Conor Diedrich and the Ripon High School baseball team experienced a whirlwind of emotions Monday night against Winneconne.

Diedrich, an incoming senior, hit a three-run home run to break a scoreless tie in the top of the eighth inning. Then, in the bottom half of the frame, he walked in the game-winning run as Ripon lost 4-3.

The game for the Tigers was part of the 30-day summer period that the WIAA allowed spring sports after their initial season was canceled as a result of COVID-19.

Winneconne elected to play “club” baseball, which removes it from the WIAA umbrella and the 30-day limit for practices and games. It has been practicing and playing games for around a month now, while Ripon started July 1.

“We have played almost as many games as we’ve had practices so struggling out of the gate was not a surprise,” Ripon head coach Dan Jonas said. “It was nice to start all the seniors in our first game [last week Wednesday] and I thought we actually played a little bit better than I had hoped. This is a situation where you’ve got to decide how you’re going to move forward, and with over 20 kids on the team, they deserve to see the field, all of them.”

He added pitching is going to suffer the most because he hasn’t been able to get them ready and the pitching staff is not on a rotation.

“It is a mindset along with repetition and we haven’t been able to work on either,” Jonas said.

Despite the heart-breaking loss Monday which dropped Ripon’s record to 0-2, Jonas is just pleased it has a chance to play games.

“It’s been nice to be together as a group to joke around and I would imagine the seniors are happy to just play together,” he said. “Usually those kids go all the way back to Little League and T-ball so I hope people just enjoy being out watching baseball with the expectation that the kids got to be together.

“I’m not putting a great emphasis on who we are playing but that we get to play. I hope players’ parents in the community embrace the opportunity of games.”

Read the full story, which includes information on how the game against Winneconne played out, in the July 16, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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