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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Frosh Alderfer, Paxton help Valley baseball edge Triton


Sports Editor, RTC

Braxton Alderfer

AKRON — Braxton Alderfer drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, and fellow freshman Hunter Paxton struck out Brian Wescher looking with the potential tying on third for the final out as the Tippecanoe Valley baseball team edged visiting Triton 6-5 Monday.

Zak Greer singled with one out in the top of the seventh for Triton. He advanced to second on Kohan Hensley’s groundout to Paxton on the mound and advanced to third on a passed ball.

Paxton then slipped a knee-high fastball over the outside corner to end it.

“He just doesn’t let anything faze him,” Valley coach Jarred Littlejohn said of Paxton. “As a freshman, he’s just so calm in those situations. … He’s got that dawg in him.”

Both teams are 2-2.

Jameson Phillips had a triple and an RBI, Luke Tucker had a double and an RBI, and Issiac Ramsey and Landon Durkes each added a hit and an RBI.

Paxton walked twice and scored a run. Cam Manuel had a hit and a walk.

Valley trailed 3-0 at one point but took a 4-3 lead into the sixth.

Drew Bingamon and Braxton Kaufman each had RBI singles in the top of the sixth off Tucker to give Triton a 5-4 lead.

Littlejohn replaced Tucker with Paxton on the mound. Paxton walked Lucas Kaufman but struck out Isaiah Vaca with two men on to escape further damage.

Durkes singled, advanced to second on Wes Haines’ groundout, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Tucker’s double to center.

Two batters later, Tucker scored from second when Alderfer floated a single to center. Alderfer is one of those tasked to replace the graduated Annikan Pettit behind the plate at Valley. Pettit is now playing at Grace College.

“Actually, he talks to Annikan quite often,” Littlejohn said. “That’s kind of his role model. So it’s really good for us as a program to have Annikan still looking out for our guys that are here. That’s the approach that we’ve tried to preach to these guys all game. That kid (Braxton Kaufman) had a good curve ball. Go to right field, two-strike approach. And he did just that. That’s big for us to know that we have a freshman that can do that and that can be behind the plate for us is big.”

Paxton then protected the lead to earn the win.

“I feel a little bit of pressure if I allow a run, but I know my teammates got my back,” Paxton said.

Paxton said he and Alderfer are teaming up for the first time after playing on different travel teams. Paxton’s travel team is the Diamond Spiders out of Plymouth.

“He’s a good catcher, blocks everything, really reliable hands,” Paxton said.

This is Littlejohn’s fourth season as coach. (He was hired prior to the 2020 season, which was canceled due to the pandemic.) He said his young players love baseball and ask a lot of questions because they are eager to learn.

“We start two freshmen on the field and three or four sophomores, and the rest are guys that, you know, haven’t gotten a lot of playing time because we graduated so many seniors last year that played a lot of baseball,” Littlejohn said. “So this is definitely the youngest team that I’ve had so far, but this is perfect. This is great for us. This is a learning experience that we need to go through.”

Valley 6, Triton 5

Triton 000 302 0 – 5 7 6

Valley 000 132 X – 6 6 2

WP – Hunter Paxton (1 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

LP – Jacob Pitney (5 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 9 K)

2B – Luke Tucker (TV)

3B – Jameson Phillips (TV)

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