FREDERICKTOWN — The Fredericktown Freddies used two three-run innings to down the Centerburg Trojans 6-0 Wednesday and guarantee themselves at least a share of the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference crown.
“It means a lot to me and I know to the coaches and players,” Fredericktown coach Ryan Hathaway said of winning the league title. “With our conference as tough as it is, from top to bottom, it’s a good accomplishment for us. I’m really proud of our guys for how they competed.”
After the Trojans stranded two runners in the top of the first, Fredericktown’s Nick Cunningham had a leadoff double and he was brought around to score on a fielder’s choice from Clem Cunningham. Ty Hatfield scored on a single by Brady Williams and Zach Vogelsang stole home to push the lead quickly up to 3-0 after the first.
“When you can get some leadoff guys on and be able to execute in different situations, it just makes things a lot easier for you,” Hathaway said. “I thought those innings we had some really good at-bats to get us going.”
The Trojans had five baserunners between the second and fourth innings, but were unable to turn any of those into runs. Defensively, they did a solid job to shutout the Freddies, but the home team had another spike in runs in the fourth. A bases-loaded error brought Reece Cassetto, who was pinch running for Hatfield, home to score and Vogelsang scored again on another error. Williams scored the game’s sixth run on a sacrifice fly from Nick Cunningham.
“The ball didn’t bounce our way,” Centerburg coach Joe Smith said. “We had as many hard-hit baseballs as they did, but they had so many infield hits that just bounced the right way to the right spot and we couldn’t get an out.”
On defense, Hatfield put together several solid innings. In the fifth and sixth innings, he had two running put-outs to first, a pop up in foul territory. Also in the fifth, a ball was grounded to pitcher Clem Cunningham, who tossed it to Hatfield for the force out at third and Hatfield rocketed the ball to first to gun down the runner for a double play to end the inning.
“Ty Hatfield played a really good third base,” Hathaway said. “He made some really good plays that kept them in check as far as not letting extra guys on.”
Hatfield then took the mound in the seventh inning to seal the win for the Freddies.
Vogelsang and Caleb Sheriff each had a pair of base hits on the night to lead Fredericktown, with Vogelsang scoring twice. Nick Cunningham kicked in a double, an RBI and a run scored, while Hatfield and Williams combined for the remaining two hits.
Clem Cunningham hurled six innings of five-hit baseball in the start with seven strikeouts and two walks Hatfield threw an inning of relief with two hits and a strikeout.
Jackson Goulter was solid at the plate with a double and two singles. Dalton Hall, Bobby Zendarsky, Brock Hurtt and Joe Tepper each bashed a single.
Sam Bassett got the start and lasted 3 1/3 innings with six hits, three earned runs and two walks counting against him, with four strikeouts on the night. Tyler Kopycinski came in for the final 2 2/3 innings and was stellar with only one hit and four strikeouts.
“He’s been working really hard,” Smith said of Kopycinski. “He’s done a nice job with these last two outings. Last week at Northmor and tonight, he really seems like he’s putting some things together.”
The share of the KMAC title guarantees the Freddies stand atop the league standings for the second year in a row after tying with Highland in 2018.
“You’ve got to bring it every game,” Hathaway said of winning the KMAC. “That’s the tough part about our league and playing back-to-back. With the quality of teams that you have, you’ve got to have three or four guys that can throw for you, and throw well. It’s a grind, to kind of use a cliched term there.”
Fredericktown improved to 16-4 on the year and 12-2 in the league, while Centerburg now sits at 10-7 (8-6).