The Fairfield Lady Lions Softball program has enjoyed a rich and storied history of excellence. Their resume includes eighteen (19) Southern Hills Athletic Conference Titles (seven in the last ten years), thirty (31) Sectional Championships (sixteen consecutive), nine (9) district championships (five in the last seven years), one regional trophy, and a state final four appearance in 1982. In 2015, for the first time in school history the Fairfield Lady Lions were voted No. 1 in Division IV in the Final Poll by the Ohio High School Fast Pitch Coaches Association.
The 2017 softball season was one of the best in school history for the Lady Lions. The 2017 Fairfield Lady Lions finished with an outstanding 20-2 record with an extremely tough schedule. Their only two losses were to the Division IV State Champion, Williamsburg, and the Division IV State Runner-Up, Danville. The Lady Lions would have impressive victories in the tournament over Western Latham, Racine Southern, and Peebles to win their third consecutive Southeast District Championship. No other Fairfield team has won three consecutive district titles in any sport. They moved on to upset No. 5 ranked Portsmouth Clay, before losing a hard fought game to Danville in the Regional Finals. Danville would go on to finish as the State runner-up. Fairfield finished as the undefeated Southern Hills Athletic Conference Champions, Sectional Champions, Southeast District Champions, and Regional Runners-up. The Fairfield Lady Lions graduated three seniors in 2017. Catcher Kourtnie Smith, centerfielder Sherry Heckathorn, and left fielder Shania Setty.
A veteran coaching staff returns to lead the Fairfield Lady Lions in 2018, head coach Mark Dettwiller enters his fifth year with a 76-16 record. Mark has been named the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Coach of the Year twice in his four years at Fairfield. Longtime assistant head coach Tom Purtell enters his twenty-fourth (24) year as the assistant head coach and begins his 51st year of coaching. Tom was inducted into the Times-Gazette Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. Former Lady Lion player Lesley (Shoemaker) Hattan serves as the Junior Varsity coach and is in her eighth (8th) year. Former McClain Lady Tiger and Shawnee State University softball player Kayla Overstake Dettwiller begins her fourth year with the Lady Lions coaching staff. Former Whiteoak Lady Wildcat Cindy Michael is in her third year as an assistant coach.
The coaching staff has high hopes for the 2018 Fairfield Lady Lions. Twenty-two (22) Lady Lion softball players have worked extremely hard to get ready for the season. They practice to be better every day. They chase perfection in hopes of attaining excellence. The coaches and athletic director have put together the toughest schedule the Fairfield Lady Lions have had to date. The schedule includes 26 varsity games and 18 junior varsity games. The Fairfield Lady Lions will field a very experienced team with six returning starting players. The Fairfield Lady Lions won their second consecutive undefeated SHAC conference title and have a 32 game consecutive game winning streak in the SHAC. The Lady Lions are seeking an unprecedented third undefeated conference title. Fairfield looks to add to their 16 consecutive Sectional Titles, and seek to become the first Fairfield team to win four consecutive Southeast District titles.
The Fairfield Lady Lions look to their seniors for leadership. Senior Emily Williams is a three year varsity starter, will play third base and catcher and bats fourth. Emily was an All SHAC player in 2016 and 2017, and was also selected to Southeast District Underclassman All Star Team in 2015 and 2016. Emily has been named Southeast District Honorable Mention in 2016 and 2017. Senior Carli Reiber is a two year varsity starter and bats second. Carli is the best second baseman and No. 2 hitter in the conference.
Junior pitcher Kaiti White has become one of the best pitchers in the SHAC and the Southeast District in just her second season in the circle for the Fairfield Lady Lions. Kaiti has won 20 games in each of her first two seasons. In 2017, Kaiti pitched eleven (11) shutouts with a 0.87 ERA and 191 strikeouts. Kaiti is also one of the top hitters on the team with a .514 average, 38 hits, 33 rbi, and .730 slugging percentage. Kaiti bats third in the lineup. Kaiti is an All SHAC player in 2016 and 2017 and was the Most Valuable Player of the SHAC in 2017. Kaiti was named a first team All-Southeast District player in 2016 and 2017. Kaiti White was also a first team All-State Player. Kaiti set a state record with 118 consecutive innings without a walk in 2016. Junior Lyndee Spargur is a two year varsity starter at first base and will bat leadoff. Lyndee lead the team in batting average (.516) in 2017. Lyndee was named to the All Southern Hills Athletic Conference team. Junior Lauren Arnold is also a two year varsity starter at third base and will move to the catcher’s position this season. Lauren will bat fifth in the lineup and lead the team in home runs (4) in 2017. Junior Megan Gragg is a two year varsity starter and will move to center field. Megan will bat seventh (7th) in the lineup and is also the backup pitcher. Junior Hayleigh Lowe looks to see action in the outfield, as a pinch runner, and pinch hitter.
Sophomore Molly Thackston will spend time at shortstop and in the outfield. Sophomore Ashley Sanderson is defensive specialist and a backup third baseman, first baseman, and outfielder. Sophomore Gracie Lawson adds depth to the varsity pitching staff and is a big bat off the bench. Her twin sister Taylor Lawson also adds depth to the varsity catching position and will also swing a big bat for the Lady Lions.
Senior Ashley Moore will enter her second season as a varsity player.
Fairfield Lady Lion rookie class is one of the largest and most talented in a long time. Sophomore Audrey Oder and nine freshman: Layla Hattan, Madison Fox, Megan Crum, Harley Flint, Allisa Hester, Jaden Smith, Morgan Sheridan, Allyce McBee, and Kiley Lamb. The rookies will definitely push and challenge the veterans for a few starting positions.
The Fairfield Lady Lions’ goals are simple. Win a Southern Hills Athletic Conference title, a Sectional Championship, and a Southeast District Championship. We expect to be in a position to win every game.
The Fairfield Lady Lions have won five Southeast District Championships in the last seven years (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).
Winning a third consecutive SHAC Championship will definitely be a challenge. In 2017, the SHAC proved their strength as a conference having advanced four teams to the district finals: Fayetteville, Eastern Brown, Peebles, and Fairfield. Only Fairfield would advance to the regional tournament. In Division I of the SHAC, look for Eastern Brown to finish on top. In Division II, look for Peebles and Fayetteville to challenge Fairfield for the top spot.
Tom Purtell is the Assistant coach for the Fairfield Lady Lions.
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