Tristan Sipple’s line was impressive — a two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts.
It may have looked easy, but the Madison High School sophomore left-hander said the effectiveness of certain pitches came and went during Saturday’s rivalry matchup with Carlisle.
“It was just a circle of good pitches and bad pitches at the same time,” Sipple said after the Mohawks remained unbeaten in Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division baseball action with a 2-0 road victory. “Coach (Randy) Shupert always says about real estate, about location. I just tried to buckle down and hit my spots.”
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Madison put up two runs in the top of the first inning against Carlisle southpaw Caleb Stewart on a bright, sunny afternoon at Sam Franks Field. The rest was a pitchers’ duel.
The Mohawks improved to 12-2 overall and 8-0 in the SWBL, while the Indians fell to 10-4, 7-1. Waynesville is 7-0 in league play and will visit Madison on Monday.
“We’re really happy to get this win. This is a big program win,” first-year Mohawks coach Matt Morrison said. “We knew today was going to be a seven-inning battle.
“I want to give credit to Tristan Sipple … he pitched his butt off. Our seniors did a great job leading us today, and they’ve been doing that from the get-go. They’ve really respected their responsibility and accepted it, and they’re thriving right now.”
Sipple played an offensive role in the first inning for Madison, starting the game with an opposite-field single to left. It was the visitors’ only hit of the inning as Stewart struggled with three walks and hit a batter.
Jesse Jones walked with the bases full. Luke Hughes was next at the plate and got plunked by a Stewart pitch to force in the second run.
Stewart righted his own ship and gave up just five hits in six innings. Brandon Saylor finished the seven-hitter for the Indians.
“If you look at the book and take away the first column for Madison, Stewart pitched like an ace,” Carlisle coach Chris Hawkins said. “He worked around their lineup really well when he put the ball on the plate. He just kind of got in his own way in the first inning.
“We made some great defensive plays, and I thought we made one or two more than we got credit for. We played good baseball outside of the first inning.”
Did he consider lifting Stewart after the rough start?
“If he had come back in the second and fell behind or gave up a walk or something like that, we might have done that,” Hawkins said. “We knew runs weren’t going to be easy to come by. Madison has a pretty good offense and they have some lefties, which is always going to be a little bit awkward because you don’t see them very much.”
Sipple and Reid Davis both had two hits for the Mohawks. MHS ended two innings with double plays, popping up a bunt on a squeeze attempt in the fifth and unsuccessfully trying to score from third on a fly out in foul territory down the right-field line in the sixth.
“That was poor execution on the bunt, just a simple mistake that we can learn from,” Morrison said. “The other double play was my fault. I’ll own that one. My players do everything I ask them to do 100 percent. That was just a coaching mistake.”
Carlisle came up with both of its hits, a double by Jake Moore and a single by Stewart, in the fourth inning. Moore tried to score from second on Stewart’s two-out hit, but got cut down at the plate on an 8-6-2 (Noah Lehman to Davis to Cameron Svarda) play.
“Defense is where it’s at,” Sipple said. “I always tell coach, ‘Stick my best defense out there and we’ll win games.’ ”
Sipple issued two walks. He had four 1-2-3 innings and retired the last seven batters he faced.
“We had stressed at-bats all day,” Hawkins said. “When you go down two against a really good pitcher in the top of the first, you’re playing catch-up for all 21 outs. There’s never a chance to relax.”
Hawkins said the Indians don’t have a lot of experienced players back this year, but he likes this squad’s potential.
“When we finished the game with Saylor on the mound, we went freshman at third, sophomore at short, freshman at second,” Hawkins said. “We have a young, talented group. There’s no such thing as a good loss, but it’s good for them to play in games like this and have to make plays under stress.”
Carlisle will travel to Eaton on Wednesday and Madison on Thursday. The Mohawks have to play Waynesville twice and Preble Shawnee once before meeting the Indians again.
Madison has a roster with some experience, but Svarda (at catcher) is the lone returnee starting in the same position.
“We’ve still got the tail end of our schedule to go, and it’s brutal,” Morrison said. “I hope that our preparation in the offseason will help us with that. We’re thrilled with this team right now.”
WP — Tristan Sipple (5-0); LP — Caleb Stewart (3-1). Records: M 12-2, 8-0 SWBL Buckeye: C 10-4, 7-1 SWBL Buckeye