FAIRFIELD — Lakota West High School coach Brad Gschwind summed up a night of good — unfinished — high school baseball on Wednesday.
“We had two teams competing,” said Gschwind, whose Firebirds battled against Greater Miami Conference rival Fairfield in a 3-3 contest before lack of sunlight halted things after eight innings at Joe Nuxhall Field.
“Two good teams in a GMC conference game — it doesn’t get much more fun than that. They go up, and we capitalize on a couple mistakes. We capitalize on some things. We’ve got two good pitchers out there. Two good bullpens.”
The Indians were on their way out to the field to start the top of the ninth, but at around 7:30 p.m., the umpires made the decision to stop play.
Both coaches agreed.
“It’s the early part of the season — everybody would have loved to (finish),” Gschwind said. “It is getting dark, and you want to finish it under the right circumstances. Not when the sun is going down.”
The game will be picked back up on Tuesday when both teams had the day off.
“You’ve got a great high school baseball game the first week of the season. At any moment, the sun is going to drop,” Fairfield coach Tommy Begley said. “It’s not fair to these kids on both sides to let the sunlight go, and then all of a sudden one team is hitting in the dark. It’s too good of a game. Let’s come back and finish when you’ve got plenty of time and sunlight, because both teams deserve that.”
Firebirds senior Jacob Asbeck led the game off with a double to the left-center wall. He scored on an overthrow to third during a steal attempt to give Lakota West a 1-0 lead.
Fairfield junior Noah Wagster laced a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth and advanced to third on a pickoff attempt at first that got away. Junior Logan Sneed’s sac-fly scored Wagster to tie it up.
Indians senior Connor Raquet blooped a one-out single into right in the bottom of the fourth, and sophomore Nick McKenna laid a sacrifice bunt down to move Raquet to second. Wagster drilled a two-out triple to left, scoring Raquet. Then Wagster came across the plate on a wild pitch to give Fairfield a 3-1 advantage.
Lakota West (0-1) tied it up the following inning. Sophomore Landon Holt walked and went to second on a sec bunt from sophomore Krishan Zoeller. Holt went to third on a passed ball and scored on a Max Rogers ground out to bring the Firebird deficit to 3-2. Junior Cooper Taylor doubled to bring home junior Jacob Stauffer, who singled, to tie it up.
“The way they competed, the way they fought and the way they hit balls — we just kept coming,” Gschwind said. “The aggressiveness and the competitiveness, I’m happy with the way our kids competed tonight.”
Both sides enjoyed strong pithing performances from start to finish.
Fairfield starter and junior Jacob Boland hurled four innings and struck out three batters before senior Josh Isaacs came in the rest of the way. Isaacs fanned four in four innings of work.
Lakota West got stellar outings from starting sophomore pitcher Adrian Smith, and senior Grady Kehr and junior Kyle Binder, who came in on relief. They combined to strike out eight Fairfield (1-0) hitters.
“We saw some pretty good arms, so we didn’t hit as well as we had liked,” Begley said. “But I think you have to tip your cap to who you saw on the mound. I think we’re going to hit all year long. Every GMC game is tough throughout the league, especially when it comes to baseball.
“I think we’re going to be a good team. I think we’re going to be a tough opponent every single day.”
Lakota West hosts Middletown today, while Fairfield travels to Oak Hills on Friday.