Griffins Hold Off Eau Claire

Compton Walker delivers the pitch to Eau Claire’s Wallace Green in the first inning of play March 28. Juan Young (5) takes a lead off second in front of Griffin shortstop Stanley McManus.

The Fairfield Central Griffins baseball squad ran their Region III-2A record to 5-2 Thursday night with a 15-6 win on the road over the Eau Claire Shamrocks. Compton Walker gutted out the win for the Griffins, giving up all six runs in six innings of work. Walker issued four free passes while striking out 10 ‘Rocks. Five of his six runs were earned. Stanley McManus closed out the game, walking one and striking out one.

Eighth-grader Sanchez Lorick took the punishment for Eau Claire, striking out 11, walking 11 and giving up six hits in the complete game effort. Lorick got little help from his defense, which committed 14 errors on the night, including six in the Griffins’ eight-run top of the first.

The Shamrocks showed some life in the bottom half of the first, with Juan Yon reaching on a leadoff single. Walker then fanned DeShawn Watson, but gave up a two-run blast off the bat of Wallace Green, the three-hole hitter. Walker then struck out the rest of the side, but the ‘Rocks were on the board, 8-2.

Eau Claire cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double by Ernest Mitchell, followed by an RBI double off the bat of Lorick. Lorick went to third on a passed ball and came home on a balk to make the score 8-4 Griffins.

The Shamrock defense crumbled again in the top of the third, as four errors allowed five more Griffin runs to score. Nick Goins led off the inning with a walk, followed by a single to left by Christopher Boyd. Brandon Adams was caught looking at a third strike, but Javarius Cook answered the call, driving in Goins with an RBI single down the left field line. Cook reached second on a fielding error by the Eau Claire left fielder, Antonio Smith, which allowed Adams to score. Then back-to-back-to-back errors by the Shamrock shortstops – two by Watson and one by his replacement, Green – opened the door for the remaining Griffin runs. When the dust had cleared, the Griffins were up 13-4.

Eau Claire added two more in the bottom of the third as Walker struggled with consistency. Walker gave up a leadoff single to Watson and walked Green, setting the table for Darius Jivers. Watson stole second, then went to third on a wild pitch. Green also stole second, and Jivers’ ground ball to McManus at short scored Watson. Miron Bing brought in Green on a sacrifice fly to deep left, cutting the lead to 13-6.

Although Walker continued to labor to find the zone, he settled in enough to shut down the Shamrocks for the remainder of the game.

The Griffins, who plated two more runs in the top of the fourth, swiped eight bases against the Shamrocks’ battery.

The win solidifies the Griffins’ third place position in the region standings, locking down a playoff spot. The Pelion Panthers, who beat the Griffins 14-3 on March 19, currently hold the top spot, followed by North Central, who beat the Griffins 3-2 on March 22. After spring break, the Griffins will have a chance to avenge those losses on the road, at Pelion on April 12 and at North Central on April 16. A more than one-run win over the Knights could land the Griffins in second place, good enough to host a playoff game in late April.

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