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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Trojans to face Solon again in substate final

By Justin Webster | Jul 17, 2018
Photo by: Photo submitted by Heidi Bowman Austin Simpson, left, Kosta Papazoglou, center, and Tristin Waugh, right, welcome Hunter Hoskins to home plate after the senior hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.

History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself or we’d always get the same results, but it is definitely cyclical and the Trojans cycle is about to cross paths with Solon the way it did in the substate final back in 2016. This will also be Fairfield’s third consecutive year playing for a trip to the state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines, having lost 11-1 versus Davenport Assumption last season and 6-4 to the Spartans two years ago.

 

Iowa City Liberty

Fairfield took an early 2-0 lead when senior Hunter Hoskins ripped the stitches off a first-pitch fastball.

“I just wanted to keep the inning going and move the runner over,” said Hoskins who continued, “I just made good contact and I pretty much knew it was gone right when I hit it.”

After cutting the Trojans lead in half with a run in the third, Liberty freshman T.J. Kimm hit a two-run double that scored sophomore Cayden Duhaime and freshman Keian Secrist, giving the Lightning a 3-2 advantage.

The visitors added another run in the top of the fifth when Secrist singled in sophomore Isaac Bender to give Iowa City Liberty their largest and last lead of the game at 4-2.

Fairfield junior Kosta Papazoglou launched a liner right at the Liberty second baseman for the first out, but Hoskins followed with a single through the left side, then a Tristin Waugh walk gave the Trojans runners on first and second with only one out in the home half of the fifth.

Junior Austin Simpson hit a routine grounder to the first baseman who biffed it for a big E3 that allowed Hoskins and pinch-runner Drew Martin to score and tie the game at 4-4.

After senior slinger Graham Kuehl shutdown the Lightning for the final time in the sixth, Fairfield came to the plate ready to take the lead.

The senior Drish, Hunter aka Sticks, drew a walk and then did a little dance on the Lightning relievers’ nerves before stealing second on a curveball in the dirt.

“I like to get in their head a little bit which I get from Coop,” explained Sticks. “When the curveball hit the dirt I think, ‘I can make it’ so I took off for second.”

Drish also broke down his go-ahead score.

“Coach is telling me to check my runners and then Kosta [Papazoglou] hits a gapper and I’m sitting halfway between second and third to make sure the centerfielder doesn’t catch it, and when he doesn’t, I haul it home.”

With a 5-4 advantage, Waugh singled home pinch-runner James Lyman to give the Trojans the two-run lead with just half an inning hold needed to advance.

K-Pap came in for the save opportunity in the seventh and threw 26 pitches before collecting the save, allowing no runs on two walks and three strikeouts.

“I just needed to throw strikes with a two-run lead and let our defense do their thing, but that wasn’t going so well,” suggested Papazoglou, who added “I like to catch more, but I’m usually used toward the end of the game for an inning.”

Between innings and before Kosta grabbed the save, starting shortstop Cooper Drish turned an awkward tumble into something resembling a twisted ankle.

“I’m injury prone too,” said brother Hunter, “but he’ll be back.”

“Yeah, I just kind of play through the pain,” explained Cooper. “I’ll take some ibuprofen and put my brace on and play. I was never at 100 percent, so I feel I’ll be able to perform at the same level I have been.”

Along with collecting the win, senior Graham Kuehl threw 92 pitches over six innings and allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out six.

Offensively, the Trojans were led by Papazoglou, Waugh and Hoskins who each had two hits and at least one RBI on the day.

“I think the pressure of playing both ahead and behind is good for us,” said skipper Josh Allison. “We just need to believe and keep pulling the rope the same direction which is ‘team before me’ and that’s really all that matters this time of year.”

 

Substate at Solon

Iowa City Liberty started their season with two losses at Solon by scores of 10-2 and 8-6 back in late May and the Spartans also swept Clear Creek-Amana and Williamsburg, all common opponents to Fairfield. Of course, back in 2016, the Trojans lost in the substate final to Solon 6-4 after holding a 4-0 lead through 3 1/2 innings. The Spartans scored one in the fourth, three in the sixth and walked off with the win in the seventh.

Coach Allison said that he’ll make sure the pitchers are ready to execute the game plan and he also believes his team is close to hitting on all cylinders.

“I think we’re ready,” said Allison who added, “I think this is the game that brings them all together.”

As for Hunter Drish who is enjoying the ride as long as it lasts, “25 ‘em,” said the senior with a smile when asked if the team was ready for Solon.

 

Gametime

The game starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Solon and will feature the 31-10 Spartans versus the 30-8 Trojans with the winner representing Class 3A’s substate 5.

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