FAIRBORN — It was a battle of two evenly matched teams when Xenia visited Greater Western Ohio Conference rival Fairborn, Monday at Skyhawk Stadium, and the pitchers were the stars of the show. In a game with few hits and even fewer runs, the Buccaneers were able to take advantage of a few key mistakes to get the 3-0 win.
Junior Kyle Keeton took the mound first for the Skyhawks (10-13, 1-8 GWOC). Xenia’s leadoff batter, Trevor Adkins, got a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Jordan Current. That would be the only run in the game for five innings. Keeton gave up seven hits, but continued to escape without giving up runs. He pitched a complete game and struck out eight batters with only one walk.
“Kyle Keeton pitched one heck of a game,” said Fairborn coach Josh Patrick. “The kid’s coming out and sticking his neck out on the line for us and getting the job done on the mound every time he steps out there. Unfortunately we don’t seem to bring our bats on the days he’s out there. Sometimes it seems like a coin toss - we’re one of the best hitting teams around and sometimes we’re one of the worst. Today, we didn’t show our bats.”
Junior Austin Newell pitched for Xenia (12-13, 2-7 GWOC) and was successful at keeping the Skyhawks off the bases. He pitched a complete game and gave up only four hits in the shutout. He fanned eight and walked three.
“I think he threw 119 pitches,” said Xenia coach Barry Claus. “I thought it was a gutsy performance. He didn’t have command, and then he had command, and I was proud of him.
“Ninety five pitches in the sixth inning, he said he was going back out there and he had a great inning. I hate to run a kid out there with that many pitches, but it was a gutsy gutsy performance against a quality opponent.”
In the fifth inning, a couple Fairborn fielding errors gave Xenia a chance to score two more runs. Blaise Denny got a base hit and was later scored off a single from Sterling Denny. Sterling was then brought home by Tyler McClanahan. McClanahan was big for the Bucs, going 3-for-3 on a day where hits were hard to come by.
Claus said that he thought the errors in the fifth were crucial in the game and game them the cushion they needed in a one-run game.
“I see two evenly matched teams. I thought the one error was big in our favor. We made a couple errors that didn’t haunt us. I think it’s going to be a battle the next two times we play them.”
Patrick said that while the errors didn’t help, they weren’t the reason Fairborn lost the game.
“We just flat didn’t hit the ball. We say errors come in bunches. We tell our guys that all the time. It doesn’t matter what level of baseball you look at, errors come in bunches. We’re asking these guys to forget about the errors and move on to the next pitch. It didn’t happen tonight,” he said.
In the fourth inning, the umpire had to leave after being hit in the hands by a baseball twice. Claus said that his team was a little worried how it might affect the outcome.
“It was kind of weird, the umpire got hurt and we had to change the umpire and we were a little concerned that the strike zone was going to change, but it was a well played game that could have gone either way. They’re well coached and they play well and I have a lot of respect for them,” he said. “Just a well pitched high school baseball game.
Fairborn will have a shot at redemption soon when the teams face each other at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Xenia High School. They were also matched up against each other in the first round of the Division I postseason tournament, set to start May 13 at Xenia High.