Southwest Ohio Huddle: Fairfield football coach steps down, Fairborn catcher steps up


Southwest Ohio Huddle

Spring is often the season for rain showers, postponed games and a scramble to re-arrange the hectic schedule. Whether good or bad, it’s also a time for coaching changes. Fairfield, one of the largest high schools in Ohio, had a tough task last week. They same can be said for any pitcher facing Fairborn’s Brittany Duncan.

Spring is often the season for rain showers, postponed games and a scramble to re-arrange the hectic schedule.

Whether good or bad, it’s also a time for coaching changes.

Fairfield, one of the largest high schools in Ohio, had a tough task last week. Interim athletic director Chad Lewis found a new boys’ basketball coach in Tim Austing, who succeeds Kurt Etter.

Austing has been a teacher in the Fairfield district since 1998. He had been an assistant basketball coach at Elder and was the offensive coordinator at Sycamore since 2006.

But, Fairfield had much more work to do regarding coaching vacancies.

Head football coach Doc Gamble, who coached the Indians for one season, stepped down unexpectedly last week. Gamble, a former longtime Withrow coach, coached the Indians to a 1-9 record in 2008. But, Gamble has been known to turn around programs and his strong college recruiting ties had given promise to the Fairfield faithful.

But, with administrative changes in the high school, Gamble had second thoughts and has decided to officially leave in June.

“It’s something I’ve been mulling over for a little while now,” Gamble told the Cincinnati Enquirer last week. “With athletic director Jim Sherard and principal Paul Waller both resigning, I felt it was my time to go too.”

Gamble had not said what his coaching future will be, but indicated he would like to coach again in the near future. Gamble refused to say where he might be looking.

Fairfield posted the position internally on Thursday and it could be posted externally soon.

“Obviously, we’ll have to move on it,” Lewis said. “We appreciate Doc’s contribution to the district, but we’ll move on and look for a new coach to take us to the next level.”


Brittany Duncan, Fairborn, softball: Sophomore catcher has tormented area pitchers with an incredible .864 batting average through eight games. She has 19 hits in 22 at-bats and has reached base 29 times total in 32 (eight walsk, twice been hit by pitches). Duncan has 15 RBIs, five doubles, a triple and three over-the-fence home runs. Powerful Pickerington North walked her twice intentionally after she went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a home run.

Hamilton Badin baseball: The Rams, who were Division III state runners-up in 2008, are off to a 10-0 start this spring. Badin defeated St. Xavier 6-5 last Friday and won 8-7 over Colerain last Saturday. Badin was scheduled to play at Chaminade-Julienne on Monday and has a game at La Salle on Wednesday afternoon. Badin’s pitching has been dominant. Josh McFarland (3-0), Andrew Fritsch (3-0) and Brett McKinney (2-0) have been solid. McKinney had a 0.78 ERA with 18 strikeouts. McKinney is also among the GCL leaders with a 15 RBI. Badin has won four consecutive outright GCL division titles over the past few years.


Touching them all: Cincinnati Finneytown senior Jimmy Sammons hit for the cycle in a 13-3 win over Lockland on Saturday. Sammons accomplished the feat during the second game of a doubleheader. He was 4-for-4 with three RBI. Sammons is hitting .440 with 11 hits, three doubles and seven RBI. Finneytown (6-3 as of Monday) had won four consecutive games at the start of this week. Sammons, who was the quarterback on the football team last fall, has signed to play baseball at Shawnee State University.

Wyoming’s Black to visit East Lansing:
Wyoming junior DL Jibreel Black (6-2, 260) will take an unofficial visit to Michigan State this weekend. Black has offers from Purdue, South Carolina. North Carolina State, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ball State, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Ohio University, Michigan State and Bowling Green.

Badgers offer Massa:
Cincinnati St. Xavier junior QB Luke Massa (6-5, 205) was offered by the University of Wisconsin last week. It is Massa’s first scholarship offer.

Conrad commits:
Liberty Township Lakota East senior LB Eric Conrad (6-2, 215) has committed to play football at Denison Unversity.

Comets soaring:
Mason pitcher Jordan Besecker pitched his third complete game of the season to lead Mason past Princeton 7-3 last Thursday. Mason (11-3, 6-2 GMC) had won three consecutive games as of Monday.

Strike-Out Cancer event:
Cincinnati Anderson plays at Cincinnati Northwest in a softball doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 2. All proceeds from the game, plus the sale of T-shirts and raffle baskets will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It is the second year Northwest has held such an event.

Crawford lands at BG:
Cincinnati La Salle senior point guard Jordon Crawford has orally committed to play at Bowling Green after he was given a release from his commitment to Ashland University. Ashland recently had a coaching change. Crawford, the Greater Catholic League South division player of the year, will join high school teammate Danny McElroy in the Mid-American Conference.

Lakota West coaching position:
Former Trotwood-Madison and Springfield South boys basketball coach Larry Ham is among 21 applicants who have applied for the open Lakota West position, according to the Dayton Daily News.  Lakota West hopes to begin interviews this week.

Lebanon athlete shines:
Lebanon junior Chase Cochran set a new school record in the 100-meter dash (10.68 seconds) recently at Fairfield. Cochran, the GWOC’s leading receiver in 2008, is one of the area’s top football prospects. He has offers from Air Force and Ohio University.


Seven Hills at North College Hill softball, 4:30 p.m. today: This is a key Miami Valley Conference matchup. The game will be played at an off-site location because of construction of the softball field at the high school.

Madeira at Deer Park softball, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday:
While rain posted Monday’s matchup between the two teams until May 7, both teams should be ready for this Cincinnati Hills League game. Madeira (8-3, 3-0) has won four consecutive games and allowed a league-best 17 runs. Madeira is led by pitcher Sarah Hammitt, who is 7-3 with a 0.70 ERA. Deer Park is led by Autumn Bruewer, who is hitting .615 with 16 hits and 14 stolen bases.

Fairfield at Colerain softball, 4:30 p.m. Thursday:
These Greater Miami Conference teams haven’t been able to play much due to the weather, but this should be a strong pitching matchup with Colerain senior Emily Schwaeble (Northern Kentucky University) and Fairfield junior Jaisa Fox. Schwaeble had 127 strikeouts to start the week. Fox had 85.

LaRosa’s Classic track and field, Friday:
The annual track and field event features the Lancers, who were the Division I boys’ state runners-up last season. Freshmen Devon Steagall (400/800 meters), Antonio Nelson (100, 200, high jump, long jump) are promising standouts. Junior sprinter Cameron Cole is one to watch.

Coaches Classic boys’ tennis, finals at various sites Saturday:
The annual event covers the entire city of Cincinnati in Divisions I and II. St. X, the defending state champion, is the clear favorite. Wyoming, Indian Hill and Seven Hills should be strong contenders in Division II.

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