Division II Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Tippecanoe


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division II Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Tippecanoe

TIPP CITY - Bruce Cahill has been around long enough to not get too excited when his Tippecanoe baseball team finds success.

“In all honesty, we have played the bottom teams in our league,” admitted the long-time mentor, who earlier this season picked up his 700th career victory. “It’s good to be 14-0, but we’ll find out this week what we’re about.”

The Prep Baseball Report Division II Team of the Week won four games last week, 7-0 over Greenville, 9-6 and 4-1 over Fairborn and 6-4 over Eaton.

“We haven’t been strong defensively, but I hope we’re improving there,” pointed out Cahill, whose squad suffered its first loss of the season on Monday to Troy, 11-9. “I keep telling the team it’s going to come back and bite you. But 14-0 is 14-0. We’ve had a couple games we could have lost but we found a way to win.”

Tied 5-5 going to the seventh, Tippecanoe scored four runs in the 9-6 win over Fairborn with Aiden Hefner coming off the bench to drive in two key runs last week. On Saturday, Eaton was up 4-0 before the Red Devils came back to win with Trey Davis subbing in with a leadoff hit with the game tied at 4-4 to ignite a two-run inning.

“We have four or five guys that play all the time but we have 12 playing quite a bit,” noted Cahill. “We hope guys off the bench contribute and they have so far.”

A .363 batting average has bolstered the team so far.

“It’s a little high, we haven’t faced the best pitching, but sometimes we face pitchers not throwing hard and a lot of times we can’t hit that,” Cahill explained. “We’ve been able to hit that this year.”

Nobody has been better at the plate than Jonny Baileys, the 16th-rated senior second baseman in Ohio. A Parkland College commit, the Tippecanoe three-hole hitter who bats left and plays center field and pitcher, has 35 RBIs, six doubles, six triples and three home runs so far.

“I can’t remember a kid that hit that well in any 14-game stretch,” Cahill said.

Heffner has 14 RBIs as the DH, with junior leadoff hitter Braydon Bottles another making big contributions at .370 while playing infield, outfield and pitching.

Speaking of pitching, Matt Salmon, the cleanup hitter in the lineup who plays third when not on the mound, is 5-0 while not allowing an earned run, fanning 46 in 30 innings.

“He’s 6-3, throws in the low-80s and is always at the knees,” Cahill said of the junior that has two shutouts to date, including last week’s win over Greenville. “One game he threw 81 pitches and 72 were strikes. He had 17 Ks versus West Carrollton in a 2-0 win.”

Baileys is 2-0 with 36 strikeouts in 26.2 innings and a 2.62 ERA while Mason Hughes stands 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in 13.1 innings.

Seniors Clay Vaughn and Jacob Smith, in their first varsity action, are also playing well according to Cahill. Vaughn is averaging .313 and Smith .346.

“This team brings a lot of energy every day,” Cahill said. “We don’t encourage rah-rah cheerleader-type stuff, but they talk a lot. Jonny is a high-energy guy that talks a lot in center field. That, more than anything, has been a good thing.

“But we still have to play better defense,” concluded Cahill, whose Red Devils had seven errors in Monday’s loss. “On Saturday we had no errors against Eaton and if we see that we’re going to be okay. But if you see us losing games, just look in the E column and that’s going to be why.”

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