‘We don’t want to stop playing’ -- Fairmont baseball advances to district final

KETTERING — Fairmont’s Stevie Doty felt comfortable on the hill Tuesday. A little run support will do that.

Doty pitched six innings of two-hit ball, and the state’s eighth-ranked team did enough offensively to beat Monroe 5-0 in a Division I district baseball semifinal.

“I just wanted to take control,” said Doty, the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s strikeout leader. “This was a must-win game. We don’t want to stop playing. It’s all for the seniors right now, and hopefully we go even further.”

Fairmont (23-5) has won 11 out of its last 13 and will take on top-ranked Moeller at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Lebanon Middle School.

“Stevie tossed a great game,” Firebirds coach Matt Adams said. “It’s hard for anyone to get going against him.”

Doty said his changeup seemed to be working best. Joe Tarin and Tyler Gannon were the only two Monroe batters that reached on base hits against the right-hander.

Doty also helped himself at plate, going 3 for 3 with a walk, run scored and an RBI. Gabe Ledbetter was 2 for 4 with a run.

The Firebirds scattered their runs across the plate throughout the game — getting a run in the second inning, another in the fourth, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth.

“When my teammates get behind me 100%, and go up five runs, it’s pretty easy to go out there and pitch,” Doty said. “It makes stuff way easier.”

Lane Coulter came in to close it out on the mound for Fairmont. Alex Bemis (5-2) got the start for Monroe and pitched four innings and gave up two earned runs on five hits.

The Hornets reached the district semifinals in their first-ever season at the Division I level.

“We never backed down from a challenge,” Bemis said. “We loved playing these bigger schools. We loved proving ourselves.”

Monroe coach Ed Beck said his Hornets (20-8) were quick to set a positive tone to the season by winning their first three games at home and then going 3-1 during a spring break Florida trip.

“We went into the season with the mentality that nothing was too big for us,” Beck said. “We went at it from that perspective all year.

“We started the motto: ‘Win the week,’” added Beck, who wrapped up his fourth season at the Monroe helm. “We won every week this year except this one.”

Monroe’s Griffin Ballard had a hit off Coulter in the top of the seventh.

“I think this was an eye-opener for everyone else in the area,” Bemis said. “Coach Beck has done a phenomenal job of turning the program around. For us to come out this year and put it to teams, I think it was a lot of fun. I’m so grateful to have my coaching staff and my teammates with me the whole way.”

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