By John Bombatch
RIVERSIDE — Despite the sunny afternoon, it took a little while for the Fairborn bats to warm up on Saturday. But once they did, the Skyhawks were able to rally for an 8-5 win over the Carroll Patriots.
Fairborn coach Josh Patrick said he and his staff did what they could to keep things positive in the Skyhawks dugout while Carroll starter Fred Albino kept their team hitless through three innings of play.
“We told them ‘Hey, just try to get the barrel up and just try to hit the ball hard. Don’t think anything else.’ We started doing that in the fourth and fifth innings, and then good things started happening for us,” Patrick said.
Behind Albino’s solid start on the mound, Carroll had jumped out to a 3-0 lead through three innings of play. The Patriots took advantage of a pair of Fairborn errors in the first, and combined that with a trio of hits, to score twice. They loaded the bases, and Donovan Martinez drew a bases loaded walk to tack on the third Pats run two innings later.
But Fairborn’s bats came alive in the fourth.
First, Will Coleman laced a liner down the third-base line for the team’s first hit of the game. He reached third on Jon Fields’ single to center, then was waved home from third on a called balk when Albino attempted a pick-off move to third with the third baseman well off the bag.
In the fifth inning, Fairborn (9-6) sent nine batters to the plate. Three of them walked, one was hit by a pitch, while Jacob Webb doubled in one run, Matt Peterangelo singled home another, and Fields singled in two more runs to put the Skyhawks out in front, 6-3.
Jordan Flynn’s two-run home run over the left-field fence pulled Carroll within a run of the lead after five full innings of play, but Peterangelo’s first career home run two innings later put the Skyhawks out in front for good.
A Fairborn coach ambled over to the Patriots dugout and traded a brand-new baseball for Peterangelo’s souvenir home run ball. “I want you to know that I’ve never, ever, hit a home run like that before,” Peterangelo told the crowd, as his teammates cheered him on.
“He’s a senior for us and that was his first, ever, home run,” Patrick said. “And quite frankly, it changed the whole complex of the game for us. They had guys on second and third (in the bottom of the seventh). Without that home run, Carroll’s got the potential winning run on second base with one out. … He’s really worked hard for us, and I’m glad to see that he got rewarded.”
With Dalton DiFederico on third, and Flynn perched on second, Fairborn reliever Jacob Webb struck out the last two Carroll batters to seal the win.
Peterangelo went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs in all for Fairborn. Fields went 2-for-3 and knocked in two Skyhawk runs. Of the 10 Skyhawks who saw action, nine of them reached base in some fashion. Mark Rich got on twice the hard way: He was twice hit with a pitch.
Carroll’s Albino also led the team in hitting. The Patriot lead-off man was 3-for-4 at the plate and stole a base. Flynn went 2-for-3, while Karter Peck and Jack McMahon also singled in the loss.
Pats coach Mike Sheets didn’t mind his team’s offensive performance, but he wasn’t happy with some on-base blunders.
“I guy getting picked off early in the game, a guy not getting the sign to steal early … Those can just kill you,” he said. “Then later in the game, you’re down by a run instead of being up by a run. … That’s where we are right now. From the neck up, we’re not playing real smart.”
Fairborn, which defeated West Carrollton 10-0 on Monday, will play at West Carrollton at 5 p.m. today.
Carroll (4-5) hosted Cincinnati Roger Bacon on Monday. They play a 5 p.m. non-league game today at Dayton Northridge.
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