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Falcons pick up first two wins

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 4/17/24

The Fayette High School baseball team won their first two games of the season last week, a wild 8-6 win over Slater on Wednesday, followed by a dramatic one-run victory at Glasgow, 6-5, on Thursday.

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Falcons pick up first two wins


The Fayette High School baseball team won their first two games of the season last week, a wild 8-6 win over Slater on Wednesday, followed by a dramatic one-run victory at Glasgow, 6-5, on Thursday.

The two wins came as a welcome relief to a struggling Falcon squad after eight straight losses to open the season.

“It feels really, really good,” said Fayette coach Andy Oeth. “This is just how it is sometimes. Sometimes high school baseball can be kind of a crapshoot.”

Slater 6

Fayette 8

On Wednesday, the Falcons found their first win of the season at home over Slater. After allowing two runs in the top of the second, Fayette tied the game in the bottom of the inning thanks to multiple Wildcat errors. 

The Falcons took advantage of more errors in the bottom of the third to go up 4-2 with no outs. Later in the inning, A ground ball from sophomore Ethan Bean scored junior Thomas Elliott from third to put Fayette ahead by three.

Slater inched back in the top of the fourth, scoring on three singles and a walk.

Fayette increased its lead to five runs in the bottom of the fourth. After leading off with a walk, Kaleb Friebe advanced to third on an error and a putout at first of freshman Thaddeus Quint on a dropped third strike. He then scored when Slater pitcher Gannin Moore was called for the first of three balks in the inning.

Fayette sophomore Payton Oeth then scored from third when Slater catcher Tristan Klasing tried to throw out at second base Elliott on a successful steal attempt. Elliott then was awarded third and home on two more balks by Moore to take an 8-3 lead.

Despite trailing by five, a frustrated Slater nine refused to give in. The Wildcats put two runners on base on a single and a Fayette error to lead off the top of the fifth. Both would score on a one-out single by Tytan Wiseman to cut the lead to 8-5.

Down by three runs in the top of the seventh, the Wildcats led off with a single by Zeke Jewell and a walk by Chase Hemeyer. In the next at-bat, Hemeyer was picked off at first base by Fayette reliever Ledgyr Conrow for the second out of the inning.

With chances running out, Slater’s Klasing then singled to shallow center field to score Jewell from second base.

But the Wildcats would come no closer than two runs. A ground ball from Wiseman was fielded by Quint, who made the throw to Elliott at first base for the final out.

Fayette ace Payton Oeth allowed two earned runs on three hits and two errors and struck out five of the nine batters he faced in two innings. Reliever Ethan Bean picked up the win after allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Conrow earned the save after three runs (1 earned) on four hits and two walks in 3.2 innings pitched. 

“I’m really proud of our pitchers,” said Coach Oeth. “They kept us in it the whole game. I love it when a plan comes together.”

Coach Oeth planned to pitch by committee in order to save his two key starters, Payton Oeth and Ethan Bean, for the next two games. 

“We wanted to be able to have Peyton for Friday, we wanted to be able to have Ethan for Friday, and we wanted to be able to save Ledgyr so we could use him either tomorrow or Friday,” he said. “So we kept everybody under their limits. I was really excited about how the pitching worked out. They got us plays, and our guys made plays behind them.”

Fayette plated eight runs on eight hits but recorded only one RBI on the day, a sacrifice groundout from Ethan Bean in the bottom of the third. Bean finished 1-for-3 with a run scored. 

Sophomore Caleb Craig had the only multi-hit game for Fayette, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Junior Kaleb Friebe delivered the Falcons’ only extra-base hit, a leadoff double in the bottom of the first. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Quint finished 1-for-4 with a run scored. Oeth was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and was hit by a pitch. Elliott scored two runs in a 1-for-4 performance. Freshman center fielder Parker LaValley rounded out the hitting, going 1-for-4.

Slater outhit Fayette 10-8, highlighted by an RBI-triple from Moore in the top of the second.

Moore also started the game for the Wildcats, allowing eight unearned runs off six hits and three walks. He struck out seven batters in four innings on the mound.

Slater finished with seven errors on the day, compared to just one for a Fayette defense that has been tightening up over the last several games. The Falcons turned two double plays on the night.

“A team being able to affect the double play shows maturity because there are so many small skills that have to happen,” Oeth said. “To be able to do that a couple of times, and the way that they did them, was a lot of fun.”

Oeth said earning the first win was a relief and bodes well for team morale. “It’s huge. To be able to overcome the adversity and to be able to accept being bad for a minute in order to be good later. That’s the patience that a great athlete has. This will hopefully give them a little boost that can show them we can win ball games.”

Fayette 6

Glasgow 5

The next day, Fayette won its first road game, edging out a struggling Glasgow team 6-5.

After allowing one run each in the bottom of the first and second, Fayette tied the game with two runs in the top of the third and jumped ahead 6-4 with a four-run fourth inning. The Yellowjackets answered with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to finish the game down one run.

“We really were able to do some things well, defensively,” Oeth said. “We were able to do a lot of things well at the plate. We put a lot of balls and play and moved a lot of guys over. Then, it was just really fine execution by our guys on our game plan.”

Glasgow shortstop Bronson Foster led off the bottom of the first inning with a fly ball to left field for a double. He advanced to third on a wild pitch from Fayette starter Thomas Elliott, then scored on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Nathan Prentzler.

The Jackets struck again in the bottom of the second. Trivan Himmelberg got things started with a one-out single on a fly ball to left. He advanced to second on a groundout by Jonah Barringhaus, then scored on a line-drive double to right field by nine-hole hitter Kaden Carmack. 

After going scoreless through the first trip through the lineup, Fayette tied the game with two runs in the third on four straight hits. Junior Kaleb Friebe opened the inning with a triple on a long fly ball to right field. Thaddeus Quint drove in Friebe with an RBI-single to left. After advancing to third on a double from sophomore Payton Oeth, Quint crossed the plate on a single from Elliott to tie the game at two runs apiece.

More power-hitting allowed Fayette to break the game open in the top of the fourth. With one out, sophomore Austin Kunze laid down a two-base hit with a line-drive shot to right field. He advanced to third on an infield single by Friebe. 

Quint drove in his second run of the game with a fly-ball single to right to score Kunze from third. Later in the inning, with two outs, Oeth hit a hard ground-ball single to left to score Quint from second base.

Down by two runs, Yellowjackets reliever Anthony Westhues plunked two batters to load the bases. That would come back to haunt him when sophomore Ethan Bean doubled on a fly ball to right field to score Oeth and Elliott.

Despite a rough fourth inning, Westhues allowed only two more base runners. One reached on an error, and another advanced to first after the batter was hit by a pitch. 

Offensively, the Jackets answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Jackson Strodtman singled on an infield pop fly. He would eventually score on back-to-back infield errors by the Falcon defense. Another error allowed courtesy runner Jaden DeMint to score from third base and cut the Fayette lead to two runs, 6-4.

A hit batsman turned into another run for Glasgow in the bottom of the sixth. Foster was plunked to start the inning and later scored from first on a fly-ball double to center field by Strodtman to make the score 6-5. 

Down by one in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Fayette reliever Kaleb Friebe allowed a single and issued a walk but earned all three outs by way of strikeouts to earn the save in a 6-5 decision.

Elliott won his first start on the mound this season. He allowed five runs (3 earned) off eight hits and a walk and struck out three in six innings. Friebe mopped things up in the seventh with one hit and a walk with three strikeouts.

“I was pleased about our pitching,” Oeth said. “We had Thomas Elliott pitch, who has not gotten a start on the mound this year. He really did a fantastic job. He pitched six good innings and kept us in the game. He threw a lot of strikes, and he was able to get us to a point where we put Kaleb Friebe in to close in the seventh. And he just did a fantastic job.”

Offensively, Fayette showed power with 11 hits, four of which went for extra bases. Friebe had a superb night, finishing 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Bean and Quint drove in two runs apiece. Bean finished 2-for-4 with a double. Batting second, Quint went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. 

Payton Oeth went 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI, and one run scored.

Elliott, Craig, and Kunze finished with one hit each. Kunze had a double and run scored. Elliott scored one run.

Strodtman got the start for Glasgow and pitched three solid innings, allowing two earned runs off six hits with three strikeouts.

“Strodtman threw a lot of strikes, and we were able to really time those,” Oeth said. “He’s a really fantastic pitcher.”

Anthony Westhues took the loss for Glasgow. pitching the final four innings, he allowed four earned runs off five hits and struck out four. Neither Yellowjacket pitcher issued a walk.

Fayette played its third game in three days on Friday, falling 12-2 to conference powerhouse Westran in six innings. Fayette committed five errors on the night. Ethan Bean took the loss on the mound, having allowed nine runs, none of them earned, on four hits with five walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched. Freshman Ledgyr Conrow allowed three runs (2 earned) on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in two innings.

On Monday, the Falcons made the long trip to Knox County. Both teams entered the game with records of 2-9. But it was not Fayette’s night. The Falcons led 2-1 until Knox Co. senior Robert Dooley drove in two runs on a ground ball to left field in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off victory.

Fayette has a couple of welcomed days off before returning home to face a tough Harrisburg team at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Glasgow, now 1-7 overall, fell at home to Tipton 11-3 in the second game of a four-game homestand on Monday. The Jackets were to host Higbee after the Advertiser went to press on Tuesday, then host Sturgeon at 5 p.m. on Friday.


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