WINNSBORO — With high school baseball in full swing, Fairfield Central and Richard Winn renewed their cross town rivalry Wednesday evening.
The Eagles of Richard Winn used solid pitching, spotless defense and timely hitting to earn a 3-1 victory over the Griffins.
It was the first of two contests this season between the Eagles and Griffins, with the other one set for Tuesday (March 11) at Richard Winn.
“It was a good high school game and we were fortunate enough to get a few more runs than them,” Richard Winn head coach Al Berry said after the game. “We didn’t have any base running mistakes and played great defensively.”
The Eagles defense turned three double-plays to help keep the Griffins off the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the seventh inning and Richard Winn leading 3-1, the Griffins had a golden opportunity with two runners on base and just one out. However, Compton Walker hit into a game-ending double-play.
Fairfield Central head coach Scotty Dean was disappointed in his team’s missed chances to climb back into the game.
“We had our best hitters coming up and they turned another double play to end the game,” he stated. “They (Richard Winn) have a good baseball team over there and they’re well coached.”
Richard Winn turned their first double-play in the second inning when Fairfield’s Jarvis Kennedy was erased after reaching base off a hit-by-pitch.
The second came in the fourth inning, although Walker would score the Griffins lone run off it.
Overall, the Griffins left eight men on base and had three outs on the bases. Dean believes his players will improve on the base-path as the season goes on.
“That (base-running) is something that doesn’t get better unless you’re in a live-game situation,” he noted.
The Griffins were aggressive on the bases and accounted for six stolen bases. That style is all a part of the coach’s gameplan.
“If we don’t run the bases, then its (scoring) not going to happen for us,” Dean noted. “With the type of athletes we have, we have to be aggressive on the bases.”
Fairfield’s best opportunity to score came in the fifth inning when they left three men on base.
Richard Winn pitcher Austin Knox hit the lead-batter and then walked two others, but with the bases loaded and two outs he induced a ground-ball out from Stanley McManus to end the threat.
The Eagles started the scoring off in the first inning. Lead-off hitter Patrick Pope pulled a single into left field and then came home on an RBI-double that was smashed in the left-center field gap by Knox.
Berry said it was important for his team to score first and get ahead early because they were facing a quality pitcher, in McManus.
“Our first two guys hit the ball well and got us off to a good start,” he noted. “Runs are hard to come by and those guys were aggressive right off the bat.”
Richard Winn extended their lead to 2-0 in third inning, when they took advantage off two errors and a wild pitch. Knox came home off a sacrifice fly by Ekjah Tinker.
Fairfield broke through in the fourth inning with one run to make the score 2-1. Walker led off the inning with a single and came home on a double-play ball.
All three of the Griffin’s hits came in the form of a single. The only extra base hit came from Richard Winn’s Knox.
Richard Winn tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning to make the score 3-1. Matt Taylor led off with an infield single and scored off a ground-out to the pitcher by Conrad Sharpe.
Knox was the winning pitcher for Richard Winn. He pitched five innings allowing one run on three hits, three walks, three hit batters and fanned four hitters.
Cameron Cooper pitched the final two scoreless innings. He didn’t give up a hit, but walked three batters, hit one and struck out two.
Berry was pleased with his team’s overall pitching performance.
“I though Ausin (Knox) pitched and competed really well,” he said after the game. “And then Cameron (Cooper) came in and battled. I thought that was really big and gave us a chance to scrap and score some runs against a quality pitcher.”
Fairfiel’s McManus took the loss after throwing all seven innings and giving up three runs on four hits, one walk and punched out seven batters.
Although McManus was hit with the loss, Dean felt good about his pitcher’s performance.
“Munk (McManus) was looking good and throwing all three of his pitches for strikes,” he stated.
McManus threw a total of 95 pitches and used his entire repertoire, which includes a fastball, change-up and curveball.
Fairfield will have a chance at redemption when they play at Richard Winn on Tuesday (March 11).
The Eagles next contest is Saturday (March 8), when they play at Providence Home School in Columbia.
Berry hopes his team can fine tune just a few things before playing their next game.
“We’ll polish up some things and try to keep our timing,” he noted. “We need to be a little more aggressive and battle at the plate when we’ve got two strikes on us.”