Green Knights top York Catholic for first district playoff win in program history
It barely rained during Monday's District 3-AA playoff game between Fairfield and York Catholic, but Green Knights' coach John Ridge still ended up soaking wet afterwards.
While several playoff games were postponed due to inclement weather in the region, Fairfield beat its YAIAA Division IV foe 3-2 in a game that started late due to a lightning delay during warmups. The win marked the Green Knights' first district playoff win in program history, and they celebrated by dumping a bucket of water on Ridge.
"I’ve been with this program for all four years, started varsity my sophomore year, and we’ve always been a team that ‘we’ll get it next year or next game,’" third baseman Hunter House said. "Finally this year it’s not next time, it’s this time."
House made the game-ending tag after fielding a ground ball with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, putting an end to drama that the Fighting Irish created with two hits and two walks with two outs in the final inning. Fairfield senior Coleman Sachs threw a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out seven.
“My arm felt really great today, I felt like I was throwing the ball hard and my curveball was pretty good today,” Sachs said. “I knew if we all came out here and played good, we could come out with the W.”
Austin Ivey and Chase Stadler each had three hits for Fairfield, and an RBI base hit by Stadler in the third inning gave Fairfield a 3-1 lead it would never relinquish. House also contributed an RBI base hit during a rally in the second inning.
The win adds to a season that could already be considered the best in Fairfield history. The Green Knights' won 10 games during the regular season, the most they've ever won in a season.
“The seniors have played together for four years and it’s just a situation that from the very beginning, we lost our first game to Littlestown and they turned around and ran off four in a row against some pretty good programs," Ridge said. "From that point forward, their confidence was there. When it rained, we were in the gym for three hours. When it didn’t, they were on the field for three hours. I think every time they come onto the field, they think they can beat everybody.”
Fairfield now makes a trip to face No. 1 seed Oley Valley on Thursday. Darian Mort will pitch against the Lynx, which went 16-4 during the regular season.
“Now we go face a No. 1 seed, throwing our No. 2 pitcher," Ridge said. "But I’m just as confident in Darian as I am with Coleman.”
The loss for the Fighting Irish ends a season that included a Division IV title. They lose just two players to graduation.
“It’s good experience, these guys will remember it next year," York Catholic coach Joe Gurreri said. "Their pitcher threw real well against us and that was the difference. We were just one hit short.”