By John Cummings
All Tipp City High School baseball coach Bruce Cahill could do was smile and shake his head.
Standing within a win of a trip to the state tournament, everything that could go wrong did in a 3-0 loss to Jonathon Alder in the Division II regional finals at Athlete in Action Park Saturday night.
“We missed signs… you never thought that would happen here,” Cahill said after his team finished 28-5. “Where did that come from…?”
The Red Devils had their golden opportunities in the first two innings to break the game open.
Cameron Johnson walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Carter Langdon recorded a two-out walk before Austin Hadden was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Tipp could not break the ice.
Tipp was back at it in the second inning. Steven Calhoun singled, but was thrown out trying to steal second. Zach Robbins followed with a double, but was thrown out trying to score from second on a single to right by Cole Quillen. Quillen never made it past first.
“After the first two innings, we coulda, shoulda scored five runs,” Cahill said. “We told them to get out early and get going.”
Alder broke the scoreless tie in third inning on a balk call before scoring twice in the fourth on a throw home that sailed over the catcher’s head to the backstop for all the runs they would need.
“We had two great opportunities. If we get up, it puts all the pressure on them. Every play is magnified… if we get up maybe we don’t balk, maybe we don’t throw the ball away,” Cahill said. “You hate to think the first run of the game came on a balk call. But, if you are not going to cash in, you better play perfect and we didn’t.”
After the first two innings, Tipp did not record another hit on the night and had just four more baserunners – two of whom were thrown out stealing.
“We had three hits and then nothing else,” Cahill said. “But that was the kind of kid that has beat us this year. We tend to hit kids who throw hard better than we do kids like that.”
Despite making strides this season, Cahill had a hard time hiding the disappointment.
“We lost the last game of the season,” Cahill said. “It doesn’t matter where it happens… they (Alder) could lose the first game next week and it would be the same feeling.”