FAIRBORN — Lack of timely hitting, defensive miscues, and some pitching woes by Fairborn led to a 9-4 non-league baseball loss to Middletown April 14.
The Skyhawks (7-4) out-hit the Middies 10-6 but four errors and six walks helped Middletown score a season high in points while winning for just the second time in 11 games this season.
“Our pitching staff can not give up free passes (walks),” Coach Josh Patrick said. “You give up free passes then all it takes is a little bloop here … and they break it up into a big inning.”
That’s exactly what happened. Minus the little bloop.
Middletown led, 5-4, after five innings and used a pair of walks to open up the sixth, and the game. A sacrifice bunt attempt by Caleb Caudill was bobbled in the field loading the bases with nobody out. Pitcher Gene Underhill singled to score one run, another scored on a fielder’s choice and two more came after a single by Nick Holland.
Fairborn escaped further damage when a pop bunt turned into a double play, but Fairborn managed just two baserunners in the final two innings and did not threaten.
Middletown took a 2-0 lead after the first inning with a pair of singles, a walk and a throwing error on a play at the plate. Three walks, a late throw to third on a sacrifice bunt attempt and a wild pitch gave Middletown 3-0 lead after the top of the second.
Fairborn got one run back in the bottom of the second but could have had a lot more.
Dustin Myers and Andrew Trickett had back-to-back singles to start the inning. Following a pop fly out to center, Garison Secrest was hit by pitch to load the bases.
Jon Fields plated Myers with a bloop single to right and then it got weird.
Luke Crowley hit a screaming liner to left field, where Nick Thornton made a diving catch.
Or did he?
The base umpire signaled that it wasn’t caught, but all three Fairborn runners stayed on their base thinking it was a catch. Thornton threw home for a force out and then Holland threw to third for a force out of another runner.
“It was one of those quirky plays,” Patrick said. “It hit his glove and bounced out. Our runners were unsure. You probably won’t see it again for a few years. That was a stinger.”
Holland led of the top of the third with a homer to left to increase the lead to 4-1, but Fairborn scored twice in the bottom of the inning to inch closer.
Jacob Webb and Mark Rich both singled, and then following a ground out that advanced the runners, Myers drove in Webb with a ground out to short. Trickett followed with a bloop single to right to score Rich.
A single by Austin McFaddin, a sacrifice bunt by Nick Thornton and an infield error led to another Middletown run and a 5-3 lead after four.
Fairborn got another run back in the fifth with a one-out double by Rich, and a run-scoring triple by Ryan Profitt. Profitt was stranded at third after a strikeout and a fly out.
Will Coleman reached base via HBP in the sixth but the Skyhawks could not move him around the bases. Profitt had a two-out singled in the seventh and was stranded there. In all, Fairborn left six runners on base.
“We would battle and we would not get that timely hit that we needed,” Patrick said. “We made a lot of loud outs.”
Patrick added that with a league game at Greenville later in the afternoon, he was hoping the bottom of the rotation — starter Branden Lilley and relievers Crowley, Secrest and Dalen Gevedon — would come through. But he didn’t totally blame the hurlers.
“We definitely didn’t make some plays that should have been made,” Patrick said. “All those little things add up.”
The Greenville score was not available as of press time.
The Skyhawks lost, 6-3, to Butler April 13. They jumped on the board early, scoring two in the first inning. Butler tied it in the top of the fourth and then Fairborn scored once in the bottom half to retake the lead. Butler scored four in the fifth to take the lead for good.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.