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 Joe Haase Named First Team All-State in Baseball

June 27, 2007 - When Joe Haase was old enough to put on his own pair of pants, he already knew the proper way to wear a baseball glove. Likely, he already knew how to use that glove too.

The 17-year-old senior-to-be at Knightstown High School became the first Panther player ever named to the first-team All-State baseball squad, which was announced by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches’ Association.

Haase was named to the first team as a shortstop, and hit .608 during the regular season. He sectional prowess improved his batting average to .615, the number the high school will recognize as his official average and the new school record. KHS has traditionally included the entire season in calculating averages and offensive totals.

Joe’s father Bryan bought him that first glove at an early age, and he’s been playing the sport as long as he can remember.

“My dad got me started in organized ball when I was five years old in the Optimist Club program at the little league park,” Joe said. “I played in that system until the fifth grade, when I started playing on the traveling teams. I’ve always loved the game.”

Joe’s parents, Bryan and Barbara, and his grandparents, Tom and Judy Haase, have always followed his success and have played a major role in his development as an athlete. Joe is quick to spread the credit around.

“My parents and grandparents have had a great impact on me,” Joe said. “My dad and Steve Bearhope were my coaches in the Optimist League, and my high school coaches have really helped me a lot. (Coach) Donnie Martin has pushed me to be better, and Carey Ellis is a great pitching coach. He’s great at teaching what pitch to throw in certain situations. Coach Kayajan is a great hitting coach and they’ve all had the answers.”

During a 25-game season, Joe finished with 48 hits in 78 official at-bats. He hit 32 singles, nine doubles, two triples and five home runs. He scored 27 runs and drove in 31 more. He struck out just eight times, and finished the season with an amazing .974 slugging percentage.

He was also 7-2 as a pitcher, compiling a 1.43 earned run average. He finished near the top in the state in hits allowed per seven innings pitched.

Coach Martin credits Joe’s success to his work ethic.

“Joe is a hard-working kid, but I think he’ll be the first to tell you he can continue to improve,” Martin said. “We’ve got some pretty good kids returning next year on this team, but he is the heart and soul of what we’ve got.

“We start with (baseball) workouts in November and in the three years he’s been here I can count on one hand the number of workouts he’s missed,” Martin said. “He works hard at conditioning, and the result of that is he’s bigger, stronger and faster. He’s a great kid too, and one of those you love to coach.”

Haase passed the workout credit along to his coaches, including varsity football Coach Bob Prescott.

“Coach Prescott stresses the importance of the weight room, and he got me in really good shape,” Joe said. “I think his program made the biggest difference in baseball because I was so much stronger. His weight program is going to help all of the sports this next year if everyone follows it.”

With an All-State title and a school record batting average to his credit, Joe is currently playing summer baseball with the Indy Bulls, an elite team of the best 17-year-old players in the state. He’s more than holding his own, and recently had a two-game stretch in which he had five hits.

With his record-setting baseball season wrapping up soon, he’ll return to the field for his other sport – football. Joe is the starting quarterback for Prescott’s gridiron Panthers, and he’s looking forward to the upcoming season.

“It’ll be back to the weight programs and getting prepared to out-last everyone when the fourth quarter rolls around,” Joe said. “I didn’t realize how much of a difference the weight conditioning can make, and that makes me really excited about the football season. I saw what it can do for my baseball game.”

With that said, he got back to work.


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