Brown has Bullets Back in Familiar Position

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WOODSTOCK – Hazen Union alum and BFA-Fairfax baseball head coach Mike Brown guided his Bullets to a quarterfinal upset win over third-seeded Woodstock last week in the Division III tournament, making their first Final Four since 2017.

Ryan Sheehan went 2-3 and drove in four runs to power sixth-seeded BFA-Fairfax to an 8-3 road win over Woodstock on Saturday.

The game started Friday afternoon but was suspended in the seventh inning due to weather and completed the next day.

Reagan Baumeister added a pair of hits, Kayden Lovejoy had an RBI single, and Dylan Sicard earned the win in relief with three plus innings of one hit ball. Woodstock jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage off starter Sheehan, but the Bullets answered with four two out runs in the fourth and four more in the seventh to give Sicard some breathing room.

The Wasps buried Windsor 11-2 in the opening round and came into the matchup having won seven of their last nine. Their season ends at 13-5.

“Dylan came on in the third with one out and two runners on and was just lights out the rest of the way. Ryan looked good to start, but things weren’t going our way and it felt like the game was on the line. In the playoffs, you’re fighting to win innings; you can’t wait to make tough decisions. Dylan changed the tone of the game with electric stuff and had the breakout performance of his young high school career,” said Brown.   

This will be the Bullets twelfth Final Four appearance under Brown in his 28 years of leading the program. He has won over 300 games in his high school coaching career, including six state title appearances that brought four state championships back to the town of Fairfax. Not only is this the first Final Four in seven years for Brown’s program, but his 8-0 first round win over Springfield last week was the program’s first playoff win in that same time span.

Act 46, school choice, school mergers, and the lacrosse boom have devastated baseball and softball programs at small schools across the state. Brown’s storied program was not immune as participation numbers for the baseball program at BFA were dwindling before anyone ever heard of the word Covid.

The pandemic canceled the spring sports season statewide in 2020 and when the dust settled in 2021, he was forced to fully reset the program and play a junior varsity schedule with a club team. Numbers started to rebound for the program over the next two years. This spring his team’s upset win over Woodstock secured their first winning season since returning to varsity competition in 2022.

“My predecessor John Gillis coached 32 seasons here and Fairfax baseball has a rich history of success. It was no secret that we had fallen on tough times, but something exciting started to brew in this group last season and I started to see a team-focused maturity and selflessness that became contagious. The guys played great against Woodstock! Energy, confidence, and positivity dominated the day. We are excited for the opportunity versus Bellows Falls,” said Brown.

The Bullets hit the road again on Monday for a semifinal match-up against second-seeded Bellows Falls. The winner advances to the Division III title game over the weekend.

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