XENIA — The Fairborn Skyhawks may have been shutout by the Xenia Buccaneers twice during the regular season, but they won on Tuesday when it counted the most.
Fairborn took advantage of some early Xenia miscues, then fought off a Bucs rally, to claim a 4-3 win in the opening round of the Division I high school baseball sectional tournament.
In the top of the seventh inning, Skyhawks leadoff hitter Ty Boedicker scored the winning run on a Xenia wild pitch. Xenia had one more shot at the plate, but Skyhawk freshman lefthander Ryan Profitt retired the final three Xenia batters to pitch a 3-hit win.
“Both teams are very similar. If you look at our lineups, we’re kinda split right down the middle with lefties and righties. Xenia’s ace is a lefthander, ours is a lefty. So we knew that we matched up very well against each other. We knew today that whichever team came out and made the plays in seven innings, they were going to win the game,” Fairborn coach Josh Patrick said.
Unofficially, Xenia had three errors to two for Fairborn.
Fairborn (11-16) took quick advantage of a pair of first inning Xenia fielding errors. The two miscues led to scores from the Skyhawks’ 1-2 batters, Boedicker and Kyle Keeton.
Brent Grody was hit with a third-inning pitch. He then scored on Nick Kimmey’s double to center to put Fairborn out in front, 3-0.
Xenia (13-15) scored all three of its fourth-inning runs without a hit. Jordan Current was hit by a Profitt pitch, Matthew Graham and Joe Walton walked, Blaise Denny’s sacrifice fly scored Current from third, Graham scored when Noah Pickering reached base on a throwing error, then Sterling Denny’s groundout to second base brought Walton home with the tying run.
Graham singled again with the potential go-ahead run in the fifth inning, but after a stolen base, failed to go further.
Fairborn’s Austin Krug reached after banging a pitch off Xenia reliever Trevor Adkins and beating out the throw from third for an infield single. Boedicker reached on an infield error, but Krug was thrown out at third for the Skyhawks’ first out.
Boedicker reached base on Adkins’ throwout of Krug at third. He then advanced to third on the error before making a head first slide to score the winning run on a wild pitch.
A bizarre ending to the inning prevented Fairborn from doing further damage. Brent Grody had appeared to launch a nifty sacrifice fly into deep centerfield to score Keeton from third. But when play resumed, Xenia appealed that Keeton had left the base early. The umpire agreed, and so a rather odd double play ended the Skyhawks’ seventh.
Profitt said he had his fastball working against the Bucs.
“My curveball wasn’t working for me well, my change-up was off and on,” he explained. “My fastball just kept working for me. We don’t throw my two-seam (fastball) much, but my four-seem was working well. It felt pretty good.”
Xenia hadn’t batted against Profitt this season. Coach Barry Claus sensed his players may have been a little tight, especially in the early going.
“But I thought we settled down nice as the game went on. Austin (Newell) settled down on the mound after that first inning … We just couldn’t get him enough runs. We only had three hits in the game (by Newell, Graham and Sterling Denny) and that’s not enough.”
Claus thanked seniors Joe Walton, Tyler McClanahan, Denny Sterling and Collin Graham for a solid season. He said Walton was a three-year starter who was the “heart and soul” of the Xenia team. He said McClanahan was easily the most improved player on the squad, and said Denny was a guy who “placed the team over himself,” and would play anywhere in order to help the team. “They’ll truly be missed, and I thank them for their efforts,” Claus said.
Fairborn snapped a four-game losing streak with the win. They will next play Greater Western Ohio Conference foe Springboro, at 5 p.m. Thursday at Springboro High.