Brooks Strikes Out Eleven As Wawasee Beats Whitko

April 9, 2024 at 8:15 p.m.
Junior Easton Grable prepares to make contact with the ball to drive in Whitko's lone run of the game during the first inning. Photo by Gary Nieter
Junior Easton Grable prepares to make contact with the ball to drive in Whitko's lone run of the game during the first inning. Photo by Gary Nieter

By CONNOR MCCANN Sports Editor

Tuesday night’s nonconference game between Whitko and Wawasee had a little bit of everything. Terrific pitching, timely hitting, and a game that was in the balance until the final pitch was thrown. In the end, the pitching of the Warriors was too much, as the visitors struck out 15 Wildcats in a 3-1 win.
Whitko starter Isaiah Cripe was able to navigate through the top of the first inning with little drama, giving up just one hit to Wawasee two-hitter Kaleb Salazar and retiring the other three hitters he saw with a pair of grounders and a punch out. Salazar was able to get himself into scoring position with a stolen base, but the Warriors were unable to capitalize.
The Wildcats were able to strike first in the bottom half of the opening frame. Leadoff man Kaden Ciaccia-Long opened the game with a dribbler up the middle, but an overthrow by the Wawasee catcher allowed him to reach third on the play. Whitko’s next hitter, Easton Grable, was able to drive him in with a single into right for the opening run of the game. After two passed balls allowed Grable to make it to third and a walk to Riley Harman followed by a stolen base put two more runners in scoring position with no outs, Warrior starter Ty Brooks got it going. The senior struck out the next three hitters, two of them looking, to end the threat with just one run coming across.
Cripe continued dealing as the second inning got going, allowing just one baserunner in the form of a walk to Wawasee’s Dane Cripe. It wouldn’t end up being much of a threat though, as some sharp defense behind the Whitko hurler would dispatch of the other three hitters with relative ease. Outside of a leadoff double by Max Platt in the bottom of the second, Brooks was able to get through the inning without any problems, striking out three more hitters to finish off a scoreless second inning.

    Wawasee senior Ty Brooks releases his pitch to the plate during Tuesday evening's game at Whitko. Photo by Gary Nieter


The top of the third saw the Warriors bring their first run of the game across. Brooks was able to get on by roping a single into left field, following it up by stealing second and third to get himself into scoring position. Already with a hit in the game, Salazar was able to make some good contact, sending a ball into deep right field. It would be caught, but it was far enough to score Brooks from third on a sacrifice fly to tie things up. After scoring his team’s first run minutes earlier, Brooks continued dealing on the mound, striking out the side in order to give him nine Ks through three innings.
Wawasee took its first lead of the night in the top of the fourth. After two walks to the first to hitters and a sacrifice bunt by Dane Cripe put both of them in scoring position, Ryan Menzie was able to bring home Reed Reidenbach on an RBI single past third to make it a 2-1 game. The Warriors now had two more runners in scoring position with just one out, but Isaiah Cripe was able to get a crucial strikeout and a grounder to end the inning to keep it a one-run affair.
Working with a lead for the first time in the game, Brooks was able to work around a pair of baserunners in the bottom of the fourth for his third straight scoreless frame. The big hit in the inning came off of the bat of Platt, who ripped a two-out triple into right field. Platt’s second hit of the game would have scored a run too, but Wawasee catcher Addison Coy was able to throw out Breyden Kirkdorffer, who led the inning off with a walk, while he was trying to steal second base.
There was a bit of deja-vu to start off the fifth inning, as Brooks led the inning off with a single to left for his second hit of the night, stole second as well as third, and was driven in by Salazar on a sacrifice fly to left for the second baseman’s second RBI of the game. Isaiah Cripe was able to retire the next two hitters he saw, but the damage had been done and the Warriors now led 3-1.
Salazar took over pitching duties for Wawasee in the bottom of the fifth, ending Brooks’ outing at five innings pitched, eleven strikeouts and just one run allowed. Salazar was able to work around a one-out single by Ciaccia-Long, the leadoff man’s second hit of the game, to retire the side and keep the Warrior lead at two runs.
After a scoreless top of the sixth by Wawasee, the Whitko bats took over with just six outs to work with. The Wildcats had more success getting contact off of Salazar than they did Brooks, but the results were mostly the same. Brooks wasn’t done beating the home side either, making an incredible diving catch at shortstop to rob Kirkdorffer of a base hit. Ethan Morris was able to reach in the inning with an infield single, but was left stranded at first base as the game moved into the seventh.
Isaiah Cripe didn’t slow down in the seventh inning, even with his pitch count getting up there. The senior pitched his first one-two-three inning of the game to give his offense a chance down by only two runs. Cripe went seven innings, struck out five and gave up three runs.
The Wildcats would make things interesting in the bottom of the seventh. After Salazar struck out the first two hitters in the inning, Ciaccia-Long was able to notch his third hit of the game and Grable drew a walk to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Harman. After both runners stole bases to get into scoring position, things got even more tense. But Salazar was able to get a fastball by the three-hole hitter to finish off the Wawasee victory.
Both teams play their next game on Thursday night, with Wawasee staying on the road and traveling to Columbia City, while Whitko remains at home to host Lakewood Park Christian.

Tuesday night’s nonconference game between Whitko and Wawasee had a little bit of everything. Terrific pitching, timely hitting, and a game that was in the balance until the final pitch was thrown. In the end, the pitching of the Warriors was too much, as the visitors struck out 15 Wildcats in a 3-1 win.
Whitko starter Isaiah Cripe was able to navigate through the top of the first inning with little drama, giving up just one hit to Wawasee two-hitter Kaleb Salazar and retiring the other three hitters he saw with a pair of grounders and a punch out. Salazar was able to get himself into scoring position with a stolen base, but the Warriors were unable to capitalize.
The Wildcats were able to strike first in the bottom half of the opening frame. Leadoff man Kaden Ciaccia-Long opened the game with a dribbler up the middle, but an overthrow by the Wawasee catcher allowed him to reach third on the play. Whitko’s next hitter, Easton Grable, was able to drive him in with a single into right for the opening run of the game. After two passed balls allowed Grable to make it to third and a walk to Riley Harman followed by a stolen base put two more runners in scoring position with no outs, Warrior starter Ty Brooks got it going. The senior struck out the next three hitters, two of them looking, to end the threat with just one run coming across.
Cripe continued dealing as the second inning got going, allowing just one baserunner in the form of a walk to Wawasee’s Dane Cripe. It wouldn’t end up being much of a threat though, as some sharp defense behind the Whitko hurler would dispatch of the other three hitters with relative ease. Outside of a leadoff double by Max Platt in the bottom of the second, Brooks was able to get through the inning without any problems, striking out three more hitters to finish off a scoreless second inning.

    Wawasee senior Ty Brooks releases his pitch to the plate during Tuesday evening's game at Whitko. Photo by Gary Nieter


The top of the third saw the Warriors bring their first run of the game across. Brooks was able to get on by roping a single into left field, following it up by stealing second and third to get himself into scoring position. Already with a hit in the game, Salazar was able to make some good contact, sending a ball into deep right field. It would be caught, but it was far enough to score Brooks from third on a sacrifice fly to tie things up. After scoring his team’s first run minutes earlier, Brooks continued dealing on the mound, striking out the side in order to give him nine Ks through three innings.
Wawasee took its first lead of the night in the top of the fourth. After two walks to the first to hitters and a sacrifice bunt by Dane Cripe put both of them in scoring position, Ryan Menzie was able to bring home Reed Reidenbach on an RBI single past third to make it a 2-1 game. The Warriors now had two more runners in scoring position with just one out, but Isaiah Cripe was able to get a crucial strikeout and a grounder to end the inning to keep it a one-run affair.
Working with a lead for the first time in the game, Brooks was able to work around a pair of baserunners in the bottom of the fourth for his third straight scoreless frame. The big hit in the inning came off of the bat of Platt, who ripped a two-out triple into right field. Platt’s second hit of the game would have scored a run too, but Wawasee catcher Addison Coy was able to throw out Breyden Kirkdorffer, who led the inning off with a walk, while he was trying to steal second base.
There was a bit of deja-vu to start off the fifth inning, as Brooks led the inning off with a single to left for his second hit of the night, stole second as well as third, and was driven in by Salazar on a sacrifice fly to left for the second baseman’s second RBI of the game. Isaiah Cripe was able to retire the next two hitters he saw, but the damage had been done and the Warriors now led 3-1.
Salazar took over pitching duties for Wawasee in the bottom of the fifth, ending Brooks’ outing at five innings pitched, eleven strikeouts and just one run allowed. Salazar was able to work around a one-out single by Ciaccia-Long, the leadoff man’s second hit of the game, to retire the side and keep the Warrior lead at two runs.
After a scoreless top of the sixth by Wawasee, the Whitko bats took over with just six outs to work with. The Wildcats had more success getting contact off of Salazar than they did Brooks, but the results were mostly the same. Brooks wasn’t done beating the home side either, making an incredible diving catch at shortstop to rob Kirkdorffer of a base hit. Ethan Morris was able to reach in the inning with an infield single, but was left stranded at first base as the game moved into the seventh.
Isaiah Cripe didn’t slow down in the seventh inning, even with his pitch count getting up there. The senior pitched his first one-two-three inning of the game to give his offense a chance down by only two runs. Cripe went seven innings, struck out five and gave up three runs.
The Wildcats would make things interesting in the bottom of the seventh. After Salazar struck out the first two hitters in the inning, Ciaccia-Long was able to notch his third hit of the game and Grable drew a walk to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Harman. After both runners stole bases to get into scoring position, things got even more tense. But Salazar was able to get a fastball by the three-hole hitter to finish off the Wawasee victory.
Both teams play their next game on Thursday night, with Wawasee staying on the road and traveling to Columbia City, while Whitko remains at home to host Lakewood Park Christian.

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