Tippecanoe baseball loses heartbreaker to Wyoming 8-7 in D-II district final


MIAMISBURG — In a way, it was a synopsis of the Tippeccanoe baseball team’s season.

The Red Devils had much success, finishing with a 22-8 record.

But, there were times when the team struggled with baseball instincts.

And in the end Thursday against Wyoming, despite moments of brilliance, those lack of instincts were costly in an 8-7 loss to the Cowboys.

“You know, we got a lot out of this team to win 22 games,” Tippecanoe coach Bruce Cahill said. “When we have Matt (ace Matt Salmon) on the mound, we win. And when we don’t what you saw today is pretty much what happened.”

Tippecanoe had erased a 5-0 deficit and led 6-5 after five innings.

But, defensive mistakes and baserunning errors — little things — proved the difference in the final outcome.

After Tipp had taken the lead, Wyoming scored twice in the sixth to go back in front 7-6.

The second run scored when the relay throw from the outfield was dropped three times in an attempt to pick it up.

In the home sixth, Tipp missed two opportunities to tie the game.

First on a chopper with the tying run on second, the runner held until the ball went through to the outfield and had to stop at third.

Then with second and third and one out, what would have been a sacrifice fly turned into an inning-ending double play when the runner on second was doubled off.

“You can go back to the first batter of the game, when we misplayed a fly ball,” Cahill said. “We get the next two guys out on two pitches. If we make that play, they don’t score in the first inning. Instead, they score four runs. When things happen like tonight, it just shows that the kids don’t have a lot of baseball instincts that you get from experience.”

Despite a rough start, which saw Tippecanoe down 5-0 after two innings, the momentum changed.

Mason Hughes pitched three scoreless innings of relief.

“He put us in position to have a chance to win the game,” Cahill said.

Then, after just one hit in the first four innings, Tipp broke through with six runs in the fifth.

Aidan Heffner got the rally started with a double.

Following a walk to Braydon Bottles, Gavin Martin reached on an error to score a run.

After a single, by Landon Turner, Trey Davis had a RBI single.

Matt Salmon had a RBI single and Clay Vaughn grounded to first to score another run and close Tipp within 5-4.

Then, Jake Smith launched a two-run double in the gap to give Tipp a 6-5 lead and set off a celebration in the dugout.

“That was Wyoming’s ace and he was only throwing 78,” Cahill said. “I was suprised it took us that long to break through.”

But, Wyoming got the two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Then, Matt Salmon led off the Tipp seventh with a home run, before the next three batters went down in order to end the game.

Bottles, Hughes, Jacob Bowerman and Turner, a freshman, combined on the pitching effort for Tippecanoe.

Turner had scored Tipp’s only two runs in the district semifinal win over Kenton Ridge.

And on squeeze bunt when he was pitching, no on covered third and Turner threw and picked off a runner at third who had rounded the base too far.

“Did you see the play he made on the squeeze bunt,” Cahill asked. “This was his third varsity game. He had hits in his first two at bats in the district semifinal and scored both runs. The kid is going to be a good one. You know Matt (Salmon) threw Tuesday and we didn’t have out two and three (pitchers). We threw our four, five, six and seven pitchers today in a district championship game and had a chance to win.”

A synopsis of another impressive season for the Red Devils.

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