The “special” season of the Knights ends abruptly against the Trojans Sports
Fairfield baseball coach Dave Hazlett struggled to stop his emotions when he spoke of the team, which he repeatedly called a “special group” on Friday afternoon.
Hazlett’s Knights entered the Class 3A District 3A Tournament as the third seed with a score of 14-4 and as the reigning YAIAA-4 champions. Their reward for a great season was holding the quarterfinal playoff game for the first time.
Unfortunately for Fairfield, he never made it to away in Upper Dauphin in Friday’s first round of the district tournament, dropping 4-1.
“I mean, it’s baseball,” Hazlet said after the loss. “We hit the ball hard, like all year, and it just didn’t get between their players.”
After Knights freshman Jaden Bell worked in the first inning 1-2-3, senior Hunter Zerby took the mound for the Trojans (9-12) and immediately demonstrated a repertoire of low-speed fields that would keep the Butterflies out of balance. in the afternoon.
After two innings, neither team missed the base runner past the first. At the top of the third Bell gave up a single game with two outs and a subsequent wild serve to move the runner to the points position, but he managed to avoid a traffic jam without damage.
Fairfield seemed to be in business in his half of the third after Cam Makinyak made a mistake, and Griffin Tabler went to put two and no exits. Nathan Baker then pushed the runners to the goal position with a relegation to the center, turning the lineup in the process.
But Bell, the leading striker, and Eric Ball swung at the respective first innings they saw, producing only a jump and primer before the short end of the half.
The knights were forced to pay for their extravagance at the top of the fourth. A one-time walk on Zerby put a pair of runners at base with one for the Trojans. After John Peterson’s equilibrium moved the runners to the goal position, Bell Belk scored the first run of the game. Max Nestor then took a 1-1 step into the center field, scoring Zerby and making it 2-0 before Bell came out with a strikeout frame.
Suddenly a confident Zerbi returned to the mound with a thin but almost insurmountable lead.
“It was nice to get those runs,” he said. “I was confident in my stuff and in my defense, and it only helped.”
Cody Valentine tried to trigger an attack at Fairfield with a singles single at the bottom of the fourth, but was taken from first base for the second half. Will Myers and Andrew Koons followed their single units that could have killed Valentine, but Makinyak came out on short to end the threat.
After a one-time walk the runners put on the first and second, Bell’s day was over. Valentine came to see the inning and maybe more. He looked second out of the frame when he selected Brady Morgan from first base, but Morgan created a shrinking situation, and Makinyak eventually made a misfire when throwing, not only allowing Morgan to return to first place but also allowing the leading runner Jan Hepler made the approach and made the score 3-0.
An impressive catch of the ball over his shoulder in the center of the field before throwing back to double Morgan, finished the half, but the damage was done.
The Knights once again threatened to cut the lead at the bottom of the fifth by putting a pair of runners on one exit. But Ball hit the bouncing ball to the right for a long, loud second before Jake Myers came out into the line to finish the inning.
After a 1-2-3 top of the sixth for Valentine, Fairfield mounted his last rally of the game in the sixth. Valentine started it from a double deep left center field before moving on to the third on Myers ’departure. Koons then drove him home, rushing to the center, but Makinyak refused the threat and maintained the advantage in two series at 3-1.
Nestor and Hepler’s doubles games restored a three-time Trojan cushion at the top of the seventh, while Cerby showed a flawless, 1-2-3 seventh to send the Upper Dauphin to the semi-finals on Tuesday against Delaunay Catholic, ending the Knights season.
Zerby finished with a full game on just 65 pitches. He allowed seven strikes, but walked only one to pass along with one strikeout.
Now Fairfield is looking to the future, trying to replace a group of 11 seniors that was one of the most successful in the program’s history.
“Here we are with 11 high school students on the high school team, and we dumped a freshman. It just goes to show that although we have a lot of seniors, we have a program that we are building, “Hazlet said.” And we’re excited to start preparing for next year. “
Upper Dauphin 000 210 1 – 4 7 1
Fairfield 000 001 0 – 1 7 3
Hunter Zerby and Troutman; Jaden Bell, Cody Valentine (5) and Will Myers. WP: Zerby. LP: The bell. SO-BB: Zerby 1-1; Bell 2-3, Valentine 3-0. 2B: UD-Hepler, Nestor; F-Valentine.