By Josh Brown
DAYTON — The last two weeks have been up and down for Tippecanoe.
But Wednesday, the Red Devils put together the beginnings of a run heading into the postseason.
Bradley Calhoun and Cole Barhorst both had two-out, two-run hits, Calhoun pitched scattered six hits in another complete-game victory on the mound and the Tippecanoe baseball team (15-7, 11-4 Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division) dominated from start to finish, 9-2 over Greenon Wednesday at Fifth Third Field in Dayton.
It was the first back-to-back wins for the Devils — who defeated Bellefontaine 4-0 Tuesday night — since April 23 and 25, the final two games of a 10-game winning streak. Since then, Tippecanoe had won only two of its last five entering Wednesday’s matchup against the Knights (9-15, 4-12 CBC Mad River).
“Overall, it was a positive game,” Tippecanoe coach Bruce Cahill said. “We got everyone in tonight. We hit the ball a little better last night, and then we hit the ball a little better today. Now we’ve got to build on it.”
The hitting began early for the Devils as leadoff hitter Aaron Hughes drove a double to the left field fence on one hop. He moved to third on a groundout, then the Knights pitched around red hot cleanup hitter Justyn Eichbaum — the CBC leader in homers with four entering the game — walking him on four pitches with two outs. It backfired, though, as Calhoun brought home both runs by lacing a double to left-center to give Tippecanoe an early 2-0 lead.
“Aaron leads off the game with a double, hitting it to the fence here at a ballpark like this. That’s big,” Cahill said. “Their pitcher was pretty decent, but that first batter doing that shows everyone else in the lineup that we can this guy. It was a great tone-setter.
“Justyn had the big hit last night, a three-run double. He’s had a few big hits lately. I almost let him hit on 3-0, honestly. But Brad gets a big hit with two outs.”
Tippecanoe added another run in the top of the second as Barhorst drew a one-out walk and scored on another double by Hughes — who finished the game 3 for 4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored — making the score 3-0 early on.
Greenon fought back in the bottom of the inning, though. A leadoff walk and a double by Adam Campbell put runners on second and third, then Riley Williams hit an RBI groundout and Cooper Chaffin hit an RBI single to bring both home and cut the Tippecanoe lead to only one. Calhoun got a flyout to center, then he fielded a grounder up the first base line and threw out the runner at first from his knees to end the inning.
“He walked the leadoff guy, then he slowed the pace down so much that guys were falling asleep out there,” Cahill said. “When you’re taking 20 seconds in between pitches … you’ve got to get into a rhythm, get your defense involved. That leadoff walk got him out of rhythm, but he finally battled back and got going.”
From there, Calhoun never got out of rhythm again. He sat down seven straight batters, then he turned a one-four-three double play to end the fifth inning. Greenon got back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth inning, but a fielder’s choice and a flyout left runners on the corners with nothing to show for it, and Calhoun pitched a one-two-three seventh to finish off the game.
Calhoun finished with three strikeouts and one walk, scattering six hits in the game.
“That’s Brad’s third straight quality start,” Cahill said. “He’s really beginning to come on.”
The Devils put the game away with a four-run rally in the top of the third inning. Eichbaum drew a one-out walk, Calhoun singled and Trevor Staggs reached on an error to load the bases. Greenon starter Chris Winter got a strikeout for the second out and got Josh Riebe to hit a grounder to second, but the second baseman rushed his throw and fired it over the first baseman’s head, an error that allowed two runs to score. Barhorst followed with a clutch two-run single, and the Devils led 7-2.
Andrew Kraska added another run in the top of the fourth, popping a squeeze bunt over the pitcher’s head for an RBI single that scored Hughes, then pinch hitter Clay Barhorst hit an RBI groundout that scored Clay Barney and made it a seven-run game.
Tippecanoe travels to Eaton Thursday, hosts Piqua Friday and finishes the regular season at home against Urbana on Monday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.