VonDielingen shows drive to get back on the diamond


Before the Seymour baseball team was getting ready to play Bedford North Lawrence on April 17, senior Jack VonDielingen felt a pop in his knee.

Seymour athletic trainer Kyle Coates was able to pop it back into place, and VonDielingen played in the game, drawing a walk and scoring a run.

But the next day, Seymour was home to Madison, and VonDielingen again felt his knee pop. This time, Coates couldn’t get it back into place, and VonDielingen missed the game and had to go to the hospital.

It was discovered he had a torn meniscus and that it was misplaced. The uncertainty of if VonDielingen would be able to finish out his senior campaign came to the forefront of his mind.

“When it happened and he put it back in place, I thought it was fine, but second time when he wasn’t able to get it back in place, I thought it was probably going to be an issue,” he said.

The doctors were able to get the meniscus back in place after a couple of days without surgery, and about a week after that, VonDielingen returned to practice.

He did a lot of single-leg drills, such as balancing on one leg while catching a ball or doing one-legged squats. He was eager to come back, but head coach Jeremy Richey had to pump the brakes.

“The thing about Jack is I had to tell him no the week before (he came back),” Richey said. “He wanted to come back, and we wanted to make sure the time was right and that he was healthy because we knew Jack would be a big part of this season. He had a great start to the season before the injury happened.”

In the meantime, the Owls continued to have success as a team, which speaks to the multiple options up and down the roster.

“That’s another thing about this group,” Richey said. “We’ve dealt with Brady (Harpe) being hurt, Jack being hurt, we’ve dealt with struggles, but our depth has helped us.”

VonDielingen returned to the lineup the week of the Hoosier Hills Conference tournament. After Seymour had beaten Bedford 7-6, the Owls had one game sandwiched between the first and second round against Scottsburg at home on May 9, and that’s when VonDielingen played.

Later that week, Seymour beat New Albany 5-4 in the semis and then defeated Floyd Central 3-2 in 12 innings to win the program’s first HHC title since joining the conference in 1991.

VonDielingen was happy he was able to be back on the field and a part of that moment with the team.

“It means everything,” he said. “All glory to God, lets us come out here and play the game we love. I love these guys. We’ve been playing together since we were 6, so it just means everything.”

VonDielingen had two hits in that game against the Highlanders, and one big one, too, in the bottom of the seventh to keep the inning alive, which allowed Seymour to eventually tie the game at 2 and head to extras.

“To get the couple big hits he got with a knee that still isn’t fully healthy, and we had to take him out to pinch run a couple times, which we usually don’t do with Jack,” Richey said. “But he’s over there still being a leader when he’s not playing anymore.”

VonDielingen might elect to get surgery over the summer, but as of right now, he said he is feeling pretty good.

“I feel fine,” he said. “I’ve got a brace on under the pants, and I feel great.”

After beating Floyd Central for the HHC title, the Owls won their last five regular season games and currently have a nine-game winning streak heading into sectional play.

Seymour is 23-4 on the season, which is the most wins since 1991. As special as the HHC title was, VonDielingen knows it’s not the only piece of hardware the team wants this season.

“We’re definitely not finished,” VonDielingen said. “It was a huge mark for us to hit, but we’ve still got a job to do at sectional.”

The Owls open sectional play tomorrow against Jeffersonville at 1 p.m. at New Albany High School.

Whatever happens, VonDielingen just wanted to make sure he was out there alongside his teammates in his final baseball season at Seymour.

“Jack is a baseball player. Some college is going to be very happy to get Jack VonDielingen because he shows up every day and that kid competes his butt off to be a better player,” Richey said. “Like I said, it’s a special kid, and someone is going to get a really good baseball player and even better human being in Jack VonDielingen.”

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