JASPER -- For some, it might turn into old hat, but for Jasper head baseball coach and 1979 Greencastle grad Terry Gobert, it's still exciting. Saturday, Gobert and his Jasper team will be going for his and the school's sixth state title at Victory Field at 4 p.m.
The Wildcats earned their state title game spot after knocking off No. 1 New Palestine this past Saturday 1-0 in the semistate contest.
For Gobert, the game is matter of playing to your ability and not getting caught up in the numbers game.
"The main thing is just getting back to Victory Field -- get in the state championship game," Gobert said. "I don't think our kids got caught up in No. 1 or No. 2 or any other numbers. That's a compliment to New Pal, but as we explained to our kids, nobody sees all these teams play, so the rankings don't mean a whole lot. They had a heck of a season, so that was a neat, neat thing to do."
A nice personal touch to the semistate win was the fact Gobert's son, Nick, drove in the game's only run.
"I think later on it's nice, but at the time you look at it as a kid on your team doing their job and putting the ball in play. Then later on I got asked about it so much I think it made it even better," Gobert said.
Jasper's opponent on Saturday will be the defending state champion Andrean Fighting 59ers; a team Gobert acknowledged is solid across the board.
"Well, Andrean is always solid, they're well coached, they're always athletic," he said. "They, from what we're finding out, they run the bases very well, put the ball in play and put a lot of pressure on the defense. They've got two or three kids back from last year's team and then they have some young guys that have been playing really well for them."
Since taking the helm of the Jasper baseball program, Gobert has five state titles to his name, including a run of three straight in the late '90s. When asked what it would mean to bring home that sixth state title, Gobert said it's all about finishing.
"The thing is, you work this hard and get this close, you'd like to finish the deal," he explained. "We don't put emphasis on winning as much as we do coming out and just playing at our best. All we talk about it is give them three outs -- no more -- use all three of ours and find a way to put it in play and put a little pressure on them. At the end of the day, then you can live with whatever happens."
Gobert is a member of the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame and has coached four players who have won the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award over the course of his career at Jasper.
He's also coached a number of players who have turned pro, most notably Cincinnati Reds third basemen Scott Rolen. Rolen was named the National League Rookie of the Year in '97 and is a 7-time Gold Glove winner and a 5-time All-Star.
Jasper will take on Andrean at 4 p.m. at Victory Field Saturday.