By John Bombatch
WEST CARROLLTON — After a slow start to the season, the Fairborn High varsity softball team is starting to come together. The Skyhawks claimed a 6-1 win over host West Carrollton on Tuesday to win their third straight game, and fourth of their last six.
“We’re starting to actually play both ends of the game,” Fairborn coach Tiffany Smith said. “In previous games we were here offensively, but we wouldn’t be defensively, or vice versa. Yesterday (a 7-1 win over West Carrollton) and today, our defense is picking up and we’re starting to click a little bit better.”
Despite a pair of errors, Fairborn turned three double plays in Tuesday’s contest. Two of the double plays saw Bryanna McLean force a runner out at third before firing on to first baseman Kelsie Coleman for the second out. The other saw Emily Miller snag a fly ball in left field, then alertly throw to second baseman Emily Reichart to gun down a runner who had strayed too far off base.
“That was one of our goals: To have at least two double plays (in a game) this year. We at least reached one of our goals, so that’s good to see. This year, we’re working on achieving those goals, and then setting them higher. We had our first no-error game yesterday, and that was one of our goals. And now we reached our double-play goal. Now we’re looking to reach the goal of having a winning season.
“And the way we’re playing, I see it in our future.”
Fairborn (4-7, 2-4 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s South Division) opened the season with four straight losses against the likes of perennial powers Miamisburg, Beavercreek and Lebanon. Since then, they’ve outscored opponents 62-15.
Sophia Ceyler doubled home Jordan Wilson with the Skyhawks’ first run, in the second inning.
West Carrollton’s Makayla Woody singled to left to score Madison Mills with the tying run in the Pirates’ third inning, but Fairborn’s no. 9 hitter, Megan George, singled to center to score Reichart with the go-ahead run in the fourth.
Fairborn then capitalized on two West Carrollton miscues, with Reichart scoring on another George hit. In all, Coleman, Taylor Rice, Reichart and George scored in the inning for the game’s final margin.
“We kind of lose focus for one inning, it seems,” West Carrollton coach Doug Hatcher said of his youthful team. “And from there, it just seems to go downhill. We’re very young, and sometimes we play that way.
“Makayla (Woody) is doing a nice job of pitching deeper into games. And we’re hitting well. We just have a tough time of stringing those hits together when we really need them, but that’ll come.”
Seven of the 12 players listed on the Pirates’ roster are either sophomores or freshmen. Woody pitched a solid game, scattering 11 hits while striking out six Fairborn batters. Mills went 2-for-3 from the leadoff spot with a pair of doubles.
Wilson went 3-for-4 at the plate for Fairborn, with a double and two runs scored. Coleman, Chloe Becraft, McLean and Ceyler each drove in one run, and George knocked in two runs on a pair of hits.
Both teams are back in action on Thursday. Fairborn will play a makeup game at Huber Height Wayne on that day, while West Carrollton (4-9, 1-5 GWOC South) will play host to Beavercreek.