Fenwick falls to McNick, despite mound gem from Nix

Fenwick’s C.J. Napier gets a piece of the ball during their game against Chaminade Julienne on April 10. The host Falcons won 10-8. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Fenwick’s C.J. Napier gets a piece of the ball during their game against Chaminade Julienne on April 10. The host Falcons won 10-8. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Fenwick High School baseball coach Chris Stratton wouldn’t have expected to come out on the losing end the way Alan Nix pitched Friday.

Nix scattered five hits and gave up two unearned runs but the Falcons dropped a 2-1 decision to Cincinnati McNicholas in a home game that took 75 minutes to complete. Fenwick had beaten the Rockets 9-5 on the road Wednesday.

“Nix had a heck of a game,” Stratton said. “They put some balls in play, but I don’t think they ever really figured him out. I think he threw well enough to get a win. We just didn’t support him. We played great defense but had a couple mental mistakes. It was an all-around good ballgame, but kudos to them.”

Fenwick (9-5, 4-4 Greater Catholic League Coed North Division) jumped on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on Brad Davenport’s one-out double that brought Jake Schaefer in from first base. The next two batters flied out, though, leaving Davenport stranded in scoring position.

McNicholas (8-7, 5-2 GCLC Central) took advantage of some Fenwick mistakes to gain the lead in the fourth, and that would decide the game.

Rockets second baseman Michael Lang reached on an error to lead off and Brian Ford followed with a single. Both runners advanced to scoring position on a passed ball before Nix coaxed a strikeout, and Zach Arnold and Joey Miller drove them in on a single and sacrifice fly, respectively.

“We preach to our kids about being smart, moving runners and doing the little things,” McNicholas coach John Christmann said. “Both teams played very well. It was just that we got two runs and they got one.

“The first game we played the other day wasn’t a very good game. Every time we play these guys, it’s usually a really good game, so I expect a one-run game. It’s awesome to get the one-run win.”

Nix (2-1) faced one batter over the minimum over the final three frames and finished with six strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Falcons couldn’t get the timely hits they needed to come back. They left two runners on base in the fifth inning and got their lone base runners in the sixth and seventh innings with two outs, only to have the next batter ground out both times.

Ford (2-2), the Rockets pitcher, surrendered just four hits and had three walks and two strikeouts.

“They had a nice inning where they moved runners over, did what they had to do to get them in, sacrificed a fly — that’s good baseball,” Stratton said. “They did what they had to do, but we struggled with that. We struggled moving guys around, getting guys on and we struggled adjusting to their pitcher. He had some nice stuff.”

Fenwick looks to bounce back against a strong Kings squad Saturday in the Reds Futures High School Showcase at P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

“It’s a tough league loss, a close game, so I told the guys not to hang their heads because we have Kings tomorrow, and I know they are a highly-ranked Division I team,” Stratton said. “We’ve had some success against big Division I teams already this year, so it’s going to be a big day tomorrow.”

McNicholas hosts Badin on Monday.

McNicholas 000-200-0—2-5-0

Fenwick 010-000-0—1-4-1

WP — Brian Ford (2-2); LP — Alan Nix (2-1). Records: M 8-7, 5-2 GCLC Central; F 9-5, 4-4 GCLC North

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