WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Junior center fielder Stuart Fairchild was a critical cog in last year’s Demon Deacon run that culminated in appearances in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.
He was spectacular in the field and powerful at the plate, finishing second on the team with 47 RBIs and third in slugging percentage at .470.
Fairchild provided the big blast Sunday, hitting a grand slam to help propel the Black team to its second win in the Wake Baseball Fall World Series. Game three is tied after seven innings and will likely be finished Sunday afternoon.
“It was good to get that and get us a win,” Fairchild said. “I think Parker (Dunshee) put together a good squad and we’re off to a good start.”
Fairchild spent his summer competing in the prestigious Cape Cod League, where he finished with a .234 batting average and 11 RBIs.
“To be honest, I struggled this summer. I not going to act like I didn’t,” Fairchild said. “But I learned a lot. I’ve never learned so much, with the experience playing against that good of competition. I’ve learned a lot about my swing, and feel like I’ve matured as a hitter and a player.
“Even though the results weren’t what I wanted, I feel like I’m a better player now than ever before. I really can’t hang my head because of that.”
Fairchild believes the Deacs will have the right mix to take the next step forward in 2017.
“We’ve got a ton of freshmen pitchers. They’ve stepped up and throw strikes. A lot of them will see action in the spring,” he said. “It’s exciting to see pitching depth, because we haven’t seen that in the last two years.
“Our offense should be more or less the same, with the exception of Nate (Mondou) and Will (Craig) being gone. But I feel our guys are older and more experienced. We’ll be able to handle those losses just fine.”