Hamilton Joes sit atop standings: ‘Everyone on this team plays their part’

HAMILTON — The city of Hamilton fireworks blasted off high above the Great Miami River on the Fourth of July.

It was a fitting end to a Thursday night at Foundation Field for the Hamilton Joes.

Braxton Baird knocked in Brayden Fraasman with the game-winning run to beat the Xenia Scouts 6-5 in a Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League showdown.

“Up and down the whole lineup, we have guys,” Joes manager Tyler Thamann said. “No matter who we put in the lineup each day, I have faith in every single guy that they’re going to go out and perform.”

The Hamilton Joes have won nine of their last 10, are tops in the GLSCL at 21-6 and clinched the league’s first playoff berth by winning one of two games in a doubleheader against the Michigan Monarchs on Saturday.

The Joes have won four GLSCL championships (2010, 2016, 2021, 2022). They fell to Xenia in the South Division Playoff Series in 2023, finishing 21-17.

“The initial culture, right away, the guys are together from day one,” said Thamann, a former player who is in his fourth year at the helm. “They came together right away. I knew right away after seeing that, that we were going to have a great team — performing on the field and backing each other up.

“They want to play hard for each other, and that’s bigger than playing for their school that they come from.”

Fraasman, a 2022 Ross graduate who plays at North Carolina State, said competing with the Joes this summer was an exciting move after spending time in Canada’s Northwoods League on the Thunder Bay Border Cats.

“My parents get to come watch me play every game,” Fraasman said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. The past summer I was away, and for school ball, I am away. They don’t get to watch me a lot. I just thought it was best if I came back home to be around family and have some fun this summer.”

Fraasman has seen time in the outfield for the Joes and leads the team with a .379 batting average. Ryan Novak sits second batting .373 and leads the league with 27 RBIs.

“I think we’re just seeing it well,” Fraasman said. “We’re playing good D. I think our pitchers are doing a very good job of pitching to get outs and not pitching to strike people out. That’s the biggest thing is that our pitchers are getting outs, and we’re making plays. At the plate, we’re looking for our pitch and driving it.

“Everyone on this team plays their part,” Fraasman added. “We couldn’t have done this without everybody on this team. This is a team effort. Everybody on this team has a lot of fight. That’s why we win a lot of games.”

Carson Brower and William Stultz each have three wins on the mound, while Cooper Fiehrer has a team-best 3.13 earned run average.

“I think we’ve got a really close team,” said Fiehrer, a 2022 Badin graduate who plays at Marietta College. “We’re playing with guys who we’re really tight with. We just come out and have fun every day — day after day.

“This is a very competitive team. It’s one of the most competitive summer teams I’ve ever been a part of. Everybody is fighting tooth and nail to get on the field and compete on the field.”

Thamann said the recipe for success this season has been the team’s ability to connect with one another.

“When I talk to them, the biggest thing is communication,” Thamann said. “They have to tell me if they’re feeling good and that they’re going to perform at a 100-percent level. Otherwise, we have our second guy. The one thing I care about is, ‘Are you going to be able to perform at a 100-percent effort level.’ Once they give that, we’re going to win games.

“From day one, one of the biggest things that I told them is that we have to finish plays. Until time is called, we finish the play. We take extra bags. Stuff like that helps us win. That stuff goes a long way.”

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