Fenwick overcomes defensive miscues to hand CJ first loss

Fenwick’s Alan Nix gets a piece of the ball during Monday’s game against visiting Chaminade Julienne. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Fenwick’s Alan Nix gets a piece of the ball during Monday’s game against visiting Chaminade Julienne. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The first Greater Catholic League Coed Division win of Chris Stratton’s head coaching career didn’t come in a neatly wrapped package.

But he was still glad to have it.

Fenwick High School’s baseball team overcame six errors and fought off visiting Chaminade Julienne 10-8 on Monday, handing the Eagles their first loss of the season.

“That’s not the way you want to win GCL games, but obviously we’ll take the W,” said Stratton, whose squad improved to 6-3 overall and 1-2 in the GCLC North Division.

“It was up and down, peaks and valleys for sure. I told the boys, ‘We booted it around a lot, but I’m proud of you for sticking with it and grinding.’ You’re going to have those days, and we were fortunate to come out on top.”

PHOTOS: Nick Graham’s gallery from the game

Keegan Corbett and Brad Davenport drove in two runs apiece for the Falcons. Jared Kauffman, Jake Schaefer, Thomas Vogelsang and C.J. Napier all added RBIs.

Zach Lorei allowed nine hits and four runs in five innings to pick up the victory. Connor Hayek gave up four unearned runs in the sixth, and Kauffman earned a save with a scoreless seventh.

“The bottom half of the lineup was coming up, so I knew I just had to throw strikes,” said Kauffman, a senior shortstop making his 2017 mound debut. “I have complete confidence in the entire team behind me.”

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Chaminade Julienne’s Cameron Benoit beats the throw to Fenwick third baseman Jake Schaefer during Monday’s game at Fenwick. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Chaminade Julienne’s Cameron Benoit beats the throw to Fenwick third baseman Jake Schaefer during Monday’s game at Fenwick. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Chaminade Julienne’s Cameron Benoit beats the throw to Fenwick third baseman Jake Schaefer during Monday’s game at Fenwick. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Eagles (5-1, 2-1) did get a base runner in the seventh thanks to an error, but Kauffman recorded two strikeouts and retired leadoff hitter Mark Barhorst on a fly ball to end the game.

“Baseball’s a very contagious game. Hitting-wise and defensive-wise, it snowballs,” Kauffman said. “The one thing with winning teams is they learn how to control that and stop the bleeding before it gets out of hand. We did that today.”

Stratton said Kauffman will likely be Fenwick’s closer this season. The Falcons simply didn’t need him on the hill until Monday.

“I’m confident with my talent on the mound,” said Kauffman, who was 1-1 with two saves and a 1.50 earned run average in 9.1 innings last year. “I feel that I can come in and closer the door when I need to.”

Alan Nix, R.J. Clesceri, Schaefer and Davenport each collected two hits for Fenwick against CJ hurlers Daniel Slaybaugh, Andrew Simones and Garrett Wissman.

The Eagles made three errors and got nothing out of a bases-loaded-and-nobody-out situation in the third, lining into a double play and getting a runner picked off.

“That kind of killed our spirit a little bit,” CJ coach Mike Barhorst said. “It was not a pretty game, that’s for sure. They made a lot of errors and we made a lot of errors … I think we made more mental errors than they did. We kept battling back. We just didn’t find the holes when we needed them.”

David Ernst (three hits, three RBIs) and Cameron Benoit (three hits, RBI) paced the Eagles’ offense. Mark Barhorst also plated two runs.

The Falcons have captured four straight North championships. They lost to CJ 2-0 last Friday, and another defeat Monday would’ve been a major blow to Fenwick’s title hopes.

“I didn’t want to overstate it and make the kids too tight before the game, but yes, it would’ve been tough to dig out of an 0-3 hole in the GCL,” Stratton said.

He believes this team has the ability to compete for a league crown and Division II postseason success.

“Out of our six wins, four have been against Division I schools,” Stratton said. “I feel we can hang with anybody. We’ve just got to make sure we cut down on the mental mistakes.”

“We’re starting to piece things together,” Kauffman said. “Come tournament time, I feel that we’re going to be a top contender for districts, regional, even state.”

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Fenwick’s Keegan Corbett is out at second base as Chaminade Julienne shortstop Ryan Peltier unsuccessfully tries to turn a double play during Monday’s game at Fenwick. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Fenwick’s Keegan Corbett is out at second base as Chaminade Julienne shortstop Ryan Peltier unsuccessfully tries to turn a double play during Monday’s game at Fenwick. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
Fenwick’s Keegan Corbett is out at second base as Chaminade Julienne shortstop Ryan Peltier unsuccessfully tries to turn a double play during Monday’s game at Fenwick. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Stratton was the Falcons’ junior varsity coach the last four seasons. He was elevated to the top position after Pete Maus stepped down.

Said Kauffman: “A couple of players, me included, went to the AD and told him, ‘We want this guy as our coach. We’ve known him, he’s got a laid-back approach, we have a team that’s tight, and we feel that we’re going to merge together as a team really well if he’s the coach.’ ”

Both teams are scheduled to play Tuesday. Fenwick will host Badin for the completion of a suspended game (it’s 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth), while the Eagles travel to Oakwood.

CJ 220-004-0—8-12-3

Fenwick 302-041-x—10-11-6

WP — Zach Lorei (1-0); LP — Daniel Slaybaugh (2-1); S — Jared Kauffman (1). Records: C 5-1, 2-1 GCLC North; F 6-3, 1-2 GCLC North

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Fenwick’s Jared Kauffman throws a pitch en route to earning a save during Monday’s game against visiting Chaminade Julienne. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Fenwick’s Jared Kauffman throws a pitch en route to earning a save during Monday’s game against visiting Chaminade Julienne. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
Fenwick’s Jared Kauffman throws a pitch en route to earning a save during Monday’s game against visiting Chaminade Julienne. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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