Prep baseball: Mills, Hamilton stay hot with GMC rout of Fairfield

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Big Blue went into Wednesday’s prep baseball border rivalry with visiting Fairfield hoping to build on the momentum of a three-game winning streak.

The visiting Indians were hoping to start building some of their own after losing four of their last five and eight of their last 10 games. Instead, between Alex Mills and their own defensive breakdowns, they lost 11-1 in a game shortened by the mercy rule to six innings.

Mills allowed just three hits and a run in six innings with four strikeouts and one walk while also hitting two batters. At the plate, the cleanup hitter went 4-for-4 to boost his Greater Miami Conference-leading batting average to .483 while driving in four runs, two in Hamilton’s three-run sixth that left the Big Blue with a game-ending 10-run lead. Mills scored the game-ending run on sophomore center fielder Devin Fath’s sacrifice fly.

Mills enjoyed his plate exploits more than his mound effort, he said.

“I like driving in runs,” the junior right-hander said. “The pitching was good too. I was locating my fastball.”

Mills’ four RBIs left him with nine over Hamilton’s last two games. He drove in five in the Big Blue’s 20-4 GMC win over Sycamore on Monday.

“He’s been really hot for us,” Big Blue coach Joey Lewis said. “He’s been pitching well and swinging the bat well.”

He could say the same thing — in fact, he pretty much did — about his entire team, which includes just one senior on its roster.

“We’ve been more consistent lately, offensively and defensively,” Lewis said. “We’ve been pitching better too, and when you can put those three things together, you can win some games.”

Mills is hoping the hot streak will lead to a higher GMC finish. The Big Blue moved into a three-way tie for third in the conference with a 9-7 record going into a scheduled rematch with Fairfield on Friday at Joe Nuxhall Field.

“I feel like we’re working together better as a team, and we have more communication,” Mills said.

The only cloud over Wednesday’s win, besides those that started dropping rain shortly after the game ended, was the injury suffered by Hamilton’s only senior, second baseman Payton Pennington, who left the game after spraining his left ankle on a play at first base in the sixth inning.

Hamilton grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when Pennington stole second with two outs and Mills delivered an RBI single to left on the next pitch.

The Indians tied the score in the second. Junior first baseman Jacob Sheriff led off with a double down the left-field line into the corner, went to third on sophomore catcher Will Sams’s ground out to first and scored on freshman right fielder Kayden Campbell’s seeing-eye single up the middle.

Hamilton regained the lead in the second without a hit. Fath drew a leadoff walk, stole second, went to third on sophomore left fielder Ranfis Gomez’s fly ball to center field and scored on junior designated hitter Alex Baker’s sacrifice fly to left field.

The Big Blue made it 3-1 in the third with the help of Fairfield’s defense. Mills came up with a ringing two-out double to the right-field fence, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error.

The Indians fell apart in the fourth inning, committing four errors and a balk as Hamilton sent nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs to break the game open.

Fairfield finished the game with six errors. Only two of the eight runs charged to senior right-hander Aidan Post were earned runs.

“Defensively, we kill ourselves,” Indians coach Tommy Begley said. “Defense hasn’t been an issue this year, but this game here — it’s a rivalry game, we made a couple of mistakes and it got out of control.”

Fairfield 010-000 —1-3-6

Hamilton 111-503—11-9-1

WP — Alex Mills (2-2); LP — Aidan Post (0-4). Records: F 7-14, 6-11 GMC; H 9-10, 9-7 GMC

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