Fairfield's Wyatt Collins was a perfect 4-of-4 with one run and two RBI in the Lions' SHAC victory over Manchester Monday. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Fairfield's Wyatt Collins was a perfect 4-of-4 with one run and two RBI in the Lions' SHAC victory over Manchester Monday. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
LEESBURG — The Fairfield Lions never let the game get too far out of reach on Monday as they hosted the Manchester Greyhounds in Southern Hills Athletic Conference competition, so all they needed was one big inning to push them in front of their conference rival.

That inning came in the bottom of the sixth, as the Lions went from trailing by a 3-1 score to leading 6-3 when the inning came to a close. In all, the Lions earned a 6-4 SHAC victory to keep the battle in the SHAC Division II standings very close.

“I told them in the top of the sixth (Manchester) was in the top of their lineup, and we made it through their 2-3-4 hitters and got them out. I said we are going to get three here (in the bottom of the sixth), and Jake had us,” FHS head coach Jeremy McGraw said. “Our kids responded. They came up with quality at-bats, big hits, and it was just clutch and big for us.

“I’ve been preaching since day one that since we are down a couple runs doesn’t mean it is over. You could tell at the beginning of the year our body language wasn’t very good. We put our heads down, our energy wasn’t up, we weren’t cheering for teammates. We’ve been getting a lot better, and tonight it paid off.

“I didn’t see any of the bad body language. We just kept fighting and fighting, and we stuck around, and things blew away for us in the bottom of the sixth.”

Fairfield’s half of the sixth inning began with Cade Miller forcing a five-pitch walk to take first base. Following the first out, Gabe Fouch also forced a walk on five pitches. Next, Logan Rohde also forced a walk on five pitches.

The walks were followed by Orrie Friend taking first one an error at second base, scoring Miller. The bases were still loaded when Wyatt Collins singled to right field, knocking in Fouch. Noah Allering forced the fourth walk of the inning, scoring Rohde.

The inning kept going as Friend scored on a passed ball, while the other base runners advanced a base. A sacrifice fly by Jacob Morgan scored Collins from third base to complete the scoring for the inning.

Fairfield’s first run of the game came in the bottom of the third as Collins hit a two-out line drive to centerfield, scoring Owen Larrick, who hit a single to lead off the inning.

Manchester’s runs came in the first inning, as they hit a two-run home run and scored on a balk.

For the game, the Lions totaled eight hits and had no errors, while Manchester collected six hits and committed one error.

At the plate for the Lions, Collins was a perfect 4-of-4 with one run and two RBI. Allering drew one walk in the win, and Morgan finished 2-for-2 with one RBI and one walk. Hunter Burns was 1-for-4, and Miller scored a run. Fouch also scored one run and walked twice. Larrick finished 1-for-3 with one run, while Rohde collected a run and a walk. Friend finished with a run and a RBI.

Burns had the lone extra-base hit for the Lions with a double. Collins had the lone stolen base.

Morgan was the winning pitcher, as he went all seven innings on the mound for the complete game. He allowed four earned runs on six hits and no walks, finishing the game with eight strikeouts on 77 total pitches. Morgan threw 58 strikes.

“What a great performance by (Jacob) Morgan,” McGraw said. “He gives up three runs in the first innings and a home run, and he could have easily put his head down and start to overthrow. Instead, he started to settle in, and he pitched a great game. He threw 77 pitches and kept kids off-balanced. What a great performance by Jake tonight. He did a great job.

“That is the junior mentality. The kid loves baseball, and he stayed in and kept us in the game. His confidence was what we needed. Then he comes to the plate, and he had two hits. Wyatt Collins as well at the plate was 4-for-4 with two-strike hits. We did everything we needed to do to win as a team and to win a team game.

“I’m super proud of our guys,” McGraw continued. “This is a big step for us. Manchester has seven or so juniors and a senior who is going to play college baseball. Our young guys are taking strides, and I firmly believe that. Our record doesn’t show how good of a team we can be, but tonight we showed what we can be. We showed you don’t need to sit on us.”

Next for the Lions is a road SHAC game on Tuesday, April 20, as they will face the Eastern Warriors at 5 pm.