WINNSBORO — The Fairfield Central (2-3, 1-1) baseball team earned its first region win over the Raiders of Keenan on Friday with a 7-4 victory.
Fairfield Central head coach Scotty Dean was relieved his team was able to get its first region-win under the belt.
“It feels good (to get the win),” he said after the game. “I can see the guys look a little bit more upbeat.”
Stanley McManus and Compton Walker combined for one-hit performance.
McManus got the win after throwing four innings allowing four runs on one hit, five walks, two hit batters and nine strikeouts.
Walker came in relief in the fifth inning and tossed three innings allowing no runs on no hits, no walks and struck out five hitters.
Dean believes that combination can make a difference for the Griffins.
“With those two guys (McManus and Walker) in the middle of our line-up and on the hill as our number one and two pitchers, we’re a different baseball team,” Dean said. “I wouldn’t trade those guys for anybody in the state.”
McManus got off to a slow start after giving up two runs in the first inning, but then struck out five hitters in a row and seven of his next nine.
“Once he (McManus) gets going he’s good,” Dean noted. “This is really only his second outing in the regular season because he didn’t get much time on the mound in the pre-season.”
After giving up a walk and hitting a batter, McManus allowed a two-run single to spot the Raiders a 2-0 lead.
However in the bottom half of the inning, Walker stepped up to the plate with two runners on and two outs and smashed the first pitch he saw off the left-center-field fence for a two-run double.
Now batting fifth in the lineup, after starting the season in the four-hole, Walker was able to breakthrough and get a much needed hit.
“When he reached second base, you could see a sigh of relief from him,” Dean said after the game. “Not only did he need that, but our team needed that as well.”
Coming in a moment when the Griffins needed it the most, Walker’s hit looked like it would leave the park off the bat.
“The difference was timely hitting,” Dean noted. “We got hits when we had guys in scoring position.”
The Griffins added a run in the second, in the third and then broke the game open with three runs in the fourth.
Fairfield took advantage of two Keenan errors in the infield to mount a lead that was insurmountable.
Nick Goins provided a fresh face in the bottom of the lineup and reached base all three times for the Griffins.
Goins finished with a sacrifice-bunt RBI, single to right-field and a walk.
Fairfield’s defense did not commit an error and made the routine plays in the field and at the plate.
Dean is hopeful the win over Keenan will prove to be a turning point for his squad.
“I really love this baseball team and I feel like we have some pieces in place,” he noted. “I really like where we’re at and I’m excited about what this baseball team can do, if we just put it together and do it.”
McManus came out in the fifth inning with no outs after walking the first two hitters.
Even though two runs scored to make it 7-4, Walker was able to limit the damage in relief.
He only faced nine hitters in three innings of work and struck out five.
“Once we got to the bottom of the seventh, I was confident we would win with the way he (Walker was dealing,” Dean stated. “Compton (Walker) is filthy, he throws hard and has a good curve ball.”
Next up, the Griffins will play at the defending region champs — Pelion — on Tuesday.
After losing three game in a row to start the season, Pelion (2-3, 2-0) has won back to back region contests over Eau Claire and North Central.
First pitch is set for 6 p.m.