FAIRBORN — In a slugfest that saw Fairborn and Xenia combine for 24 hits, four home runs (two each) and 23 runs, it was the host Skyhawks who rallied to a 12-11 win, Monday May 1, to clinch the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South division crown, at Fairborn Community Park’s Joan Dautel Field.
The win left both coaches pleased with their teams’ play, and looking forward to the rematch between the two GWOC foes.
Fairborn (11-9, 8-3 GWOC American South) trailed by scores of 1-0, 6-2, 10-4 and 11-10 before the Skyhawks’ Kelsie Coleman led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple off the left-field fence, then scored the winning run on a wild pitch.
Kiara McConnaughey, who had been called up from Fairborn’s junior varsity team earlier in the week, retired the final three Buccaneers in order to earn the win. McConnaughey pitched the final four innings in relief of stellar starter Taylor Rice who was still showing the effects of a slight leg injury suffered April 24 in a win over Beavercreek.
Skyhawks coach Tiffany Smith said Fairborn has become adept at come-from-behind wins this season.
“They have done that very well this year. They don’t quit,” Smith said. “One of their hash tags is ‘Stay Lit, Don’t Quit.’ This was a big game for us. It pretty much locks up the GWOC South for us. Our goal all year was to win the division.
“I’ve pretty proud of these kids tonight.”
On a blustery day where everybody was getting hits, Fairborn’s Coleman got the most of them. The sophomore first baseman batted second in the Skyhawks lineup and went 4-for-4 at the plate with a single, two doubles, a triple, three runs scored and three other runs driven in.
Jordan Wilson hit a solo home run, as part of a 3-for-4 day at the plate. Wilson also scored three runs.
Taylor Rice hit the other Fairborn home run, a two-run shot to give the Skyhawks a brief 2-1 lead in the first inning.
Xenia (12-11, 6-6 GWOC South) had plenty of hitters as well.
Ella Johnson was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate for the Bucs. She sent an 0-2 pitch over the center field fence for a solo home run in the first, and also singled and doubled, with two runs scored.
Fellow sophomore Sydney Smith went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI, and Xenia’s Sage Turner knocked a h0me run shot to right field to drive in three Buccaneer runs.
“It’s a shame that somebody has to lose a game like that,” Xenia coach John Miner said. “Both teams played great. I think the balance just shifted a bit in Fairborn’s favor late in the game. We went out fighting, and that’s the kind of game you get.
“Good job, Fairborn. We have a rematch for our Senior Night on Wednesday. We’re gonna try to even things up a bit then.”
The rematch between the two Greene County foes is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday May 3 at Xenia High.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.