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Matt Tiffy ends run as Red Wolves baseball coach after 16 years – and local scores

LANSING, Ill. (May 29, 2024) – There were a lot of hugs, a lot of photos, and a few tears on May 23 after TF South baseball fell 7-0 to host Andrew in a Class 4A regional semifinal.

It wasn’t just the end of the season — it was the end of Matt Tiffy’s run as coach of the Red Wolves.

Tiffy is stepping down after 16 years to spend more time with his family, which includes wife Sarah and daughters Anna and Charlotte. His teams went 266-201 with 10 winning seasons, including four years of 20 or more wins. Only Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bill Anderson coached more games (953), had more wins (578) and had a longer tenure (34 seasons) in program history.

“A world of emotions right now,” Tiffy said after the game. “I’m proud of my kids. My kids battled all day. … From … the first day to the last day, it’s been absolutely outstanding to see their growth.”

What stands out most over his tenure?

“The families and the young men I got to work with,” Tiffy said. “I still talk to nine-tenths of those young men that I worked with. … It’s just a blessing that I got to put on the red and gray. … I got to get to know some really good families. I hope to watch these guys grow and play baseball and follow them along through their lives.”

Tiffy was close to stepping down six years ago.

“I fell in love with a group of kids because I worked summer ball with them,” he said. “And then the pandemic happened and coach (Dave) Soderstrom called me up, he goes, ‘You’ve got a great bunch of kids coming in.’

“I followed them a lot and I decided four years ago I was gonna stay on and see where it went.”

That group was the core of the past two South teams, who went a combined 44-27. Seven of them were in the starting lineup against Andrew.

In the meantime, Tiffy also has been coaching his daughter Anna’s 10U softball team. That makes for some crazy weeks during the overlap between high-school baseball and youth softball.

“I’ve given a lot to the kids that I’ve worked with, but it’s time to be with my family,” he said.

“I won’t miss the cold afternoons. I won’t miss the grind of six day (per week) practices. I won’t miss arguing balls and strikes. But what I will miss is the kids. I will miss the connections we have. They’ve given me a hard time and me giving them a hard time. But I’ll also miss helping shape them into young men.”

Tiffy is calling this a resignation rather than a retirement. Though he’s been a head coach for 19 seasons, including three at Rich Central before coming to TF South, he’s still only 41 years old.

Could he see himself coaching in high school again after his kids grow up?

“I’ll never shut the door on that,” he said. “I’m still young. My body needs a break, I’m being honest. But you know, I’ll never say never.”

Boys track

Senior Karrel Harvest wrapped up his high-school career by placing seventh in the Class 3A shot put on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston with a throw of 57-11.75.
He also finished 25th in the 3A discus at 149-7.

South’s David Nkwogu was 18th in the Class 3A triple jump at 44-2.5 and 41st in the 3A 300 hurdles with a time of 41.72.

Softball

The Red Wolves finished 9-22 after falling 10-0 to Andrew in the Class 4A Sandburg Regional semifinals on May 22. South won its regional quarterfinal 14-3 over Thornwood on May 20.

TF United

Boys volleyball

United finished 10-23 with a 25-11, 25-10 loss to Lincoln-Way East on May 22 in the Marian Catholic Regional semifinals.

TF North

Boys track

North’s Joseph Merritt finished 43rd in the Class 3A 300 hurdles at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston with a time of 41.99.

Baseball

The Meteors lost 21-1 to host De La Salle in a Class 3A regional final on Saturday to finish 6-27.

Aric Moultrie was 1-for-2 with a run for North.

Alvin Lankin went 3-for-4 with an inside-the-park homer, two runs, and three RBI as the Meteors beat Thornton 12-9 in the regional semifinals on May 21. Chris Guzman was 1-for-4 with a triple, a run, and three RBI. He also earned the win in relief of Fernando Rios, who struck out 12 in five innings.

Softball

The Meteors finished 7-20 after falling 17-0 to the hosts in the Class 3A Oak Forest Regional final on Saturday.

North beat Washington 14-9 on May 21 in the regional semifinals.

Illiana Christian

Baseball

Two-time defending Class 2A state champ Illiana (18-9) won the Whiting Sectional, beating Bishop Noll 12-2 on May 22 in the quarterfinals, blanking the hosts 5-0 Saturday in the semifinals, and rolling by North Newton 9-1 Monday in the final.

Spencer Bandstra pitched a five-inning three-hitter against Noll, striking out eight and walking one. Nick Neri went 1-for-3 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI, while Aaron Gouwens walked, scored one run, and drove in two. Isaac VanderWoude was 1-for-3 with a walk, two runs, and an RBI.

Jake Scott threw a two-hitter with no walks and 11 strikeouts vs. Whiting. He also was 1-for-3 with two RBI, while Gouwens finished 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Tanner Post struck out 11 and allowed six hits over six innings to earn the win against North Newton. Gouwens (1-for-2, run, RBI) and Luke Smith (1-for-2, walk, run, 2 RBI) both homered for Illiana. Luke Passo was 2-for-3 with two RBI, Neri drove in two runs, and VanderWoude scored twice.

Softball

The Vikings finished 19-5 after falling 5-4 in 10 innings to North Newton on Saturday in the Class 2A Andrean Sectional final.

Lydia VanderWoude was 3-for-5 with two RBI, Libby Kreykes went 2-for-5, and Mikayla Derks went the distance, allowing nine hits and five earned runs with 11 walks and 10 strikeouts.

Illiana advanced with a 5-0 semifinal shutout of Andrean on May 22.

Derks pitched a four-hitter with one walk and four strikeouts, Cayden Petersen was 2-for-3, Kreykes went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer, and Alyssa Mulder also homered.

Boys track

Junior Divine Olikagu will represent the Vikings at the IHSAA state meet on Saturday at Indiana University in Bloomington. He’s seeded 20th in the 300 hurdles with a regional time of 39.53.

Marian Catholic

Boys track

Marian’s Peyton Stoffregen finished 29th in the Class 2A 800 at the IHSA state meet in Charleston with a time of 2:03.57.

Also for the Spartans, Marcellus Clifton and Paul Frazier finished 41st and 42nd, respectively, in the Class 2A 100 with times of 11.26 and 11.31.

Baseball

Host St. Rita hit a three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Spartans 15-12 Monday in a Class 3A regional final. Marian finished 13-24.

The Spartans advanced with a 13-8 regional semifinal win against Hinsdale South on Saturday.

Jonah Weathers led Marian, going 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, a run, and an RBI. Mitchel Stanton went 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs, while Alex Kvasnicka finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run.

Softball

Host Marian finished 7-23 after losing 10-0 to Providence on Saturday in a Class 3A regional final.

The Spartans advanced with an 11-1 regional semifinal win against Crete-Monee on May 22. Jackie Pollock pitched a six-inning one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Giselle Gomez homered and drove in three runs.

Boys volleyball

Host Marian wound up the season at 28-10 after falling 26-24, 25-17 to Lincoln-Way East in a regional semifinal on May 23.

The Spartans beat Bishop McNamara 25-23, 25-17 in the regional semifinals on May 22.
Phoenix McGruder had 13 kills, four digs, and three aces for Marian, James Bullock Jr. added five kills, Ricky Gallegos had nine digs, and Justin McGary contributed 25 assists and four digs.

The Spartans beat Bloom 25-13, 25-9 in the regional quarterfinals on May 21.

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Mike Clark
Mike Clarkhttps://muckrack.com/mike-clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.