Blazers’ Ianigro a positive leader for state finalist

Ianigro keeping up family tradition of Central second basemen.

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 13, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.

ELKHART — Casey Ianigro has never been one to take failure lightly.

He still is not too happy with a strikeout at the plate or misplay in the field.

“It’s been a work in progress ever since I was little,” says Ianigro. “But I’ve learned that it is just a game and things happen.”

Maturity has allowed the Elkhart Central senior second baseman to put a positive spin on things and be a leader for a team playing against Indianapolis Cathedral in the IHSAA Class 4A state championship game Saturday, June 15, at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

Ianigro has learned not to sweat the things beyond his reach.

“Hustle and attitude is all you can control,” says Ianigro. “I just try to keep everybody’s head on and keep a good attitude.

“It’s contagious.”

Ianigro can play any infield position but this year he is a second baseman, a position played in high school by his father (1984 Central graduate Mike Ianigro) and uncles (1988 Central graduate Jamie Ianigro and 1983 Central graduate and current Blazers athletic director Brian Buckley).

Casey (2011, 2012, 2013), Mike (1983, 1984), Jamie (1988) and Brian (1983) have all helped win sectional baseball titles for Central.

Adding to the family theme is the fact that little brother Vinnie Ambrose, 10, is Central’s batboy. Casey’s older brother is Nick Ianigro. Casey and Nick’s mother, Tammy, is married to Steve Ambrose.

All are Blue Blazer supporters.

While much has been made about the contributions of pitcher-right fielder Tanner Tully (bound for Ohio State), pitcher-shortstop Cory Malcom (Arkansas-Little Rock), center fielder Matt Eppers (Ball State) and pitcher-first baseman Riley Futterknecht (DePauw), Manchester University recruit Ianigro has impressed Central head coach Steve Stutsman.

“Casey, to me, is just as valuable and important as those four,” says Stutsman. “He has been tremendous this year at the plate. He’s gotten so many key hits for us.”

At .619, Ianigro leads the Blazers in quality at-bat average during the postseason with 13 quality at-bats (positive at-bats that helped the team by moving a runner or help lead to run scoring) in 21 total at-bats against Concord, Northridge, Memorial, South Bend Clay, Lake Central and Lafayette Jeff.

Ianigro is batting .454 and is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 37.

Like many of the Central players who have found and accepted their roles, Stutsman has watched Ianigro’s confidence grow as he has settled in at second base.

“He knows where he is going to play,” says Stutsman. “He’s relaxed, comfortable and that carries over to his hitting.”

Ianigro hopes to carry that success on to Manchester, where he will play for head coach Rick Espeset and plans to study business.

“It’s between finances and management,” says Ianigro of his academic concentration.

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