LAFAYETTE — With a .472 career batting average in his four varsity seasons at Dawson School, senior Seth Clemente has done a little bit of everything for the Mustangs baseball team.
But on Friday's senior recognition day, Clemente managed a personal first — and Dawson managed one of their more spectacular wins of the season with a walk-off 11-10 victory over Front Range Christian.
Clemente's double off the wall in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Finn Jones and pinch runner Sergey Ingram with two outs on the board, his first walk-off hit part of a three-run inning in which all of them were scored with just one out to work with.
The Class 2A defending champions have been reshaped this season and as a result improved to just 10-8 with the victory, yet Clemente lauded the win as one that shows their resiliency has never left.
"I believe it just re-assures us a bit," Clemente said of the team, which now can get a bye in districts if Front Range Christian turns around and beats Dayspring Christian on Saturday. "All season long we've just tried to maintain the winning mentality we created last year and we realize we have big shoes to fill, but a win like this re-assures us that we're still a team that will fight, scrap, and pull out games that people might not expect us to."
The Mustangs had a tough day in the field against the Falcons (11-5), who came in as Class 2A's No. 11 ranked team in the ratings percentage index. A seven-run fifth inning for FRCS was started by a three-run home run but was more swayed by defensive miscues than anything.
However, after the inning was over the Falcons had only managed to gain a 9-7 lead — something fellow senior Cade McClellan knew the hosts could work with.
"We don't give up that easy, and we weren't down a lot even after giving up a lot of runs that inning," McClellan, who had four hits in the game, said after. "It wasn't because they were absolutely smashing the ball, mostly it was on our part. It was just a matter of going out there and keep playing."
Even after giving up an unearned run in the top of the seventh to make it 10-8, the Mustangs somehow found a way. After allowing a lead single to Simon Dodge and then striking out the next two batters, the Falcons were forced to change pitchers as starter Drew Loyd reached his pitch limit. Reliever Jeremy Blackford threw three wild pitches to score Dodge, then he hit Finn Jones and walked Hunter Devereux — both whom had combined to go 0-for-6 prior to that.
The good at-bats — when it mattered most — brought up Clemente, and his swing gave no doubt that they would tie up the score. But Ingram hustled all the way from first base and beat the tag, erupting the dugout.
"A huge theme has been just trying to turn the lineup over," Clemente said. "Hunter definitely showed that in that last at-bat, going to (a 3-2 count) and drawing a ball four."
The Mustangs had 13 hits on the day, including two doubles from Daniel Gayten-Cerna and two hits from both Chase Fulkerson and Tucker Heroux. Heroux drove in three runs, as well.
"We got knocked down a couple times, but it was awesome to see the whole lineup kill it," McClellan said. "The whole team is in peak form right when we need it."
Dawson School 11, Front Range Christian 10
At Dawson School
Front Range Christian110 070 1 — 10 8 3
Dawson School220 310 3 — 11 13 5
W — Clemente. L — Blackford.
Dawson School hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Seth Clemente 4-1-1-2, Chase Fulkerson 4-2-2-1, Cade McClellan 4-2-4-1, Tucker Heroux 4-1-2-3, Simon Dodge 4-1-1-1, Brandon Day 4-1-1-0, Daniel Gayten-Cerna 4-1-2-0, Finn Jones 3-1-0-0, Hunter Devereux 3-0-0-0, Sergey Ingram 0-1-0-0. Totals 34-11-13-8. 2B — Clemente, Heroux, Cerna 2. SB —McClellan, Day 2.
Dawson School pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Fulkerson 6.1-8-10-5-1-8, Clemente 0.2-1-0-0-0-0.