Prep Baseball Report

Division I Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Fairmont

Bruce Hefflinger
Ohio Senior Writer

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Fairmont

KETTERING - A pair of narrow wins over Beavercreek has Fairmont being honored as the Prep Baseball Division I Team of the Week.

“It’s been fun,” head coach Matt Adams said of the 19-3 start to the season which included a 14-6 victory over Wayne and the two close games with Beavercreek, 6-5 and 3-1 triumphs. “Their motto is ‘We Just Go’ and I picked up on it.”

The wins over Beavercreek came in exciting fashion. Skyler Slifer and Tyler Mastro both drove in two runs in the one-run win, Slifer going 2-3 and Mastro 1-1. In the 3-1 contest, the Firebirds got out of a bases loaded no-out situation in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings where Fairmont scored the game winner on a swing-and-miss pitch in which the bat went into the crowd with one out and runners on first and third. With everyone’s eyes on the bat, what proved to be the winning run raced home when the ball got slightly away from the catcher on the swing-and-miss when there was nobody to throw the ball to after retrieving it.

“Last year was an unbelievable season,” Adams reflected about a 23-6 campaign that ended with a loss to eventual state champion Moeller in the district finals. “We won our first outright GWOC title.”

Another Greater Western Ohio Conference title has followed this year with the Firebirds and Springboro co-champions.

“We had spots to fill losing our four-year starting catcher,” Adams noted. “But we’re more talented this year.”

Stevie Doty, the 23rd-rated senior shortstop in Ohio, is the returning ace on the team and is 4-1 with a 1.892 ERA, fanning 53 in 37 innings. 

“He’s arguably the best pitcher in the area,” Adams said of the 199th-rated 2024 in Ohio. “He’s a bulldog.”

Sophomore Braden Vance and senior Keegan Hart are both 4-1, Vance with a 1.732 ERA and Hart at 2.722. Vance established himself as the number two before rolling an ankle two weeks ago. Mastro has since stepped up, shutting out West Clermont over 6.2 innings before not allowing an earned run in six innings on Saturday against Beavercreek. For the year the junior right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.913 ERA.

“I knew what we had talent wise this year but it’s been a work in progress” Adams explained. “We lost six really good seniors and they were leaders. Filling that void took time but we’re figuring it out. They’ve bought in.”

Doty tops the team in hitting at .383 with Slifer carrying a .361 average. Senior Gabe Ledbetter is batting .358 while Mastro and senior Kyle Holloway are both at .333. Slifer has 19 RBIs, Mastro 13 and Ledbetter 12 while Ledbetter has scored 24 runs, Asa Dunlevey and Slifer 19 each, Doty 18 and Mastro 16.

“This is the best hitting we’ve had by far,” Adams noted. “We have five of the top 15 hitters in the GWOC. Our 1-7 guys are getting it done. We’ve been scoring runs. Plus, we have 20 more stolen bases than last year.”

For the season the eighth-rated team in the state in D-I has 70 steals, with Ledbetter leading the way with 14. Mastro has a dozen stolen bases, Slifer 11 and Dunlevy nine.

Sophomore Miles Osterfeld and Dunlevey, the 10th-rated senior third baseman in the state who brings versatility to the roster, have split time behind the plate, critical shoes to fill entering the season.

“Throwing strikes is the key to our success,” related Adams, whose squad has five college commits with Doty and Dunlevey going to Frontier CC and Hart, Ledbetter and Aiden Fassold Clark State signees. “The game is simple if you break it down. Our pitchers are throwing strikes and we’re not striking out. Limit mistakes and attack their mistakes.”

A game with 25th-rated Troy is on tap Wednesday with a non-league matchup against sixth-ranked Springboro on Friday. The teams split their two league games earlier in the season.

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