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Fairfield baseball ends season as district runners-up 

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The Fairfield Lions ended their season in the district finals Monday at VA Memorial Stadium. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

CHILLICOTHE — The Fairfield Lions and South Webster Jeeps played even for two innings in a scoreless game, but the Jeeps scored three runs in the third, and as the innings ticked away, that ended up being enough to defeat the Lions in the Division IV SE District Finals, with Fairfield falling to South Webster by a 4-2 score.

In the game played at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe on Monday night, the Lions saw South Webster score three runs in the top of the third, with the inning beginning with Tristan Belford forcing a one-out walk, as pinch runner Dylan Shupert entered the game for Belford. Next, Connor Bender reached first on a bunt for a base hit, as the ball took a high bounce in favor of the Jeeps, putting runners on first and second base.

After the second out was recorded on a groundout, a double by Jaren Lower scored Shupert and Bender for a 2-0 South Webster lead. Robert Martin took first after striking out as the third strike ended up being a passed ball, scoring Lower from third base for a 3-0 deficit for the Lions.

Fairfield answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, starting with a full-count walk from Dow Moon. Moon stole second and then went to third on a passed ball.

Following a strikeout, Gabe Fouch walked on five pitches, and after the second out, Landry Hattan singled to left field, scoring Moon with two outs. Hattan stole second as he beat a rundown and went to third on an infield error, which scored Fouch for a 3-2 score. The inning ended on a third strikeout.

Fairfield left a runner stranded in the fifth, and after South Webster scored a run in the top of the sixth for a 4-2 lead over the Lions, Fairfield had a runner caught stealing as South Webster’s catcher applied the tag at the plate for the second out of the inning.

In the seventh, Fairfield left a runner at second base, as the final two outs of the game were via strikeout.

“I’m very proud of the season. You lose your final tournament game, and you are down and everybody’s upset; however, at the end of the day, you realize a lot of teams would love to be in the situation we’re in and to have the season we had,” FHS head coach Kyle Zimmerman said. “We have to look back at this season with a fond memory.”

Fairfield finished with four hits, with Moon going 1-for-2 with a run and a walk, while Fouch was 1-for-2 (a double) with a run and walk as well. Cade Miller finished 1-for-3, and Hattan went 1-for-3 with one RBI.

“The big difference of the game was they (South Webster) hit the ball hard, and we didn’t,“ Zimmerman said. “We had four hits, and they only had five, but the hits they had were for extra bases and ours were flares, and we couldn’t move runners over.”

Fouch was charged with the loss, pitching all seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks. Fouch, a junior, totaled 11 strikeouts in the game, and for the season he had 100 strikeouts.

Martin was the winning pitcher, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. Martin totaled 12 strikeouts for South Webster.

The Lions finished the season at 19-6 overall, winning a Frontier Athletic Conference Division I championship, a sectional championship and for the second consecutive season finished as district runners-up.

Seniors for Fairfield are: Noah Allering, Wyatt Collins, Wyatt Harner, Landry Hattan, Elijah Humphreys, Owen Larrick, Brandon Ludwick and Dow Moon.

“The existing seniors have been tremendous leaders for this ball club,” Zimmerman said. “The legacy they are going to leave behind, we hope the younger guys pick it up and run with it. They worked hard in practice, showed up on time and showed how to be responsible. They will be sorely missed; however, they left a lot for us to work off of.”

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