Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — When you hit the ball like Zach Fout has this season, you notice something has clicked.
Fout has seen a proverbial light bulb turn on at the plate this year after a self-admitted disappointing season last spring. Over the course of 25 games, the senior is hitting .368 (28-for-76) with 17 runs scored and 21 RBIs.
That leads an offense that’s won 16 games so far, including its last seven.
“I think a lot of tee work has helped me pick up the ball … soft-tossing, other drills have helped me do that,” Fout said. “Last year, my stance was kind of wide and I was lunging. This year, I came in, changed my swing up, got my feet in a little bit and have had quick hands to the ball.”
Those remedies have worked like a charm, especially after a late start to the year. Fout led Adena’s basketball program to its first district title since 1980 while scoring 16 points per game.
“It took me a couple of weeks to get in the groove, hitting the ball and just getting my mind off basketball,” Fout said. “But after two or three weeks, I shifted my focus.”
Adena coach Tom Barr is grateful for that.
“Zach Fout is a gamer. He just seems to find another gear when the game is on the line,” Barr said. “We’ve seen him do it at the plate, make an unbelievable catch in centerfield and throw an absolute laser to keep a guy from scoring at the plate.”
In quite possibly the Warriors’ biggest win of the year — a 6-3 victory over Unioto on May 6 — Fout knocked in two runs while helping Adena negate the Shermans’ chances of winning an SVC title.
According to Fout, that win showed himself and his teammates what they were capable of.
“Most people didn’t pick us to win that game but Ethan [Kunkel] came out, threw really good and threw a lot of strikes,” Fout said. “Our defense was there to back him up. I think we may have had one error, so we played pretty well, and we hit the ball pretty well. We’re coming around. That game showed us who the real Adena team is.”
The Warriors now stand at 16-10 overall and have high hopes for a lengthy postseason run. Fout will be savoring every last moment with his teammates that he can.
“We all have a close bond together. We hang out with each other, we all get along just fine and there’s no negativity on our team,” Fout said. “[Being a senior] is hitting me hard. This is the last little stretch, in any sport, for me here. So we want to go as far as we can.”
The Warriors begin their postseason run against Portsmouth West at 5 p.m., Wednesday in a Division III sectional semifinal. A win would pit them against No. 3 Lynchburg-Clay with a sectional title on the line.
“I think we can reach a district final. We have the talent to do that,” Fout said. “If we can keep our errors down and hit the ball, we’ll be fine.”