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  • Val T.

Zink, Huffman lead Rochester baseball to 8th straight win

Valley honors Stump with memorial in pregame ceremony


Sports Editor, RTC

AKRON — Brayden Zink keyed a 15-hit Rochester attack with three singles, and Aaron Huffman fanned eight over six innings as the Rochester baseball team stayed undefeated with a 12-4 win over host Tippecanoe Valley on April 25.

Tarick McGlothin had two hits, two walks, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base for the Zebras, who improved to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the Three Rivers Conference.

Huffman also had two hits and an RBI at the plate. On the mound, he allowed eight hits and four earned runs, overcoming an early homer from Annikan Pettit. He walked two and struck out eight. Ethan Medina finished with a scoreless seventh.

“Huff’s tough,” Rochester coach Cory Good said of Huffman. “He wants it. He’s a competitor. You know, he’s got a switch he turns on when it’s time to compete. … We were going to pull him out there after the fifth. He wanted the sixth really bad. Stuck him back out there. Did great. But he’s a guy that’s just going to keep us in games. Get weak contact, not really strike a ton of guys out, just pitches to weak contact, and that’s what we needed.”

Evan Elliott had two hits and two RBIs, and Gavin Young came off the bench to provide a single, a double and an RBI.

Luke Hunting and Tanner Reinartz each had a hit and an RBI.

Noah Prater singled and doubled for two of Valley’s eight hits. D.J. Estep doubled and drove in a run, and Cameron Manuel had a hit and an RBI.

Markus Bernicky took the loss after allowing 12 hits and 10 runs in 4 ⅓ innings. Six of the runs were unearned due to three Viking errors. He walked one and struck out four. Estep allowed two runs in 1 ⅓ innings, and Braxton Davis pitched 1 ⅓ scoreless innings.

“They’re solid one through nine in their lineup,” Valley coach Jarred Littlejohn said of Rochester. “So it’s not as much as us missing locations and not executing our pitches. They have a good lineup. They’re a good team. We’ve got to make more plays in the field. We gave up a lot of hits and maybe some plays that we could have slowed them down a little bit. And then errors. They’re a good enough team that they’re going to take advantage of that.”

Valley fell to 2-3, 0-2 TRC.

Valley has not beaten Rochester since 2017.

Rochester scored two runs in the second to go ahead for good at 2-1. They scored twice more in the third and four in the fourth to make it 8-2.

Valley scored in four of the first five innings but still trailed 10-4.

Valley dedicated a pregame monument behind home plate to the late Brendyn Stump. Stump, 16, died on May 17, 2021, after injuries suffered in a car accident two days earlier. Stump was Valley’s leadoff hitter and a starting outfielder.

The monument is in the shape of home plate and is propped up by three small green baseball bats. A flower arrangement with small baseballs lies underneath the plaque.

It includes a picture of Stump cheering on his teammates.

“I have fought the good fight I have finished the race I have kept the faith 2 Timothy 4:7,” the plaque reads.

“It was nice to do it this game,” Littlejohn said. “Everything that we did for B and his family … he’s always with us in any way. It was important to this team tonight and this community to reveal that. A big game, it just stinks that it didn’t come out the way we wanted it to.”

Game notes

  • McGlothin has not pitched since the Plymouth game on April 12. In two previous appearances covering eight innings, McGlothin has struck out 11 and not allowed an earned run. Good said McGlothin has been dealing with “a little tenderness” in his arm and added that the cool spring weather has impacted his ability to pitch. McGlothin continues to play shortstop and has an on-base percentage over .600.

  • Valley’s Owen Kirchenstien, who will play collegiately at Danville Area Community College in Danville, Ill., has not pitched this season due to an elbow injury. Kirchenstien’s injury will not require surgery. He said there is a “slight chance” he could pitch this season. Kirchenstien went 4-2 with an 0.35 ERA on the mound last season. He led Valley in wins, innings pitched (40) and strikeouts (63) in 2021. He is continuing to play second base for the Vikings.

Rochester 12, Valley 4

Rochester 022 422 0 – 12 15 1

Valley 101 110 0 – 4 8 3

WP – Aaron Huffman (6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

LP – Markus Bernicky (4 ⅓ IP, 12 H, 10 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

2B – Evan Elliott (RHS), Colton Ferverda (RHS), Luke Hunting (RHS), Gavin Young (RHS), Noah Prater (TV), D.J. Estep (TV)

HR – Annikan Pettit (TV)

A monument honoring the late Brendyn Stump was dedicated prior to Tippecanoe Valley’s home baseball game against Rochester on April 25.

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