PLYMOUTH — The All-Star accolades are pouring in so thick for Plymouth’s Damon Howe, they’ve started to conflict with one another.
Howe, a 2011 PHS grad already selected to play on the offensive line at the Grange Insurance/IFCA North-South All-Star Football Game, has been chosen to represent the north at this year’s Indiana North-South All-Star Baseball Series. Just five days after this weekend’s all-star baseball series concludes Sunday at Parkview Field at Indiana Tech University in Fort Wayne, Howe will depart for the all-star football classic next Friday at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
“We have to report (for the football game) Sunday and we have a (baseball) game Sunday,” said Howe. “My dad already talked to them and told them I won’t be able to report, so it shouldn’t be a problem. It won’t affect my practice or anything. I won’t miss any football practice.
“It’s a nice way to finish off my baseball career just being able to play in that new stadium in Fort Wayne, which I’ve heard is pretty sweet, so I’m real excited about playing in that all-star game.”
Howe’s bona fides on both the gridiron and the diamond follow up a turn at this year’s llinois-Indiana All-Star Wrestling Classic Duals at Wabash College on March 13.
“Damon, if there were North-South wrestling, he made the equivalent of it,” said Howe’s PHS and American Legion baseball coach Tony Plothow. “He’s had a heck of a career, obviously, and he’s going to be sorely missed. It’s a great honor for him; we’re very proud of him. He’s a great kid, he’s had a great baseball career, and it’s a nice way for him to end his baseball career, and now he’s on to football.”
Howe is a four-year PHS baseball starter and three-year Plymouth Post 27 American Legion starter boasting 30 RBI and 26 runs off 35 hits, including five home runs this season for a batting average of .455 and on-base percentage of .528. He was a four-year All-Northern Lakes Conference selection, 2010 All-State honoree and player for the west at this spring’s South Bend Tribune Sports Fest.
“Four years of varsity experience,” said Howe. “I’ve had a very successful baseball career, and it’ll probably be one of the last official baseball games I’ll ever play. Being able to play in that new stadium at the top level is a great honor.”
Howe has had to sit out this summer’s American Legion season as he prepares to play football at the University of Findlay in the fall, and this weekend’s all-star series will give him a chance to reunite one final time with Plothow, who was chosen to coach the north team at this weekend’s three-game series.
“One more time coaching him. He wasn’t able to play American Legion with his football stuff, so that’ll be a nice way to go out for both of us,” Plothow said. “It’ll be fun, and hopefully we’ll represent the North well.”
Plothow owns a career record of 227-124 at PHS with five sectional titles, three regional titles and a semistate title in 2000. His teams have won four NLC championships, including one this season. He has been named NLC Coach of the Year four times and has twice been named District Coach of the Year.
“It’s a great honor,” Plothow said. “When they gave me the call I was very honored and very humbled by it. They called me Sunday and told me Damon had gotten it and then they called me the following Monday to tell me I’d gotten it. It’s definitely a nice honor. Over the years I’ve been around a lot of coaches who have gotten that honor, and it’s very humbling to be in that class with those guys.”
While both Plothow and Howe were singled out for all-star honors, another four-year PHS player and 2011 graduate, Kyle Cartwright, was honored for his work in the classroom as an Academic All-State player for the spring baseball season.
Cartwright is a four-year PHS and three-year Post 27 player and 2011 All-NLC selection with a batting average of .344 and an on-base percentage of .394 boasting 20 RBI and 18 runs off 31 hits over his final high school season. He graduated ranked 18th in his class with an 11 GPA.
“It was during the baseball banquet that Coach Plothow told me,” said Cartwright. “It’s been a few years since anyone at PHS has gotten Academic All-State, and he told me he was proud of me. I hope everyone’s proud of me, because I’ve worked pretty hard at it, and I’m glad I got it.
“I’ve been playing baseball all my life. It’s a great sport and I love it; every chance I get to play I take it. It’s rewarding.”