After first season as Indiana Chiefs, time to rebuild home field
By Mike Clark Post-Tribune correspondent August 17, 2013 10:42PM
Updated: September 19, 2013 10:21AM
The first regular season is over for the rebranded Indiana Chiefs of Hammond, and now it’s time to build (or rebuild, in the case of their field) for the future.
The Chiefs fielded two teams in their initial season since the organization — previously the Hammond Chiefs and the Hammond Seminoles feeder club — was reorganized. The flagship 17-and-under club managed by Chiefs founder Dave Sutkowski finished 33-20 and qualified for the Pastime World Series in Columbus, Ohio.
That team’s schedule was scrambled when a storm whipped through south Hammond in late June and left plenty of damage in its wake. One dugout was all but destroyed at Riverside Park with fences and lights also taking a hit.
Everything is getting back to normal, according to Sutkowski. “All the fencing in the outfield is up,” he said last week. “We’re getting ready to knock out the (damaged) dugout. ... The lighting has been repaired.”
In the meantime, the Chiefs are putting together rosters for next summer, when the plan is to field four clubs. Sutkowski will run the 16-17 team, while Todd Iwema — who managed the 14U club this year — with stay with those players and move up to the 15U team. Jim Nohos will manage a 13U squad, while Jim Tucker will run the 14U club.
“I really thought our 14-year-old team was a big plus for our program,” Sutkowski said. “I think its our future right now.”
Tryouts have been going on all month for all four teams, with one more session set for Sunday at Riverside Park. Tryouts for the 16-17 team will be at 11 a.m., with the 14U tryouts to follow at 1.
Sutkowski and his staff also are hoping to help players build their skill set with the Chiefs’ Long Toss Throwing Program, which begins its second year on Sept. 3.
Though the Chiefs have run fall wood bat leagues in the past, Sutkowski no longer sees that as a need. “We wanted to do something different,” he said.
The program, for players ages 10-18, will meet three days a week with Tuesdays and Thursdays devoted to teaching good mechanics and arm strengthening. Sunday’s sessions also will include instruction in various areas, including pitching, hitting, position play, bunting and baserunning.
The cost for the six-week program is $75 for Hammond residents and $100 for all others. Info is available at hammondchiefs.com.
Local umps work World Series: Two local umpires were picked to work Little League World Series this summer.
Greg Ramos of Munster was one of 12 umpires chosen for the Little League (11-12) Softball World Series, which ended a week-long run on Wednesday in Portland, Ore.
Phillip E. Hamilton of Valparaiso was one of 13 umps selected for the Big League (17-18) Softball World Series Aug. 4-10 in Lower Sussex. Del.
Storm seeks players for fall: The Porter County Storm Senior Babe Ruth program is looking for players for its fall teams. Players born in 1994, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97 and before May 1, 1998 are eligible. For more information, call Storm manager Nick Doud (219-331-3080) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.