FAIRFIELD — When things are going well for the Fairfield High School baseball team, there is hitting all through the lineup.
Monday’s performance against Indianola would have been considered “going well.”
The Class 3A eighth-ranked Trojans sent 15 hitters to the plate and scored 10 runs in the opening inning before outlasting Indianola 18-8 in six innings of a nonconference game at Fairfield Middle School.
Austin Simpson hit his 12th home run of the season, breaking the school’s record set by Austin Gridley. Tristin Waugh and Drew Martin also homered in the contest for Fairfield (21-4).
“The record feels good, but I hope there is some little kid out there watching me and can break it right away,” Simpson said. “The great thing about this team right now is that we’re all pulling in the same direction and pulling together.”
Drew Martin’s three-run home run in the opening inning capped off a long inning, while Simpson and Cole Engle each doubled in runs. From there, however, Indianola chipped away. The Indians got within 13-8 in the fifth inning, as both Tyce Johnson and Grady Haynes hit home runs. Fairfield was two outs from winning by run rule.
“Even though we were up 10-0, I still felt confident. I didn’t feel like the guys were on cruise control,” Fairfield coach Josh Allison said. “We were still taking good at-bats and playing good defense. I was proud of our effort out there.”
“I mean, it got a little tight out there, but I don’t think they ever got within four, so that was big,” Simpson said. “When you’re up five, it’s still a comfortable lead.”
Jackson Weaton singled in a pair of runs in the opening inning in his second at-bat of the inning. The Trojans’ offense then went silent until the fourth, when Simpson hit a two-run home run. The team also took advantage of an error in the inning to set up another run.
Indianola (15-13) did not retire a hitter in the sixth inning, when the Trojans scored their final four runs. Kosta Papazogolou scored on a wild pitch, Carter Ferrel and Simpson walked, and Waugh ended the game with a three-run home run over the right-field fence to end the contest.
“The guys have really worked on what we’ve asked them to work on,” Allison said. “That work is starting to payoff.”
Simpson was ahead in the count when he turned on his home run.
“It was a 2-1 count, so I knew he had to come to me,” he said. “I was sitting on a fastball, and it felt pretty good coming off the bat.”
Fairfield will graduate nine seniors, the largest class Allison has had in his 16 years. Papazogolou has played five years, while most of the other players have competed with each other not only in baseball, but other sports.
“They’ve meant a lot to this program,” Allison said. “They’d just go out together and play basketball or whatever. That’s kind of what we want our younger kids to do as well.”
Fairfield visits Oskaloosa Tuesday for a junior varsity/varsity doubleheader.
Chad Drury can be reached at email@example.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury