Fast start lifts Tipp past Centerville

There was a reason the Centerville Elks appeared on the Tippecanoe Red Devils’ schedule Thursday evening. Tipp wanted a challenge heading into next week’s conference showdown with Greenville.

And, once the Elks got through a rough first inning, the Red Devils got one.

Tipp jumped on Centerville for six runs in the first inning, but the Elks fought off a potential run-rule before falling 11-6 in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game.

“It was good to see them battle,” Centerville coach Kaitie Harrison said. “They fought to the very last out. There’s not much more a coach can ask for when it comes to that.”

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The first inning looked good for Centerville after starting pitcher Samantha Ross allowed a single between a pair of ground outs. But the Red Devils kept the inning alive by batting around, sending 11 to the plate. Tipp scored on four hits – including Kaitlyn Husic’s RBI triple – and benefited from four walks.

Centerville ace Anna Kauffman replaced Ross after 10 batters. She recorded the inning’s final out against her first batter, stranding two runners.

From there Centerville (4-8 overall, 2-3 GWOC National East) played Tipp almost even despite allowing another three runs in the second to fall behind 9-1.

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“We are very, very young. Not a whole lot of varsity level experience,” said Harrison, whose varsity roster has two seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. “It looks like we’re old, but when it comes to varsity experience we’re not.”

Tipp (10-2 overall, 5-0 GWOC American North) knows the feeling.

The Red Devils have one senior, one junior, eight sophomores and one freshman on their varsity roster. That lone senior is shortstop Brooke Aselage, who is third on the team with a .424 average. She reached base twice and scored a run Thursday, but her highlight came on defense. Aselage’s full-extension dive toward third base allowed her to snag Carly Westendorf’s rocket line drive to end the inning and save a run.

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“Brooke, she’s our senior and she’s making some great plays for us at short,” Tipp coach Scott Sutton said.

Tipp had 11 hits, including a 4-for-4 effort from Husic. She tripled, doubled and had a pair of singles. She also knocked in two runs and scored two. Kayla Runyon also had a multi-hit game while Sidney Unger tripled in two runs in the second inning and Emma Miller had a pair of RBI.

Ross and Knauffman combined for 11 hits, one strikeout, seven walks and one hit batter.

“Our batters have been stepping up,” Aselage said. “The underclassmen have been doing really well so I’m looking forward to the end of the season to see how we play. … Our defense is solid so as long as we string together hits we can be successful.”

Miller improved to 3-0 with the victory. She allowed 10 hits, walked three and struck out three.

Centerville’s Emma Schutter and Morgan Sidwell both had a pair of hits. Sidwell and Lilly Gibbons both had two RBI.

“Centerville is much better than their record shows,” Sutton said. “We’re happy with the win against a good quality team like that. … We scheduled this in preparation for next week. I think we’re ready.”

Tipp hosts Greenville on Monday and travels to play the Green Wave on Tuesday. Greenville (9-1, overall 6-0 GWOC) has won or shared the last eight GWOC North titles.

“We’re looking to win the GWOC North and Greenville is our biggest competition. We’re ready to take them on,” Aselage said. “It’s more excitement. There’s always a little bit of nerves with Greenville. But we want to win this so bad so we have to not be nervous and just play our game.”

A big inning like Thursday would help.

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