By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Fairfield High School baseball team took another step toward defending its NECC title Monday night with a 5-1 win over Westview on the road.
With the victory, the Falcons improved to 16-8 on the 2012 season (8-0 NECC). Fairfield wraps up the NECC campaign this week with games against West Noble Thursday and Central Noble on Friday. They will finish the regular season on Saturday with an 11 a.m. game on the road at Elkhart Central, a top 4A program.
Fairfield coach Brodie Garber was pleased to see his team bounce back from a disappointing doubleheader loss on the road at Northridge on Saturday.
“We got timely hits and made plays today, which we didn’t do on Saturday,” Garber said.
Garber was especially pleased with the mound mastery turned in by senior Brad Newcomer. The Falcon hurler turned in a complete-game gem, striking out just two but walking none.
Newcomer said it was important for the Falcons to put Saturday’s losses behind them and refocus on the stretch run in the NECC.
“We have three tough NECC games this week, and we want to win the conference championship again,” Newcomer said.
On Monday, Newcomer said his breaking pitches were working especially well. “Hitters were swinging behind, and the guys made the plays behind me,” Newcomer added.
The Falcons drew first blood in the top of the second inning. With one out, Austin Christner drew a walk, stole second, advanced to third when Ben Hunley reached on an error, and scored on a wild pitch.
Fairfield increased its advantage to 3-0 in the top of the third. With one out, Jordan Hochstetler singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a Garrett Scott groundout. Brad Newcomer plated Hochstetler with a single, and promptly stole second. A Zach Newcomer infield single put runners at second and third, and then Christner drove in Brad Newcomer with a single.
Westview got its lone run in the bottom of the third. Brant Yoder reached on an error, and advanced to second on a passed ball. He moved to third on a double play, and scored on an Adrian Brandenberger RBI single.
The Falcons later added two more runs in the top of the sixth on a Scott single.
Westview coach Jason Rahn said his team didn’t do a good enough job of stringing together hits.
“Missed opportunities have been the story of our last three games,” Rahn said.
The Warriors (11-9 overall, 7-2 NECC) wrap up the NECC campaign on Thursday on the road at Eastside before culminating the regular season Friday night at home against Lakewood Park. Both games are slated for 5 p.m. first pitches.