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Dawson Layton pitches Fort Frye past Williamstown

Photo by Josh Hughes Fort Frye pitcher Dawson Layton follows through on a pitch during a high school baseball game against Williamstown Friday.

WILLIAMSTOWN –Timely hitting helped Fort Frye, as key innings on the mound from Dawson Layton set the stage for a 9-4 Cadet victory over Williamstown on Friday evening.

The Fort bats came alive early on, as WHS starter Chase Barkley had his hands full. In the first three innings, the Cadets came up swinging and connecting. However, big outs from Barkley and the Yellowjacket defense kept he damage at a minimum. With the score at 3-0 after the third, Barkley buckled down and induced the final two batters of the frame (Seth Miller and Ethan Duskey) into groundouts that ended the fourth. From there, it was back to the mound for Fort Frye’s Layton.

Through the first 4.1innings, Layton was spotless. He stymied Williamstown batters en route to a perfect game to that point. When he got Maxwell Molessa out swinging to start the home half of the fourth, it looked as though he would roll again. However, he issued a 4-pitch walk to Barkley and allowed a gapshot double to Leewood Molessa in consecutive at-bats. That set the stage for Trevor Powell with runners at second and third. He sent a chopper to short, and that gave Barkley the opportunity to come home. Soon after, Layton escaped the inning after getting Ethan Holbert out looking. Although Williamstown chipped into the Fort lead, the Cadets got the run right back.

Owen Brown came around to score to make it 4-1, and another 1-2-3 inning from the arm of Layton limited the ‘Jackets’ chances to get back into the contest. After Barkley balked in the top of the sixth and then threw a wild pitch to get Ian Ellis on-base, WHS head coach Levi Maxwell brought Brady Ankrom in to get out of a situation where there were runners at the corners with one out.

However, Fort Frye (13-7) pounced at the chance to pad its lead. The third WHS error of the day saw a dropped pop-up, and that allowed Tennant to score while Ellis moved up to third after a steal. An RBI single from Duskey in shallow left brought in another run, while Brown followed that up with an RBI of his own. That sent Duskey home all the way from first, as Jared Fogle ended the FFHS scoring stretch with a shot up the middle to make it 8-1.

Williamstown’s last chance to stage a comeback fell short. Singles from Harbor Haught and Maxwell Molessa kicked things off in the bottom of the sixth.

Then, Barkley got walked to load the bases. That’s when Leewood Molessa came up to clear the bases with a gapper in left-center. After that, Layton’s day was done in favor of Miller.

The reliever came in and silenced the Williamstown rally by fanning a trio of Yellowjacket batters in his two innings of work. A sacrifice fly from Tennant brought Maeson Long home to make it 9-4, as the win for the visiting Cadets sets them up in good shape for the upcoming OVAC Tournament.

“We’ve really been throwing it well over the plate. Dawson has been that guy for us. He throws a lot of strikes, and he gets bats on barrels, and we field it,” head coach Trey Engle said. “Seth is a captain for a reason, and he knows what he needs to do in certain spots (over the last two innings of relief). He’s a special kid. Our kids are getting better with their approaches, and that’s working out well for us.”

The victory is Fort Frye’s sixth-straight, as the Cadets turn their attention to an OVAC semifinal clash with Linsly.

On the opposite end, Williamstown is sitting at 5-3 with the bulk of its schedule remaining. That gives coach Maxwell and the ‘Jackets plenty to work toward.

“We weren’t having good at-bats. We had too many strikeouts and pop-ups, but once we put the ball in play, good things started happening,” Maxwell said of his team’s 3-run sixth inning. “Anytime you can get the bases loaded with Leewood coming up, he’s a very big power hitter for us. We’re seeing a team (Fort Frye) that’s gone out and played several games, and it can only be a good thing for us. Coach Engle does an awesome job, and we want to play the Fort Fryes of the world. You can’t have a better situation than that right there.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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