Anick Hartsell contemplated playing a sport at the next level. Picking just one, however, was too difficult for the 2021 Southwestern senior.
Hartsell is a multisport athlete to the core.
“Letting go of sports was tough,” Hartsell said. “But it was time for me. One sport all year round? That is not me. I like hanging out with everyone and doing different stuff.”
Although his first love was basketball, Hartsell said he grew to love baseball more than hoops and soccer. The calm atmosphere, compared to the other two sports, meshes well with his personality. Hartsell, who was named The Shelbyville News’ Male Athlete of the Year earlier this summer, was a quiet leader who competed with a fire inside – one that was often too much for opponents to handle.
Hartsell ended his high school career with three sectional titles as a senior. The last one came with the top-ranked Class A baseball team in the state. The Spartans won the Morristown Sectional before falling to eventual state runner-up Shakamak in regional play.
Hartsell was the team’s ace and finished the season 8-1 with a 2.13 ERA. He had a team-high 48 strikeouts in 42.7 innings of work. Southwestern head coach Chris Ingels trusted him in the biggest games – and situations – of the season.
When he wasn’t pitching, Hartsell was at shortstop, which is arguably the toughest position in the field. Hartsell produced at the plate, as well, finishing the year hitting .370 with 37 runs scored, 25 RBIs, five doubles and three triples.
He helped the Spartans also win Shelby County and Mid-Hoosier Conference championships en route to a school-record 22 wins.
For his efforts this past season, Hartsell has been named The Shelbyville News’ Baseball Player of the Year.
TSN caught up with Hartsell to talk about his final baseball season and his future plans.
TSN: Going into baseball from basketball season, did you have high expectations for the season?
AH: We felt like we could of won a sectional my junior season, too. We didn’t want to finish where we finished that year. We did know we could be good (senior year). We knew we had about four or five pitchers; that is great. Our defense was always solid and our hitting came a long way during the season. We got the sectional and the county, it was great. It was a great season.
TSN: What was the feeling like when you won your third sectional title?
AH: It was awesome, that is the one we knew we had a chance to win. We just knew it was the year. We really wanted it. After the game (sectional championship) I was just watching and soaking it all in.
TSN: The regional game against Shakamak was your last game playing with your brother (Aiden Hartsell, 2022 senior). What was it like playing with him for three years in high school?
AH: I have always had fun with Aiden; we were always joking around. We got in fights over the years, but I always loved playing sports with my brother. I am going to miss it a lot. The regional game, it was great to be out there on the field with him one last time. He is already talking about how it is different at practice (offseason soccer). He has been missing it.
TSN: How were you able to transition from season to season so smoothly?
AH: I have been doing it since I was seven or eight. It was non-stop sports all year round. It was tiring but it was always fun. I guess I have grown to be ready for each sport. I actually quit soccer in fourth grade and picked it back up again in seventh grade. I was playing football until fourth grade, too. I started playing t-ball when I was three or four, that was my first sport. But I loved basketball when I was younger. That changed to baseball. It was a more relaxed setting.
TSN: What was it like playing with other guys in your class for so long (since kindergarten)?
AH: We will always have those memories. Going through Indy Hoops as kids, then through junior high in all the sports...we accomplished a lot. We made a brotherhood out of it. It is something we will always have.
TSN: What are your future plans now that high school is over?
AH: I am going to IU (Indiana University, Bloomington). I am going to study informatics. I have always liked video games and technology. I am also doing Air Force ROTC. I will graduate as an officer. That automatically puts you in the Air Force, so I would have some type of tech job in there. I leave for Bloomington on August 16. Aiden and I have been detailing cars over the summer. It has been weird, I have been doing my own workouts (to kill time with no offseason practices). I have been lifting weights and started to skateboard a little bit. It has been relaxing.