HAMILTON — The Fairfield High School baseball team scrapped together a couple first-inning runs Wednesday night against Greater Miami Conference rival Hamilton.
Aaron England enjoyed the insurance.
England tossed a one-hitter and struck out 15 in six innings of work, and the Indians won their 11th in a row with a 4-0 victory over the Big Blue at Hamilton’s Stang Field.
“Coming out early and getting two runs in the first inning, then coming out and getting three or four straight zeros (on defense), it just sets the tone,” England said. “It gets me going for the rest of the game whether we need runs or not.”
Two of the conference’s best pitchers — England and Hamilton junior Clint Moak — went at it on Wednesday.
England (5-1), a Louisville commit, hasn’t given up an earned run all season, and the junior left-hander upped his strikeout total to a GMC-leading 73.
“I’ve always been a strikeout pitcher,” England said. “This offseason, I’ve been working heavily on the changeup. I’ve been trying to incorporate it, but it hasn’t been doing a lot. I’ve just been working with the fastball and my curveball.”
England also helped himself at the plate, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. Brady Black went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Noah Wagster walked three times and scored twice for the Indians.
“When you go to Fairfield, or when you go to Hamilton, you know this is a series you look forward to every year,” Fairfield coach Tommy Begley said. “A lot of these kids know each other. I heard them talking between innings as they were coming off the field and coming on the field.”
The Indians (15-4, 12-4 GMC) took advantage of a couple Big Blue (7-12, 6-10) defensive miscues in the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead.
Moak (2-4), a Marshall commit, walked an uncharacteristic seven batters and recorded seven strikeouts in five innings before handing things over to sophomore Kaleb Powers the final two innings.
Junior Nick Brosius accounted for Hamilton’s only hit — a two-out single in the second inning.
“I saw them play better than us today,” Big Blue coach Joey Lewis said. “(England) was better on the mound. We weren’t up to it at the plate, and we struggled throwing strikes when we needed to throw strikes. That’s what happens. You lose when you don’t do those things.”
Hamilton lost four out of its last five heading into its Thursday home game against Lakota West.
“We’re fighting every game to try to get a victory,” Lewis said. “We’ve got to get better at the plate, or we’re going to struggle to win from here on out.”
The Indians took the momentum into their Thursday game at Middletown.
“If you analyze our team from the outside looking in, you’ll notice that our pitching is definitely pretty good,” Begley said. “We’ve got some arms that we know are going to keep us in games. If we score three or four runs, we feel pretty good about the outcome that day.”
Indians enjoying recent success
Fairfield is off to its best start since the 2017 season, when it went 16-3 after 19 games.
“We have great times in the dugout,” England said. “The last week or two with these 11 wins, the bottom of our lineup and the top of our lineup have been able to mesh — unlike earlier in the season.”
Begley said his Indians are eyeing the 20-win mark, which would send them into the postseason the way they want.
“When we were 4-4 on the season, that’s when we started to trust our pitching. The bats started to relax,” Begley said. “We’ve had clutch hits instead of pressuring ourselves a bit and stressing out in the box.
“I think everyone has gotten better. I think our guys appreciate this team and want to do well for this team. I can’t say that it’s the case for every high school team. Some players from other schools are probably looking at their summer ball schedule. Not this squad. Not our group.”
Begley adds to coaching victory milestone
Begley notched his 200th coaching victory when Fairfield beat Middletown 6-0 last Friday.
The Indians coach is in his seventh season at the helm.“This is probably one of the looser groups that we’ve had,” said Begley, who now has 202 victories. “They work hard. I think it’s a little bit of everything why this has been going so well.”