Fairport senior southpaw Mark McAlpine was a one-man wrecking crew for the Skippers Saturday.
The Skipper ace tossed the biggest game of his life, throwing a complete-game, five-hitter to lead Fairport to a 3-2 win over Maplewood in their Division IV district semifinal at Euclid's Stanic Field.
The win moves the Skippers to Wednesday's district championship where they will play either Ledgemont, SS. John and Paul or Southington. The Heralds and Wildcats still have to play their sectional title game on Monday with the winner advancing to Tuesday's district semifinal against the Redskins. Tuesday's winner faces Fairport.
McAlpine (8-1) struck out 15 and did not walk a batter in earning the victory. He also helped his own cause with three hits and two stolen bases.
"He (McAlpine) hit the ball and pitched so well," Fairport coach Jerry Hites said. "He did everything but drive the bus I think. At times he just dominated. They had the bases loaded with none out in the third and he came back and struck out the side to get out of it."
Still, McAlpine and the Skippers needed one final rally to pull out Saturday's semifinal win. Down 2-1 heading into its final at-bat in the top of the seventh, Fairport scored twice to take a 3-2 lead.
Freshman Danny Ward started off the inning by walking and stealing second. McAlpine knocked an RBI double to tie the game 2-2. Curt Oberg then drove home the go-ahead run with an RBI single a batter later.
McAlpine then got out of one last jam in the bottom of the seventh when Maplewood put the tying run at third with one out. The Fairport ace bore down and struck out the next two batters he faced to seal the win.
The Skippers will be looking for their second straight district title and third in the last six seasons.
"We feel good," Hites said of how his team feels heading into the district title game. "We'll get a couple more days off. Part of our problem today was that today was our first game in 11 days, but we still got 10 hits."
- James Johnson