In the 53-year history of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, Fairfield and Eastern Brown are the two winningest softball programs. Fairfield has 23 conference titles and Eastern has 17.
The two stalwarts, the top two teams in the SHAC Division I standings, faced off against each other Tuesday at Eastern Brown with the FHS Lady Lions coming from behind in dramatic fashion to lock up a 12-11 victory.
Fairfield improved to 5-2 in the SHAC and 8-4 overall while Eastern Brown slipped to 4-4 in the SHAC and 4-6 overall.
Eastern junior pitcher Gracie Prewitt was brilliant through the first three innings allowing only two base runners, no hits, and no runs while the Eastern offense scored four runs in the first inning, three runs in the second inning, and two unearned runs in the third inning to take a commanding 9-0 lead.
Fairfield freshman pitcher Rilee Quickle entered the game after 1 1/3 innings in relief of starter Katelyn Chambliss.
In the top of the fourth inning, Fairfield’s offense came to life in a big way, erupting for nine runs to tie the score.
Quickle broke up Prewitt’s no-hitter with a single up the middle. Jobey Hattan followed with a walk and Sydney Sanders singled up the middle to score Quickle. Faith Miller also singled up the middle to score Hattan. One out later, Chambliss reached on a walk and Addison Bales followed with a bases loaded single up the middle to drive in Sanders and Miller. Carly Sanders reached on a fielder’s choice and Sydney Hooper was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Quickle cleared the bases to knock in three runs with a single to right center field. Hattan stepped to the plate and tie the score 9-9 with one swing of the bat, blasting a home run over the right center field fence.
Quickle shutout the Eastern batters in the fourth and fifth innings on just one hit.
Fairfield took a 10-9 lead with a run in the top of the sixth inning. With one out Carly Sanders was safe on an error. Hooper follow with a bunt single and when the throw was wild at first base, Carly Sanders scored all the way from first base.
Eastern rallied to score a run and tie the score 10-10 with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, center fielder Hooper came up the defensive play of the game. Eastern’s Olivia Shelton hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in dead center field and Hooper raced back to make the catch and end the inning.
Miller beat out an infield grounder for a single to lead off the top of the seventh inning for Fairfield. Emmi Vance laid down a perfect bunt for a single and when the rushed throw was wild at first base Miller scored all the way from first and Vance ended up standing on third base. Chambliss then launched a deep fly ball to the right fielder for a sacrifice fly as the Lady Lions took a 12-10 lead into the bottom of the seventh and final inning.
But the Lady Warriors were not done. Alyssa Perkins was safe on an error to lead off the bottom of the inning. Quickle retired the next batter on a fly ball to right field. Tabby Schumacher grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out, but an errant throw to first base attempting a double play advanced Schumacher to second base. Allie Grooms then singled to center field to drive in Schumacher, but Fairfield’s Hooper wisely threw the ball to second base, keeping Grooms at first. Quickle then enticed the next Eastern hitter to hit a ground ball back to the circle to end the game and give the Lady Lions a 12-11 win.
Leading hitters for the Fairfield Lady Lions: Hooper (1 for 3, 1 run), Quickle (2 for 4, 2 runs, 3 RBI), Hattan (1 for 2, home run, 2 walks, 2 runs, 2 RBI, Sydney Sanders (1 for 4, 1 run, 1 RBI), Miller (2 for 4, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Vance (1 for 4, 1 run, 1 RBI), Chambliss (1 for 2, walk, sac fly, 1 run, 1 RBI), Bales (1 for 4, 1 run, 2 RBI), and Carly Chambliss (0 for 4, 2 runs).
Quickle (2-0) was the winning pitcher in relief of Chambliss. In 5.6 innings Quickle allowed four runs (none earned) on five and two walks while striking out two.
In 1.3 innings, Chambliss allowed seven runs (four earned) on three hits and four walks while striking out four.
Allie Grooms (1-3) suffered the loss for Eastern in relief of Prewitt. In two innings Grooms allowed three runs (none earned) on four and one walk while striking out three. In five innings Prewitt’s allowed nine earned run on six hits and two walks while striking out six.
Unioto 9, Fairfield 7
Two days later Fairfield was back on the road again as it travelled to No. 2 ranked Unioto in Chillicothe where another rally came up short in a 9-7 loss.
It was a 3-2 game through two innings, but Unioto took a 7-2 lead heading into the sixth inning. Fairfield, however, scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the score 7-7. But Unioto scored two runs in its half of the sixth inning for the win.
Hooper reached base on an infield hit to lead off the game. Quickle laid down a sacrifice bunt, but was safe on infield error. Hattan followed with single. With two outs, Miller singled to drive in the first run and Vance singled to drive in the second run.
In the top of the sixth inning, Fairfield’s Chambliss led off with a base hit up the middle. Gwen Cox entered the game as a pinch runner for Chambliss. On out later, Bales laced a single to center field advancing Cox to third base. Hooper singled to drive in Cox. Quickle stepped to the plate and hit home run over the left field fence to make the score 7-6. Hattan followed with a single and Sydney Sanders followed with another single as Hattan raced to third base and Sanders advanced to second base on the throw to third base. Miller then hit a sacrifice fly to left field as Hattan scored the tying run.
Leading hitters for the Fairfield Lady Lions: Hooper (3 for 4, 1 run, 1 RBI), Quickle (1 for 3, sac bunt, home run, 2 runs, 3 RBI), Hattan (2 for 4, 2 runs), Sydney Sanders (2 for 4), Miller (0 for 3, sac fly, 1 RBI), Vance (2 for 4, 1 RBI), Chambliss (2 for 4), Bales (2 for 4, 1 run), and Carly Sanders (1 for 4).
Quickle (2-1) suffered the loss. In six innings she allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 13 hits and three walks while striking out three.
Hannah Hull (15-1) was the winning pitcher. In seven innings she gave up seven runs (five earned) on 15 hits and no walks while striking out nine.
Information for this story was provided by Thomas E. Purtell, Fairfield softball.