Lebanon edges Fairmont in opener

LEBANON — Two of the top pitching prospects in the Miami Valley squared off Wednesday, March 31, when Fairmont High School visited Lebanon for both squads’ 2010 season opener.

The anticipated pitchers’ duel between Lebanon’s Dusty Isaacs and Fairmont’s Alex Lilley didn’t materialize.

Lilley struck out 14 and allowed only four hits, but the Firebirds lost 6-5.

Lebanon senior catcher Kyle Hill drove in the tying run in the bottom of the sixth, then scored on an overthrow to third — Fairmont’s only error — to provide the winning margin.

“In that game right there, it was better to be lucky than good,” Lebanon coach Lee Day said. “We stole that one against a very good team.

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“Fairmont was in control for most of the game, but our kids dug in and battled and found a way to win. It was ugly, but a win’s a win.”

The Warriors erased a 4-0 deficit with four runs in the third inning on just one hit. Lilley struck out four in the inning, but a dropped third strike extended the inning.

Two walks loaded the bases and Alex Arovits’ routine fly ball to right was lost in the sun, turning into a bases-clearing triple. Arovits scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

“Things were working for me pretty well out there. I just made a couple mental mistakes,” Lilley said. “I just have to do a better job with my first pitch fastball and get ahead of hitters.”

Isaacs struggled with his control early, walking four and hitting four. Firebird first baseman Nick Livingston touched up Isaacs for a second-inning homer and a two-run double in the third to stake Fairmont to a 4-0 lead.

“It’s not the way I wanted to start the season, but we got the ‘W’ and that’s what matters,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs allowed four runs, all of them earned, on three hits and struck out five in four innings. Ben Alesi earned the win, pitching three innings of scoreless relief.

Lilley allowed one earned run on four hits, struck out 14 and walked five.

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