Salmon hurls three-hitter as Tippecanoe tops Kenton Ridge 2-0 in D-II baseball district semifinal


SPRINGFIELD — Tippecanoe baseball coach Bruce Cahill has taken on a lot of opponents in winning 700-plus games and coaching in 1,000-plus games.

And there is no one he loves playing more than Kenton Ridge — and there is no on he loves talking about more than his ace pitcher Matt Salmon.

And he got to do both after second seed Tippecanoe knocked off top seed Kenton Ridge 2-0 in a D-II district semifinal at Carleton Davidson Stadium Tuesday.

Tippecanoe improved to 22-7, while Kenton Ridge dropped to 21-7.

The Red Devils will play the Wyoming at 5 p.m. Thursday at Miamisburg. Wyoming defeated Indian Hill 5-1 Tuesday.

The battles with Kenton Ridge go back to the many years they were the top teams in the CBC going at it.

“I have so much respect for those guys over there (pointing at the Kenton Ridge dugout),” Cahill said. “I love those guys. In fact, it is probably my favorite team to go up against. I even coached Adam Eaton (former Kenton Ridge star who now plays in the major leagues) one summer, so that was a lot of fun.”

And when it comes to Salmon, who overcame the heat to throw a three-hit shutout against the Cougars Tuesday, Cahill could talk all day — and understandably so.

Salmon is now 10-1 on the season, has a .49 ERA and has 91 strikeouts on the season and just seven walks.

“What can you say,” Cahill said. “Matt (Salmon) is pretty special. He just broke our school record for wins, he has a sub .50 ERA. He just doesn’t give up runs.”

Salmon isnn’t going to put up 15 strikeout games a lot, but he is not going to make any mistakes either.

“He is not overpowering,” Cahill said. “He just throws strikes. He is going to fill it up with strikes. One game this year, he had 81 pitches and 72 were strikes.”

He faced 27 batters Tuesday and threw 21 first pitch strikes. Of his 92 pitches, 66 were strikes.

“He is going to attack the strike zone,” Cahill said. “And they (Kenton Ridge) were being aggressive up there. I know one inning, he got the first two batters out on the first pitch. That helps when you have a hot day like today.”

In the end, the game game down to timely hitting.

Tippecanoe was able to come through in that situation in two of the first three innings, while Kenton Ridge had second and third with two out in the first and second and could not score.

“But, we also had a couple other situations where we didn’t score,” Cahill said. “Not because of hits, because Matt’s (Salmon) triple in the third was our last hit. I kept hoping for a third and fourth run, but we didn’t get it.”

Salmon said the heat did make things tougher.

“It does drain you, I will say that,” he said. “But, we have a great team. I had confidence in my teammates.”

Tipp broke through with the only run they would need in the top of the first.

“What Clay (Vaughn) did in the first inning, that was pretty big,” Cahill said. “That is what you are looking for in the first inning.”

Freshman Landon Turner led off the game with a single and stole second. He was on third with two outs when Vaughn drilled a single to make it 1-0.

“I was just looking to get in the outfield somewhere,” Vaughn said. “We work on those speciality situations all the time.”

In the third, Turner again led off with a single.

On Brayden Bottles sacrifice, Turner went from first to third when no on covered third until late for the Cougars.

With one out, Salmon tripled to make it 2-0.

“That triple felt great,” Salmon said.

Turner, who was brought up to play shortstop when Tipp lost a couple players, was 2-for-4 in the game.

“You may have notice our lineup was a little different,” Cahill said. “For a freshman to get two hits, score both runs and do what Landon Turner did, that is pretty impressive.”

Caleb Obee relieved starter Justin Maurer at that point and did not allow a hit the rest of the game.

But, with Salmon on the mound, enough damage was done.

The Kenton Ridge duo combined to strikeout one, walk three and hit a batter.

“There are so many things I could say,” Cahill said. “Matt (Salmon) is pretty special. He just doesn’t give up runs.”

Which any coach would love.

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