RCHS English Teacher Keith Perin has many fond memories of playing for the University of Indianapolis (then Indiana Central University) 1982 baseball team.
The team will be inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony this Saturday (Feb. 15). Inductees will be introduced at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Truman which begins at 3:30 p.m.
The induction ceremony and a dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Primo Banquet Hall and Convention Center.
“Teammates and I have been talking a lot. We are really glad we played a lot of really good baseball, but we’re eternally grateful that we became lifelong friends through that process,” Perin said. “It felt good to play that well and know that we could win any game we went into. We had a lot of fun and created a lot of friendships.”
The team consisted of Perin, Brad Beaver, Phil Benson, Bob Bohannon, Al Cooper, Mike Davis (statistician), Mike Dutton, Curt Hughes, Price Irving, Jerry Jansen, Paul Jefferson, Dennis Judy, John Kennedy, Jerry Lasky, Bill Leavell, Phil Morris, Dennis Reinbold, Ken Sarber, Greg Scarpone, Mark Schwitz, Tom Stall, Jeff Stevens, Greg Stolle, Mike Wishnevski, Student Coach Bill Verhonik and Coach Bob Tremain.
Perin played catcher and was the team captain his senior year. He received the team’s defensive award both his junior and senior years and was the recipient of the Kelso-Reid Mental Attitude Award his senior year.
The team finished the 1982 season with a 26-11 record. It won the Great Lakes Valley Conference, a share of the Heartland Collegiate Conference Championship and played in the NCAA Tournament.
The team participated in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional and was runners-up at the NCAA Central Region Tournament, which was held in Cleveland, Mississippi.
By the time Perin became a junior in college, the team had settled into a consistent roster.
“We had a ton of offense. My job was handling the pitching staff and being solid behind the plate,” Perin said. “I know we blew away a lot of offensive records. One of my teammates Mike Wishnevski, who went on to play a little bit of professional ball with the Seattle Mariners, he rewrote the record books himself. We had a really potent offense.”
The top of the team’s batting lineup consisted of at least six individuals who were either left handed or switch hitters, which created a problem for opposing teams.
“I never hit quite the way I should, but our team was just stacked,” Perin said. “We knew even if we got down four or five runs that the game wasn’t over and we could come back. The other team knew it too. We could smash the ball and we scored a lot of runs.”
Perin mentioned how much he enjoyed and misses working with his pitchers.
“I was lucky to work with so many talented and gritty guys on the hill,” Perin said.
Perin and many of his teammates share a single regret. They wish both the 1981 and 1982 UIndy baseball teams were recognized in a combo hall of fame induction.
“Both seasons were really successful and our captain and one senior during 1981 was Jeff Duhammel who became a little bit of everything,” Perin said. “He became chief of police of the Indianapolis Police Department, he was on SWAT and is now running security for the Pacers and Colts. Just a fantastic guy, but just because he graduated the year before, he is not a part of all this. We all feel like that two year stretch, because I think we were 23-11 and then 26-11, was really just a two year span that could have been put together.”
Perin recollected some of the memorable moments from his time playing on the team.
During his junior year, the team started the season a little over .500 then went on a winning streak and made the NCAA Tournament.
The team flew down to Troy University and played in the tournament, but lost after playing a few good teams.
The next season the team went down to Cleveland, Mississippi, for the NCAA Tournament and beat Jacksonville State and then lost to Delta State twice in close games.
Perin still remembers how his teammates felt after being eliminated in the NCAA tournament.
“We knew we had something special and knew it was coming to an end. None of us were happy about that,” Perin said.
He estimates half of his former teammates still stay in contact and have been better recently at communicating with each other more frequently.
“I’m glad we played a lot of good baseball, but I’m eternally grateful for the lifetime friendships we made,” Perin said. “I am so lucky to have been at the right place at the right time to form this fraternity. We still get together and laugh as much as we used to and it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Perin and his teammates are eternally grateful for Coach Bob Tremain who instilled guidance and leadership in the team.
Perin found out the team was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame last fall at the University of Indianapolis’ Homecoming football game. He and his teammates were grateful for the recognition.
“It’s really gratifying to know we were on one of the best baseball teams to ever go through that university,” Perin said. “It’s also just great to celebrate that with a bunch of good friends.”
According to Perin, UIndy is an excellent school in terms of academics and what it offers.
“I feel good that I’m getting back in touch with the university,” Perin said.
The university was known as Indiana Central College from 1921 to 1975. In 1986 the school’s name was changed to University of Indianapolis.
Perin spoke of his time playing baseball and being a student at RCHS.
He is grateful for a number of local coaches, teachers and individuals who helped him grow as a player and person including Charlie Farthing, Nick Singleton, Donnie Jarman, Gene Krammes and Jay Carpenter, who taught Perin how to catch.
“What really benefit me in college was having the array of ultra-talented teachers that Rushville Consolidated High School had at the time and I think still has,” Perin said. “A lot of us look back on those days and we’re just in awe of the number of highly intelligent, highly creative teachers whom we benefited from all those years.”