BURKETT NEW CASS HOOPS COACH
Josh Burkett, an assistant coach at Kokomo, was named the new head boys basketball coach at Lewis Cass High School. The 28-year-old Wes-Del High School and Ball State University graduate spent one year as an assistant at Taylor, two years at Pioneer and the last two seasons under Matt Moore at Kokomo.
Burkett takes over after Jon Kitchel retired with a six-year record of 84-55. Burkett will also teach sixth-grade math in the Southeastern (Lewis Cass) School Corporation.
His wife, Sacha, is the Western High School head volleyball coach and they are expecting their first child this summer. Burkett’s father is a Lewis Cass graduate. 
 
WARDEN LEADS THE NATION
Western High School graduate and Purdue University sophomore infielder Evan Warden currently leads all NCAA Division I baseball players in a painful statistical category. Through the first 36 Boilermaker games, Warden has been hit by a pitch 23 times – five more than any other player in the nation. He also leads the nation in hit by pitch per game with an average of .68.
For the season, Warden is hitting .287 with an on-base percentage of .459. He has 29 hits, 10 doubles, one home run and 15 RBI’s in the first 34 games.
The NCAA DI record for getting hit by a pitch in a season is 37 by Scott Davis of Delaware State in 2012 and Brian Harris of Vanderbilt in 2010. In 1979, Steve Dembowski of Fairleigh Dickinson has hit 32 times in 30 games for a 1.07 hit by pitch per game average.
Purdue is 18-18 (6-6 in Big Ten Conference) and has 20 games remaining, including a game at Kokomo Municipal Stadium on May 16 against Fort Wayne.

WESTERN PLAYING WELL
Class 3A No. 3 Western, the defending state runners-up, improved to 5-1 with a 3-2 Hoosier Conference victory over Tipton.
IU Kokomo recruit Trevor Hummer earned the win, giving up one run on three hits while striking out seven in six innings. Gavin White picked up the save.
Kaleb Howard had a pair of doubles and a single to lead the offense. Another IU Kokomo recruit, Brayden DeWeese, had two singles and an RBI while Regan Carter tallied an RBI single.

 LADY TIGERS REMAIN PERFECT
Northwestern’s softball team continues to impress after a 5-0 victory over Carroll on the Tigers home field. Pitching standout Crystal Metz fired a no-hitter and nearly had a perfect game – one runner reached on an error. She recorded 13 strikeouts without a walk in her dominating outing.
Metz followed that win with a 3-hit, 12-strikeout performance in a 12-2 win over Hoosier Conference rival Western. Sophia Beachy, Chase Butcher and Madison Walker each cracked a home run for the Lady Tigers.
Chris Walker’s squad has started the season 8-0 (3-0 in the HC). The Lady Tigers were an honorable mention squad in Class 3A last week.
 
BROWN STUNS IN KATS DEBUT
For three years, Kokomo fans have been talking about super-athlete Tionna Brown. On the basketball court, the freshman earned a spot in the Lady Kats starting lineup before being named to the All-North Central Conference team. But it was the sport of track and field that people were anxiously awaiting her debut. And she did not disappoint.
In her high school debut on a cold and windy day, Brown ran a 12.12 in the 100-meter dash to break a long-standing school record set in 2003 by Lashonda Davis (12.21). In a dual meet against Tipton, she also won the 200-meter dash (24:48), long jump (16-8) and was a member of a winning relay team.
Days later, Brown was named the Outstanding Female Athlete of the Meet at the Marion Relays after posting a triple-win. She nearly reset her school record with a time of 12.14 in the 100. She won the long jump with a leap of 17-8.25 and was a member of the winning 400-meter relay team (Aaryan Morrison, Brooke Smith and Jayda Andrews) with a time of 50.89.
Also at the Marion Relays, Lana Pham was second in the high jump and Brianne Jones was third in the discus. Kokomo finished fifth in the team scores.
 
WEIR GETS CALLED UP
It didn’t take long for Kokomo native T.J. Weir to get promoted. After starting the season with the San Diego Padres Advanced-A team in Lake Elsinore, Weir was called up to Double-A San Antonio and nearly participated in a combined no-hitter the same day. 
Coming on in relief, he pitched two perfect innings to maintain the Missions no-hitter through eight innings. The no-no fell apart in the ninth after Weir left the game. In five combined Minor League appearances this season, Weir has a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings of work with nine strikeouts.
Weir finished the 2016 campaign with San Antonio.

UPCOMING RUNNING EVENTS
April 22: Follow Me…Neil’s Next Mission 5K Run and Walk starting at McKinley School in Kokomo (proceeds benefit the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund). Registration from 7-8:30 a.m. with the race at 9 a.m.