Baseball: Newman brings the thunder at Princeton

Comets collect 13 hits in 14-3 win over Tigers

Newman Central Catholic 2022 logo.

PRINCETON – After a 30-minute delay because of lightning, the Newman Comets brought the thunder against Princeton at Prather Field on Thursday.

The Comets scored five runs in the third inning and six runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 14-3 Three Rivers East victory, completing the series sweep after defeating the Tigers 15-0 on Monday in Sterling.

“Princeton has good baseball and has for years. We haven’t got them twice since I’ve been here. First time for me to get Wick twice. He’s got me twice a few times,” Newman coach Kenny Koerner said. “It just feels good to beat a team that plays good baseball.”

The Comets (18-4-1) improved to 8-1 atop the Three Rivers East, with a makeup game remaining with Bureau Valley.

“It’s a very good Newman team. They hit the ball. They play good defense,” Princeton coach Wick Warren said. “They should be highly ranked in the state. They’re that good. Hats off to Kenny and everything they’re doing.”

Newman went right to work, scoring one run in the first and two in the second to go up 3-0.

The Comets were just getting started.

Brendan Tunink and Daniel Kelly drew walks to start the third inning, and both scored on a single by pitcher Garet Wolfe. Chase Decker followed with a single, Joe Oswalt brought home one run with a bases-loaded walk, and Liam Nicklaus another when hit by a pitch.

Not wishing to dig themselves a deeper hole, the Tigers walked Tunink, the Notre Dame-bound slugger, with the bases loaded, willing to allow one run to score rather than potentially four.

The delay for lightning followed, but the damage had been done with the Comets leading 8-0.

The Comets finished their run-rule victory with six runs on six hits in the sixth inning to go up 14-2. Wolfe had a two-run single, Decker drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, Oswalt had an RBI hit, and Tunink ripped an RBI hit to right.

Newman’s Brendan Tunink is SVM’s 2023 baseball player of the year.

Tunink was limited to DH duties, nursing a leg injury from Monday’s game with Princeton. Koerner said he would have kept him on the bench, but White Sox scouts wanted to get another look at him.

“The White Sox were here tonight. They asked if he could hit,” Koerner said. “We said we don’t want him running, and they said, ‘We’ve seen him enough. He doesn’t have to run. Just let him hit. We want to look at a few things.’”

Princeton (7-10, 3-7) tried to avoid the 10-run rule in the bottom of the sixth. Noah LaPorte ripped a deep double to center, Luke Smith singled, and Stihl Brokaw brought home LaPorte on a sacrifice fly to short center, but the rally ended there.

Jordan Reinhardt

Jordan Reinhardt had two of the Tigers’ six hits off Wolfe. Freshman Braden Shaw ripped a double in the third inning, and Ace Christiansen had an RBI hit in the fifth.

“We popped up the ball either 12 or 14 times out of 18 outs. You can’t do that. You do it, you’re going to get beat. Going to get your brains beat out,” Warren said. “We only had six hits, and Jordan had two of them. Ace had one. They are carrying us at the plate. The rest of the guys are really struggling. ... Tough loss. We’ve just got to keep plugging on.”

Newman collected 13 hits, led by Garrett Matznick, Ashton Minor, Wolfe (4 RBIs), Decker (RBI) and Oswalt (3 RBIs) with two each.

“The key is just keep putting the ball in play for us and put pressure on them,” Koerner said. “We really stress that two-strike approach. Got to cut down on the strikeouts and make the other team make plays.”

Wolfe picked up the win, scattering six hits and three walks with one strikeout.

Notes: PHS senior Jimmy Starkey, unable to play this spring because of a knee injury, was recognized on senior night by throwing out the first pitch.

Have a Question about this article?