Madison Central has a perfect record (16-0) more than halfway through baseball's soggy regular season. The Indians, No. 1 in this week's coaches' poll, are the last undefeated team (baseball or softball) in the state.
Looking for words to explain Madison Central's winning ways, senior pitcher Nicky Edwards borrowed a comment made by VCU basketball coach Shaka Smart during the Rams' improbable run to the NCAA Final Four a few weeks ago. "He said it's amazing what a team can do when they don't care who gets the credit," Edwards said. "That describes us."Madison Central's success isn't a surprise. Most of its starters are back from last year's 29-11 team that lost a heartbreaker to Lexington Christian in the 11th Region semifinals. Four seniors have led the way: Edwards (3-0, 1.47 ERA); Alex Dapkus (.520 batting average); Isaac Smith (.364), and Logan Smith (.353, 4-0, 0.64 ERA). Sophomore Jimmy Wright (.371) and junior Dusty Ridner (4-0, 0.67 ERA) have also shone. "We're not a star-studded team; we just know our roles and play together," Logan Smith said.Coach Steve Roof credits terrific pitching (1.17 team ERA) and defense, and the players' "effort and attitude" for helping them deal with distractions. "We talk about focusing only on those things we can control," Roof said.One thing the Indians can't control is people in the community constantly referencing the 1982 Madison Central team that won the state title with a 40-0 record, the last undefeated state champ. Talk about setting the bar high. But it's a waste of time to think any baseball team can go unbeaten, which is why it's never a topic of conversation among these Indians. "We just try to focus on the next pitch," said Roof, who noted the tough competition in the 11th Region, which has seven teams rated in the state's top 20. Assistant coach David Withers played on the last Madison Central teams that won the region, in 1991 and '93. He remembers how the '91 Indians took a 31-3 record to the state semifinals before losing, but the fans still insisted on comparing them to the '82 team."That," Roof said, "is why we just try to focus on the next pitch." Madison Central puts its winning streak on the line in the Louisville Invitational Tournament. Mike Fields, Herald-Leader (4/29/11)