Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | May 21, 2018

Lisk, Simpson lead Trojans to win

By ALLAN MANDELL, Ledger sports editor | Jun 22, 2017
Photo by: ALLAN MANDELL Fairfield’s Austin Simpson hits in the first inning against Muscatine. Simpson reached base in all four of his at-bats.



The host Fairfield Trojans were ahead of Muscatine, 9-6, in the top of the seventh inning on Wednesday.

The Muskies had runners on first and second, nobody out, and the tying run, Bryce Owen, entered the batter’s box.

Trojan head coach Josh Allison walked out to the mound. Allison has won 300 career games — with No. 300 coming on Monday.

Now, he wanted No. 301.

More importantly to Allison, he wanted the 2017 Trojans to get their 15th win.

Fairfield had jumped ahead of Muscatine 9-1 by the end of three frames.

But things were getting dicey at 9-6.

“It was getting a little nerve-wracking,” Allison said. “We were struggling a bit, not throwing enough strikes and missing a few plays in the field.”

Allison instructed right fielder Cade Lisk to take the mound.

“We needed to give Muscatine a different look,” Allison explained. “I had confidence Cade could throw strikes. He has confidence in what he’s doing.”

Lisk’s eyes were blazing with resoluteness.

“Most of my innings are closing situations,” said Lisk, a junior. “So I felt very confident I could close it out. I felt I could get the next three outs.”

The right-handed Lisk quickly worked right-handed batter Owen to a 1-2 count.

Allison then signaled for a fastball.

“Coach did call fastball but I changed it to a curveball because I felt very confident with my curveball,” Lisk said.

And Lisk fired that curve over the inside of the plate.

Owen swung and missed.

Strike three. One out.

Shaking off the boss, eh?

“Cade is an old enough pitcher now that if he has a feeling something will work and he wants to shake me off on a call, that’s fine,” Allison said.

With a smile, Allison added, “Now, if it was a freshman that shakes me off, well, that might have been a problem.”

Lisk still had a potential problem in front of him: Muscatine’s best hitter Nolan Osland stepped into the batter’s box.

Osland has an on-base percentage of .450 and batting average of .333, both team highs. In the third inning against Fairfield on Wednesday, he’d hit a double.

But Osland had an even bigger problem: Lisk.

Lisk worked the count to 0-2 and then delivered a nasty curveball.

Osland got his bat on the ball, driving a grounder to shortstop Cooper Drish.

Drish made a clean scoop and tossed to second base where second baseman Tristin Waugh made the quick putout. Then Waugh fired over to first baseman Austin Simpson, completing the double play.

Game over.

“He’s Mariano Rivera, that’s Cade Lisk,” Simpson said. “He comes in, gets the saves. He’s clutch. He’s the guy.”

Lisk tipped his cap to his infielders.

“That was a great double play Cooper and T (Waugh) made,” he said.

The 9-6 win upped Fairfield’s season record to 15-7. Muscatine fell to 11-11.

The Trojans led 3-0 after one inning and 6-0 after two frames.

Left-handed batter Simpson was the offensive star of the game, hitting three singles, drawing a walk and driving in three runs.

“I was just being patient tonight,” he said. “I had been jumping at the ball too many times. (Assistant) Coach (Jeff) Eeeling told me to just get my pitch, instead of trying to hit everything.”

Said Allison, “Austin is understanding now that if they want to throw it outside to him, just go with it, get a good stick on it. He had been through a funk where he was trying to pull everything — now he’s going with it wherever it’s pitched.

“Opposing pitchers can see he’s a strong kid and they look at his stats, so they want to throw it away from him.”

Those stats should induce fear in opposing pitchers.

In 2017, Simpson has a slugging percentage of .681, batting average of .444, four homers, 34 RBIs and 32 hits — all team highs.

“And not just with Austin,” said Allison, “we want all our hitters to be patient.”

On Wednesday, Trojan Kosta Papazoglou had a double, single and RBI, and teammate Hunter Hoskins reached base in all four of his plate appearances: an RBI single, two walks and hit-by-pitch.

Waugh and teammate Brian Buch each hit an RBI single, and Lisk also singled.

Also for Fairfield, Cam Baumann and Brandon Smithburg each had a hit.

Pitcher Caden Jones got the start for Fairfield, earning the win with four solid innings, striking out two and yielding only two earned runs.

“Caden was awesome,” Simpson said. “He was getting ahead in the count. He had his fastball and curve working.”

As for the game itself, Simpson said, “We were rolling at first tonight, and should have kept it going — but we’re doing fine.”













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