terry Gobert. "That's our goal every year."
Indy or bust has been the battle cry for Jasper baseball, and hall of fame bench boss Terry Gobert squads, more often than not his teams find a way to contend. However, this season has been different, with experts undervaluing the Wildcats.
"I would say we're underrated, for sure," said Foley. "We've always been overlooked this year. Coming into this season, I don't think we were ranked. It's a big thing to be overlooked and I think that is a drive for us and I think it motivates us to be better."
"We've been the kind of team that gets out-hit," said Gobert, "maybe even out-pitched at times, but finds a way to win. I'm sure that when teams call about us, if we advance in the tournament, they're not too concerned. We enjoy winning ugly. We could be underrated, and that's kind of fun."
It's hard to believe that a team that went 29-and-2 could be over looked. However, part of the reason for the slight is the loss of several key seniors from last year's team, and even more so, the loss of playing time for the younger players due to Coronavirus.
"It was tough," said Foley. "Our sophomore year was obviously gone. And that plays a really big part in our experience up here. We've had three guys play varsity as a sophomore. They're seniors now. I think that experience would be a lot more if we were able to play last year."
"We knew we could be really good last year," said Gobert. "And we lost, at every week, at every level, I remind our kids of the 2020 seniors that did not even get this opportunity. And I see most of them after each win. We make sure they feel a part of it. Because they are a part of it."
And "it" is a regional championship, won with gutty victories over Floyd Central and Center Grove, and an opportunity to play for a semi-state title in front of the home crowd Saturday at Ruxer Field.
"We'll be able to have all the hometown fans here," said Peters, "to be able to fill that up and have everybody be backing us and giving us our support."
"That just plays a huge part in it," said Foley. "Nobody knows our field like we do. I think it's huge to have our fan base here."