The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet 
Crawfordsville's Steven Rice (left) will pitch for the South All-Stars in this week's IHSBCA North/South All-Star Game.
The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet
Crawfordsville's Steven Rice (left) will pitch for the South All-Stars in this week's IHSBCA North/South All-Star Game.
After a nice, relaxing holiday break, Cody Nickle is ready to crush baseballs again.

He's looking forward to this week's Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Game for plenty of reasons.

The 2010 North Montgomery graduate and North All-Star hopes to showcase some more skills just like he did in last week's Indiana Mr. Baseball Classic.

He'll also get to resume his little rivalry with 2010 Crawfordsville graduate and South All-Star Steven Rice. That definitely gives the series that extra edge.

"I'm going to try to hit of him again. It makes it interesting," said Nickle, who hit a three-run double off Rice in last week's Mr. Baseball Classic. "It [The All-Star game] matters to me. Not very many people get to do it. I'll make the best of it."

Nickle (first baseman) and Rice (pitcher) will each compete in Thursday through Saturday's IHSBCA North/South All-Star Game at Earlham College's McBride Stadium in Richmond, Ind.

They will attend a banquet on Thursday before playing in a 5 p.m. doubleheader Friday and a single wooden-bat game at noon Saturday.

For the second straight all-star game, they'll also be on opposite sides.

An Ancilla College recruit, Nickle helped the Red Team earn a 6-3 win in the July 6 Indiana Mr. Baseball Classic, recording two hits and three RBI.

He also pitched two innings of scoreless baseball.

After not throwing for a week, Rice pitched three innings for the Blue Team last week - allowing four runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked two batters.

That's not what you'd expect from the incoming Vanderbilt University freshman who had a dental-floss thin 0.58 E.R.A., held opponents to a .114 batting average and gave up just seven earned runs all of his high school season.

This time, Rice is actually coming in off plenty of throwing work. He's been busy playing with the Indiana Bulls (his AAU travel team) and with his future roommate Josh Lee's travel team in Georgia over the past week.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to throw a lot better than I did last time," Rice said. "I've started to get everything back together. I'm starting to throw all my pitches for strikes. I've seen a lot of those kids before. A lot don't have big holes in their swings, so it's not that easy to pitch to them."

Rice also thinks he'll be more relaxed. After pitching in a couple of games, he's back in a rhythm. It took him an inning to find his rhythm in the Mr. Baseball Classic.

Plus, this will be his last high school game ever. He's leaving for Vanderbilt on Sunday morning. So, he's going to try to make it as fun as possible.

"For me this is more of a fun one, just because of the fact that this is my last high school organized thing that I'm doing," Rice said. "I'm just going to go out and have fun."

Nickle is out to do the same. But he's also looking to continue his offensive tear from the spring through the summer.

He led North Montgomery in six offensive categories, including RBI (47); hits (44); home runs (seven); slugging percentage (.894); on-base percentage (.598); batting average (.518). He also leads Byron Cox Post 72's American Legion baseball team (14-5) in home runs this summer.

"I'm hoping to get recognized by a lot of people and to get better," Nickle said. "It will be a good experience."