Tippecanoe baseball loses 1-0 to Hamilton-Badin in D-II district final


PLEASANT HILL — In a matchup with the fourth-ranked D-II baseball team in Hamilton-Badin, you might think Tippecanoe would be at a disadvantage.

But, in a D-II district title game at Newton High School, the Red Devils went toe-to-toe with Badin before losing 1-0 — despite facing a pitcher who has verbally committed to Washington State (Nik Copenhaver) and a catcher who has signed with Penn State (Jimmy Nugent)

The Red Devils dropped to 18-12 on the season, while Badin improved to 23-6.

“We have shown all year we can play with anyone,” Tippecanoe coach Bryan Gronski said. “I doThis was one of our goals. To get to the district finals and play a team like Badin. We had played some big D-I teams conference and non-conference this year.”

And the Red Devils could not have asked anymore from Max Dunaway.

Dunaway hurled a four-hitter, striking out four and walking two.

He was at his best when Badin had scoring opportunities, stranding eight Ram runners.

“Max (Dunaway) threw a great game,” Gronski said. “I know Matt Salmon has been our ace the last two years. But, Max was 7-0 coming into this game.”

The game’s only run came in the Badin fourth.

The Ram had been hitless up to that point.

Rodney Rachel started the innings with a single, stole second, moved to third on Brady Imhoff’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Cooper Fiehrer’s fielder’s choice.

“We just happened to be up against a pitcher (Nik Copenhaver) who is going to go on to do great things,” Gronski said. “They were able to push a run across and we weren’t able to.”

Tipp had base runners on first base four different times — three times after two were out.

Preston Zumwalt and Matt Salmon had the Red Devils two hits, while Tyler Minnich and Jaxon Hill reached on errors and Braydon Bottles was hit by a pitch.

“I don’t know that we ever got a runner to second base,” Gronski said. “You are not going to be able to do that and score. But, their catcher (Jimmy Nugent) is really good and we didn’t have the confidence to try and steal on him.”

Copenhaver threw a two-hitter, striking out seven and hitting one batter.

That was good enough for Badin to survive — after being pushed to the limit by the Red Devils.

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