KETTERING — Alex Bemis separated from a long embrace in right field with Monroe High School baseball coach Ed Beck and fellow senior teammates Brady Heagan and Aiden Sargent.
“We never backed down from a challenge,” Bemis said with a somber grin. “We loved playing these bigger schools. We loved proving ourselves.”
The Hornets reached the district semifinals in their first-ever season at the Division I level before suffering a 5-0 loss to eighth-ranked Fairmont on Tuesday.
“We went into the season with the mentality that nothing was too big for us,” Beck said. “We went at it from that perspective all year.”
Beck said his Hornets (20-8) were quick to set a positive tone to the season by winning their first three games at home and then going 3-1 during a spring break Florida trip.
“We started the motto: ‘Win the week,’” said Beck, who wrapped up his fourth season at the Monroe helm. “We won every week this year except this one.”
Fairmont junior starting pitcher Stevie Doty (7-0) went six innings on the mound and struck out six in a two-hit performance.
“Stevie tossed a great game,” Firebirds coach Matt Adams said. “It’s hard for anyone to get going against him.”
Doty said his changeup seemed to be working best. Joe Tarin and Tyler Gannon were the only two Monroe batters that reached on base hits against the right-hander.
“I just wanted to take control,” said Doty, the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s strikeout leader. “This was a must-win game. We don’t want to stop playing. It’s all for the seniors right now, and hopefully we go even further.”
Fairmont (23-5) has won 11 out of its last 13 and will take on top-ranked Moeller at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Lebanon Middle School.
Doty also helped himself at plate, going 3 for 3 with a walk, run scored and an RBI. Gabe Ledbetter was 2 for 4 with a run.
The Firebirds scattered their runs across the plate throughout the game — getting a run in the second inning, another in the fourth, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
“When my teammates get behind me 100%, and go up five runs, it’s pretty easy to go out there and pitch,” Doty said. “It makes stuff way easier.”
Lane Coulter came in to close it out on the mound for Fairmont. Bemis (5-2) got the start for Monroe and pitched four innings and gave up two earned runs on five hits.
“I think this was an eye-opener for everyone else in the area,” Bemis said. “Coach Beck has done a phenomenal job of turning the program around. For us to come out this year and put it to teams, I think it was a lot of fun. I’m so grateful to have my coaching staff and my teammates with me the whole way.”
BADIN 10, READING 0, 6 INNS.
HAMILTON — Justin Hoevel tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout with five strikeouts to lead Badin to a Division II district semifinal victory over Reading on Tuesday at Alumni Field.
Chase Luebbe (2 for 3, 3 runs), Kyle Anderson (2 for 3, RBI), Brycen Fox (triple, 2 RBI), Lucas Moore (1 for 3, 2 runs), Rodney Rachel (1 for 3, 2 RBI, run) and Kade Bowling (1 for 3, 2 RBI, run) contributed on offense for Badin.
The Rams (27-1), who have won eight in a row, move on to face Springfield Kenton Ridge in a district final on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Arcanum.
FRANKLIN 3, BELLBROOK 1
BELLBROOK — Jordan Hipsher tossed a complete game and struck out nine to help Franklin capture a Division II district semifinal victory on Tuesday.
Hipsher, Kevin Denry, Connor Monk and Bryce Swoll had two hits apiece to lead the Wildcats at the plate.
Franklin (18-11) has won seven out of its last eight and will face CHCA in a district final on Thursday at 5 p.m.at Middletown.
LEBANON 2, KINGS 1, 10 INN.
LEBANON — Trey Hicks knocked in Cameron Coleman across the plate in the 10th inning, and Colton Hartman tossed a complete game with 11 strikeouts as Lebanon knocked off Kings in a Division I district semifinal on Tuesday.
The Warriors (21-8) have won five in a row and play Elder in the district finals at Princeton at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
INDIAN HILL 3, FENWICK 1
CINCINNATI — Fenwick saw its season come to a close in a Division II district semifinal loss to Indian Hill on Tuesday.
Carson Sova pitched six innings and struck out five for the Falcons.
Joey Maier (1 for 3, double, run), Matt Hensley (1 for 3, RBI), Caleb Hartman (1 for 2) and Abram Grandstaff (1 for 4) contributed at the plate for Fenwick.
The Falcons (17-12) graduate seniors Robby Adams, Jaret Capozzi, Ethan Harbin, Matt Hensley, Nick Lumpkins, Joey Maier, Nolan Richardson, Landon Schehr and Lake Von Bargen.