Webb throws no-no in Fairborn’s opening game


FAIRBORN — The on-field celebration for Fairborn could not even be described as muted after the game’s final pitch crossed the plate for a called third strike.

It would be apt to just say it was non-existent. A rare case for a no-hitter.

Skyhawks softball opened its 2023 season with a dominant performance, defeating Sidney 17-0 on Tuesday at home.

Hailey Webb delivered the overpowering game from the circle in the five-inning shortened contest, allowing three baserunners via walk while striking out 11.

The junior enters 2023 as one of the top returning statistical performers in the Miami Valley League, ranking in the top-three in both wins and strikeouts. She only initially got ahead in the count against nine of the 17 Sidney batters she face on Tuesday, but head coach Tim Duncan said it shows the improvements she has made in reading batters to not get flustered.

“If she has a pitch where she’s struggling, she’ll look at me and I know what her sign is to get rid of it,” he said. “She’s after a record this year. She wants the strikeout record for the school and I think she’s capable of it.”

Webb had previously thrown an one-hitter as a freshman two years ago in her only other start with fewer than three hits allowed prior to Tuesday’s game.

After walking two in the first inning, Webb produced strikeouts for 10 of the final 12 outs. Of the two balls which made it into fair territory, only a comeback grounder which nearly deflected off her glove and instead found its way to shortstop Rose McReynolds during the second inning was a close call.

Fairborn’s first six hitters all reached base as part of an eight-run first inning, capped by a two-RBI double to the left-centerfield gap from Bailee Walters in her second at-bat of the frame. The Skyhawks batted around again for seven more runs in the second and eventually began to take outs after runners reached third base.

A verbal spat in the fourth inning may have led to the subdued scene after the game. After Webb walked a batter with two outs, several pickoff attempts were followed by audible comments between the baserunner, Ivy Roberts, and the pitcher. Following Roberts’ steal of second and an inning ending strikeout, more comments were made between the two sides as both headed back to their respective dugouts.

Both side went through handshake lines together with no complications following the completion of the game.

The season was supposed to begin on Monday in a game at Sidney, but weather postponed that matchup to Wednesday.

The reigning MVL Valley Division champs, the Skyhawks were cut down in the 2022 postseason by Beavercreek and one of the top pitchers in the district. Duncan said he has seen his upperclassman, which make up the majority of the returning players from that squad, come back with more maturity and greater expectations this year.

“The girls feel they finished a little short last year,” Duncan said. “This is a caliber of team that can go a little further than we went.”

Fairborn hit .401 as a group in 2022 and producing 18 hits in game one shows the offense will continue to be a force this year. Even with that, Duncan said it is his belief the team’s success will be reliant on what happens in the pitcher’s circle.

“We’ll go as far as Hailey takes us,” he said. “And as long as the defense supports her like it did today to take all that pressure off her, she’s dangerous.”

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

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