By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A pitching change by the Mishawaka Marian Knights sparked the Fairfield Falcons to a come-from-behind victory in a high school baseball game Friday evening at Fairfield.
Marian was leading 4-1 when junior starting pitcher Michael Frakas was pulled as the Falcons came to the plate for the bottom of the fifth inning. Junior Kyle Mast was the first batter up for the Falcons and his single started the Fairfield bats in motion. By the time the Falcons were retired they were well on the way to a 15-5 victory over the non-conference opponent.
“We had not had bad at bats up to that point in the game. It was just nothing was falling in for us,” Fairfield coach Brodie Garber said. “But the way high school baseball is all it takes sometimes is a couple of hits to open the floodgates.”
Frakas allowed only two Falcon hits over the first four innings before Fairfield erupted for 12 safeties over the final two.
“The first pitcher (Frakas) was very very good,” Fairfield senior Jordan Hochstetler said. “When we saw a new arm out there for the fifth we saw it as new life or a new beginning.”
The Falcons sent 15 batters to the plate in the fifth.
“We made Frakas throw a lot of pitches,” Garber said. “We basically worked him out of the game. Earlier in the game kids had been talking about even if they were going to strike out they wanted to make him throw six or seven pitches.”
Frakas struck out four and walked one.
“He is a very good pitcher,” Garber said. “He worked the outside corner of the plate. The umpire was consistently calling that pitch so Frakas kept throwing it. That is what any good pitcher should do.”
Key hits for the Falcons in the fifth were a two-run double by junior Austin Christner, a two-run single by senior Garrett Scott and run-scoring singles by Hochstetler and junior Tony Zook.
“I can’t recall ever being on the winning side of a game like this before,” Garber said. “I have been on the other side and believe me this side is much more fun.”
Fairfield’s huge inning made senior Brad Lantz the winning pitcher. Marian scored four runs in the second as senior Adam Janowiak doubled home two runs and classmate Brendan Short drove in another with a single.
“Lantz got better as the game went on,” Garber said. “From the third inning on he did some good pitching.”
Lantz came out after the Falcons’ long fifth inning and walked the first two Marian batters, but he limited the damage to one run and ended the frame by striking out Janowiak.
“We figured the bottom of the fifth took about 40 minutes,” Garber said. “Lantz walked the first two but who wouldn’t after a delay like that.”
Fairfield was leading 13-5 entering the bottom of the sixth and needed just two runs to end the game by the 10-run rule.
Mast, junior Forrest Glogouski and junior Zac Kropf all singled to load the bases for Hochstetler who responded with a game-winning single that scored Mast and Glogouski.
“It was a pretty good feeling to put away a team like that. I’m glad I had the opportunity,” Hochstetler said.
Hochstetler shared that the Falcons never lost confidence in themselves.
“We thought all along we could win this one,” he said. “We have some good hitters on the team that push each other.”
The Falcons (3-0) don’t have long to recover as they travel to South Bend St. Joseph for a game this morning at 10 o’clock.
Marian 040 001 — 5-5-1
Fairfield 001 0(12)2 — 15-14-2
Pitching: (Fairfield) Brad Lantz (W) three strikeouts and five walks. (Marian) Jay Eggeman (L). Michael Frakas (starter), Brian Mischler and Avandre Harris.
Hitting: (Fairfield) Garrett Scott double, single, two RBI; Austin Christner double, two RBI; Jordan Hochstetler three singles, three RBI; Kyle Mast two singles, RBI; Tony Zook two singles, RBI; Ben Hunley single, two RBI; Forrest Glogouski two singles. (Marian) Adam Janowiak double, two RBI; Jay Eggeman double, Brendan Short single, RBI.
JV: Fairfield (4-1) won 11-3. (Fairfield: Sam Brown triple, single; Brock Goeglein double, single; Cody Haab three singles, Parker Zent two. Winning pitcher Haab struck out five).